George Kotsiopoulos has one of the best life mantras we’ve ever heard: “You’re always going to get your money back on great design and Chanel,” laughs the stylist. “I think everything should be pretty 24/7. I don’t understand people who spend a ton of money on their shoes or bag, drive a fancy car, and go home to a crappy house. I want to wake up and see beauty—I want my life to be production design, basically.”
Being that he’s a veritable expert in all things style, we would do well to follow his advice. Kotsiopoulos became a household name after co-hosting E!’s Fashion Police, but his credentials touch virtually every aspect of fashion, from editor at The New York Times Magazine to long-time stylist to television personality. His new show, Wedding SOS on TLC, sees him return to the screen once more to impart style wisdom on couples in need, but his biggest project may just be his most personal one: his own home.
Situated in Hollywood Hills and measuring about 1,980 square feet, the home has truly been a labor of design love for Kotsiopoulos. The house, built in 1969, took a year and a half to fully renovate—including moving walls, new windows, and everything in between—but was well worth it.
“This house is 30 seconds from Sunset Boulevard; there’s tons of parking, tons of light, more bathrooms than I need—it was just the perfect house,” he says. “I knew what I needed to do to make it livable for me: I quadrupled the closet space. The guest room upstairs was not an en suite, and I don’t believe in that, so I made it an en suite.”
Every room in the house is intentionally designed, blending both function and fashion for a space that Kotsiopoulos truly loves. So much so that he finds it hard to pick a favorite.
“I love every room! I just had so much fun doing it. It was fun to find bargains and repurpose them into something fabulous,” he says.
We spoke to Kotsiopoulos to learn more about those bargains—if you ever needed proof that good taste doesn’t necessarily equate to exorbitant amounts of money, this home is it—as well as get insight into some of the more unusual parts of the home. Spoiler: You’re going to want to bookmark the bathroom gallery wall.
Did you have a set style inspiration when designing the home?
It’s kind of Spanish style, but it’s also modern; it doesn’t have a specific style. Part of the inspiration was from my friends who own an estate in Tangier in Morocco, and I bought tons of fabric there, so a lot of [the inspiration] came from those colors and fabrics. For me, it’s great to have one thing to base something off of, or else nothing will get done.
Is there a certain aesthetic you found yourself leaning towards?
I like mid-century, but I’m kind of over it. You can’t have everything mid-century. And I hate the word “eclectic” because it makes you sound like a crazy person. I’m into 80s stuff. My last house was pretty modern, and I found it more difficult to buy for. This house was easier because it can go either way [stylistically].
Have you found similarities between fashion and decor?
Doing a room is the same as styling an outfit. Not everything can be a statement piece. Pick one—two, max—and work around them. That’s what I did in each room: I picked one thing that would be the “crazy” thing. I love vintage, and I love expensive, but I’m not a snob about CB2 or Ikea. I love designer labels, but not everything is designer. I find it obnoxious when people are like, "You must buy those $12,000 side tables." It’s absurd!
I know what I like, but I also love opinions from people that I respect. I’m lucky because I have a lot of really talented interior designer friends who I can get second opinions from. I love doing clothes, but there’s something about a room—you could be spending a ton of money on something, but you’ll probably have that thing for 10 years. Nowadays, design is available at every price point.
Can you tell us a bit about all the artwork in the home? Are you a big art fan?
Yes! A lot of it is [from] eBay. Some of it’s real, and a lot of it is photography from when I worked at the New York Times Magazine or from shoots I’ve been on as a stylist. But a lot of [the pieces] are great eBay finds; I look for vintage drawings or watercolors and I find great things from the '50s and '40s, and then frame them myself.
There’s a triptych in my living room (there’s a story behind that, too), but those were like $35 each.
What is the story behind that?
I had exterior lights installed for some ambiance, but they were this mangy gray. I liked them, and they were super cheap, so I took them all apart and spray painted them on these square tissue canvases. After I laid them the backyard and took all the parts away I was like, these are really pretty.
You made those?
Yeah, by mistake! It was a happy coincidence. When I picked them up I was like, I’m saving these.
Do you have a strategy for finding good art on eBay?
I search for “vintage original art” because I don’t want reproductions, and then I go through and pick the decades that I want. I do 1980 and before. It’s a lot of looking, but I enjoy it—it’s kind of like the lazy person’s flea market.
The other thing I do is go to eBay sites in different countries. I found tons of beautiful stuff on eBay Germany, and eBay France is great too.
What are your tips for styling a gallery wall, like the one you have in your bathroom?
The frames need to either be super similar or all super different, but within the same color family. I start off with a few and build around that. For me, I had four or five that I wanted, and it was a matter of keeping everything (both the art and the frame) in the same color. Choose different mediums as well; here, some are watercolor, some are photography. That makes it more interesting.
Were there any challenges you encountered when designing the house?
Honestly, the biggest problem that I had was treating the two guest rooms as bedrooms. They’re dual purpose. I don’t want a bed in a guest room; for the 15 nights a year [that people come], I have to look at a bed? So the guest room upstairs is my office in addition to being a guest room. It was about creating multifunctional, sleepable areas.
The downstairs TV room is the second guest room. That’s a great daybed; I designed it with this funky plaid fabric I found. The back roll is Marc Jacobs coat fabric. I ended up buying a lot of fabric meant for suiting and coats rather than upholstery fabric, because it was more interesting and it was cheaper.
Did you design any other items in the home?
I designed my headboard in my bedroom. I found the headboard to be super low, and I wanted an upholstered headboard; that’s Rag & Bone fabric that I got at Mood, and the pillows are Carolina Herrera fabric. So I infused little fashion elements in there! All the curtains in my bedroom are men’s suiting fabric. And the roman shades are white shirting fabric, because they drape beautifully.
See more home tours:
Every Inch of This Home Is Unexpected
Inside the Eclectic Brooklyn Home of One Badass Couple
Full House: A Huge Family Lives in This Creative Compound
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