A few months ago, real estate investor (and listing agent for stars like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen and Ellen DeGeneres) Kurt Rappaport and his wife, model Zorana Kuzmanovic Rappaport, walked their newborn daughter Zoe over the threshold of their French-style brick home. Manor for the first time, a monumental event that surpassed the couple’s former favorite memory in the Brentwood Park home. (It will be an epic housewarming party DJ’d by none other than Snoop Dogg.) The 1936 estate—originally designed by iconic California architect Wallace Neff—received a 1990s refresh that focused on the gardens and revolving buildings executed by Robert AM Stern.
Kurt and his frequent collaborator, Los Angeles interior designer Clint Nicholas, set out to embark on an ambitious one-year renovation. “Kurt says, ‘Let’s take a year,’ every time he buys a house,” says Nicholas with a smile. “Here we are, five years later.” But then again, there was a lot that went into updating the now three-acre property. (Los Angeles-based Scott Mitchell Studio designed and built additional structures on adjacent lots acquired by Kurt.) As for the 12,000-square-foot main house, it was a vision of “wall-to-wall flowers, tons of silk.” and heavy curtains” with some architectural additions that don’t match Neff’s “completely understated, elegant and mysterious residences,” says the homeowner.
Nicholas and Kurt have been working together for so long that the designer says, “I’m starting to think Kurt’s taste is my taste, and vice versa.” For this particular project, a kind of “luxurious naturalism” prevails, thematically closer to Neff’s style than the floral smother and drapery smother of days gone by. Main on the agenda was to authentically align the house with its excellent sunny location. Such unabashed brilliance would be as much a part of the decor as, for example, the color scheme (forever earthy), or the material palette (luxuriously tactile). The atrium, for example, is a soaring space where a gleaming new wall of double-height steel windows rises from a floor of wire-brushed white oak planks. (Architecture firm ZU+ Studio was responsible for this effort, and much more.) Zorana and her husband have morning coffee here, cozying up to the room’s central art object: a capsule-shaped Rick Owens Double Bubble daybed with a dramatic plywood grain which happens to recall the marbling of espresso and milk.
What other spaces lack in sun-warmed volume, they make up for in seamless indoor-outdoor transitions and a natural layering that can only emerge when a trained curatorial eye is cast over several decades of worldly acquisitions. The living room, says Nicholas, shows the design brief: A wall-sized portal provides a spacious transition between nature and an interior tableau of edited collectibles, from the charming catawampus Vincenzo De Cotiis mirror to the charismatically chunky sofa to a wood sculpture—Staple by Shay Alcalay. “Someone once said, ‘Beautiful things go with beautiful things,’ and I live by that statement,” says Nicholas. His client and alleged style twin agrees. “Everything is chosen,” Kurt says.