Becoming an interior designer was the last thing on Noel Pittman‘s mind when she was growing up, as her mother, Renvy Graves Pittman, is one, and she thought that was just her mom’s thing. Pittman began her career in fashion, moving to New York after college and working for brands like J.Crew and Gilt Groupe. However, Pittman quickly realized she was more interested in decorating her apartment than her day job.
“I ended up applying to grad school at Pratt [Institute] and got my master’s in interior design, though the program would be more aptly called interior architecture, so I have a very technical skill set,” says Pittman.
After staying in Manhattan postgrad to work in hospitality design for nearly three years, Pittman moved to L.A. to dip her toes into residential design, working alongside her mother. During that time, the designer was in the market for a home of her own, a place to test her newly minted residential design skills. She serendipitously came across a breathtaking 1920s Spanish Colonial in the idyllic neighborhood of Hancock Park. Pittman’s sister noticed a staging team going in and out of the house one day, and the designer made an offer on the house before the staging was complete.
“Some houses just have a great feel, and I responded emotionally when I walked in,” says Pittman. “You enter through a courtyard with a fountain, and it’s a magical moment. Besides the scale, it also just feels so homey. That was what really made me love it.”
Pittman moved in and hardly touched the place for an entire year while trying to figure out how to bring a sense of richness and comfortability that expressed her design aesthetic. Her launching point was tracking sets of antique Spanish lebrillos from England and Spain that became her first decoration on the living room walls, and the pieces started falling into place from there.
“I love Spanish Colonial and Mediterranean style,” says Pittman. “A lot of the interior design I gravitate towards most is like what Veere Greeney did in Morocco, and I knew this house could have that same feel.” Pittman also notes that her mother’s love for the work of Sister Parish and Mario Buatta inspired the deeply embedded sense of comfort among the gorgeous antiques and custom furniture. The layout of each space was carefully thought out to be inviting, not just for the designer but also for her loved ones who’d been waiting to see how she would transform this house into a showcase of her design prowess.
The decoration of this home was intentional and deeply meaningful, as well as a true labor of love. All the upholstery is custom, and Pittman had most of the furniture made. Much of the decorating work was done during the pandemic when workshops were closed and shipping delays began mounting by the day. But it was paramount for Pittman to nail every detail to fit her creative vision, and after waiting a year to begin decorating, what was another few months? The result proves it was every bit worth the wait.
“I think that this home highlights my love for mixing—I like to layer and have antiques mixed in with new things and custom upholstery to create something really personal and unique,” says Pittman. “Yes, there is plenty of all-white upholstery and linens, but when you see the custom work, you’ll notice that it has trim and is made with just the right linen with the perfect amount of body. That is the approach I took with everything in every room.”
The designer, like many others, began splitting time between cities during the pandemic—for her, L.A. and Dallas. Though her heart is in her native Texas, Pittman finds coming back to the moody, well-collected workspace of her L.A. library is the perfect spot to get creative and gain perspective while working on upcoming projects in both cities.
“When I first walked into the house, the library room was cold and dark with no carpeting and some of the bookcases were just empty niches,” says Pittman. “I had built-in bookcases made to match the existing ones to bring a sense of warmth, then added curtains and the Tuareg rug. I didn’t expect to love this room so much because there’s not a lot of natural light, but it has these French doors I can open up to the courtyard, which is really lovely.”
Landscaping was a new challenge for Pittman, coming from the West Village. When she first moved in, the back garden housed grass and a few good olive trees, but the space was mostly used as a traditional yard. With inspiration from Mediterranean plantings that fit her home’s aesthetic, Pittman took advantage of the California climate and designed a patio and fireplace to create an outdoor dining space off the kitchen. Her mother also gifted Pittman an extra loveseat she had designed by Michael Taylor, which she decorated around to create outdoor entertaining spaces as sophisticated and inviting as the interiors.
So much has changed since Pittman purchased the 1920s Spanish Colonial home in 2019, and this worldly, pastel-colored wonderland has become the ultimate retreat during these trying times. Filled with items sourced from the world’s most inspiring cities for design enthusiasts, such as New Orleans and Marrakech, the home transcends its L.A. address to feel as if it could be in several of Pittman’s favorite destinations depending on the room and time of day. If this home is just a taste of what’s to come from Pittman, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this rising star in the world of interiors.
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