The ultimate home office: Lorna Jane Clarkson’s LA pad.
The term bi-coastal doesn’t often encompass a commute across the Pacific Ocean, but that’s exactly how Lorna Jane Australia’s founder and creative director, Lorna Jane Clarkson, and her husband Bill live, splitting their time between their homes in Brisbane and the coastal suburb of Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles.
“We had been looking for three years before we found this house,” says Clarkson. “One of the reasons we fell in love with it was the wellestablished and beautifully serene gardens. The houses are completely hidden from the road and surrounded by lush foliage ranging from California palms to Australian gums.” (The property, built in 1948, includes a main house and the Bailey House, a smaller, original structure designed by famed modernist architect Richard Neutra, which she uses as a design studio and guest lodgings.)
When the pair, along with their dog Roger, moved into the beach-adjacent digs just over two years ago, they went to work mollifying the interior, with the help of interior designers Jenn Pablo and Olivia Korenberg from Twofold LA (twofoldla.com).
“When we first moved in, it had a very modern and masculine feel with a lot of brushed steel, busy tiles and terrazzo counter-tops. We went about softening the masculine aesthetic. We replaced the entry tiles with softly aged limestone that I just love. We shipped some of our favourite pieces from our beach house in Australia and used them to furnish the main living area, dining and study, then bought complementary pieces from local merchants in LA,” explains Clarkson.
The pair added sheer drapery to the oversized arched windows, wooden bead trimmings, and iron and mother-of-pearl hardware to add a modern bohemian touch to the palette of white and delicate earthy tones. “We wanted it to have a West Coast-beachside sensibility but we also wanted to create a home that would ultimately be a sanctuary where we could recharge and unwind,” says Clarkson. “So much light and colour from the surrounding gardens floods into the house that we decided to stick to neutrals and soft muted tones – from white to pale pinks and subtle timbers – to complement the views.”
Her art choices also reflect her desire for a home that is a sanctum of calm. “I selected works with soothing imagery from local artists that captured the essence of beachside living, then blended them with favourites I brought over from Australia,” she adds.
If you were to visit the couple, you’d likely find Lorna Jane in Bill’s office or the kitchen. The close proximity of the two rooms means she spent a lot of her time writing her latest book, Eat Good Food, flitting between them. “I really fell in love with the ’50s
“Her art choices also reflect her desire for a home that is a sanctum of calm”
aesthetic of the office and its view of the gardens and pool. And I love the sheepskin chair we have in there. It’s called the ‘Wild Chair’ by Timothy Oulton and it’s made from longhaired New Zealand sheepskin and upholstered by hand with leather strapped onto a rustic wooden base,” she says. “It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a cup of tea and make plans or talk over the day with Bill.”
Creating an eco-friendly space was paramount; the home is built to LEED Gold standard, which includes energy conservation technology and the use of recycled and toxin-free materials. Serenity is also of the essence. “I’m constantly on the go, so I want my home to be like stepping into a space of calm and relaxation. I also wanted to create a place in LA where I could work on my passion projects.”
So what’s next for the never-still Clarkson? The continued renovation of the Californian home – all of the upstairs and the theatre – and a new project back on the other side of the Pacific. “We’re renovating a property in Byron, so I’m always looking for new pieces any chance I get,” she says. Turns out trans-pacific empire building involves an excellent excuse to shop. E
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Pendant light, $349, LUCCI DÉCOR, beaconlighting.com.au Wall hanging, $295, MARMOSET FOUND, marmosetfound.com.au Chair, $1,145, GLOBEWEST, globewest.com.au FLEXIBLE WORKING: The Cali-cool residence also doubles as Clarkson’s office Entertainment unit, $2,020, GLOBEWEST, globewest.com.au Floor lamp, $1,995, JENNY BACK, greatdanefurniture.com HOME COMFORTS: Many pieces from Australia – like these dining chairs – have made their way to Clarkson’s LA abode
Candle holder, from $275, BROBERG & RIDDERSTRÅLE, greatdanefurniture.com Console, $3,034, JARDAN, jardan.com.au Stool, $750, MARK TUCKEY, marktuckey.com.au SO FRESH: Clarkson’s kitchen (above) is always stocked with seasonal produce and homemade granola Print, $590, blackliststore.com.au BLACKLIST,
Floor lamp, from $1,650, THE AUSTERE COLLECTION, greatdanefurniture.com Photographic artwork, $2,200, DAN HOCKING, jardan.com.au Chair, $5,950, TIMOTHY OULTON, cocorepublic.com.au CALIFORNIA DREAMING: A colour palette of whites and earthy tones make for a chilled-out vibe