Undoubtedly one of the most spoken about reality stars of our time (that is, if you’re part of the Generation Y or Millennials, i.e. typically born between 1984 and 1996), Kim Kardashian, together with husband Kanye West, have been making some unusual appearances of late… Their suburban California estate has been transformed into “an otherworldly oasis of purity and light.”
And I’m here for it. No matter what your personal opinion is on the A-list couple, you cannot deny the impeccable result of their Californian estate’s 7 year transformation.
Taking architectural and design assistance from international design visionary, Axel Vervoordt, the couple have created a true masterpiece that results in a calm and serene private home. The Belgian designer is most known for being a collector, antiquaire and interior designer with the majority of his clientele being royalty, rock stars, tech tycoons and artists. No two projects are the same for Vervoordt but they do allude to “rustic Mediterranean villa” in their general look and feel.
Interestingly, and perhaps what has attracted me the most to his works, is Vervoordt’s philosophy of living. His investigations into the nature of being and concepts of time and space are what inspires his arrangements of objects and interiors. The expressed “loft like” spaces with his material choices seem contradictory to some, however Vervoordt believes that, as in a Zen koan, “truth can be contained in paradox and ambiguity”.
When I saw that this internationally renowned designer was behind 90% of the work to Kanye and Kim Kardashian West’s California home renovations at their estate, I knew instantly that I had to feature this project as the first instalment of my new “Project Spotlight” blog post series. Having kept up with the Kardashian’s as a guilty pleasure for many years, I was delighted to see this project now complete, and just knew I had to share it.
Let’s take a closer look at the Background to the work and the design of this calm and serene Californian home…
For Kanye West, a prolific musician, architecture and interior design has only recently become areas of interest for him. He shared with the Architectural Digest that he has in fact been curious about the built environment for years in that, “When I was growing up in Chicago, before the internet, I’d go to my local Barnes & Noble to check out Architectural Digest and other design magazines, along with the fashion and rap titles,” Kanye says. “My father encouraged me. He always had graph paper around for me to scribble on.”
During his career in music, Kanye was able to delve deeper into the design world by attending international design shows and regularly visiting the Paris flea markets. It was during this time that he signed a shoe collaboration deal with Adidas for the range “Yeezy”, which soon became a lifestyle fashion line. This all re-enforced his passion for great design and simple, pure aesthetics.
On the other hand, wife Kim Kardashian didn’t really know much about interior design, furniture or architecture before they met, but Kim admits that, “being with him has been an extraordinary education. I take real pride now in knowing what we have and why it’s important.”
It was through a trip to an antiques fair in Maastricht and Venice that Kanye West and Axel Vervoordt met. Kanye instantly knew Vervoordt had to help with the designs of their Californian estate.
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Transforming a huge mansion into a peaceful oasis was never going to be an easy task in the first instance. But the redesign was never about the decoration, it has been about the philosophy of how we live now and how we envision living in the future. Vervoordt explains, “We changed the house by purifying it, and we kept pushing to make it purer and purer.”
With the lives of both Kim and Kanye being incredibly chaotic in the public eye, the final product of their 7 year project is the antithesis of their daily lives. They both take relief in that they can come back to the simplicity and calmness of the minimalistic spaces, to clear their minds of the day before and ahead, enabling them to be present with their four children.
Whilst there are design cues throughout the estate that eludes to previous work by Axel Vervoordt, this project is truly one of a kind. All of the rooms within the house were slathered in a luminous, off-white plaster (which, by the way, acts as the perfect backdrop for Kardashian’s renowned selfies…) The spaces were then added to with equally pale natural materials and natural forms of furniture.
Upon exploring the design of this calm oasis further, one might question its practicalities with the couple having four children and most of the furniture being neutrally upholstered. It appears that the home has been designed with the children at the forefront; Kanye assures that, “Everything we do is an art installation and a playroom.”
Whilst there are no colours injected into the spaces, a wide variety of textures have been selected. Firstly for the kitchen units, the breakfast corner and dark timber antique desks and coffee tables.
Other notable designers, such as minimalistic architect Claudio Silvestrin whom designed the voluminous master bath, Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen helped to furnish the living room and children’s bedrooms, and Peter Wirtz (of Wirtz International Landscape Architects) designed the purposely all-green gardens. Featured in many of the family’s new portraits from the new home, are the creature-like soft sculptures which were designed by artist Isabel Rower.
From a design perspective, Kanye and Kim Kardashian West’s California home is flawless… It exudes minimalism in its purest form, and answers the client’s wishes of creating a calm oasis away from the chaos of every-day life. I’m sure if I were able to live in such a home every day I would feel instantly calmer and at peace after a long day!
I really admire the minimal spaces which have warm, rich and often rustic timbers introduced, as this helps to create contrast between the off-white plaster walls and added furniture pieces.
The only criticism to make would be around the question of how practical this type of space would be for normal family living… With four children you wonder where on earth the toys are stored, or whether they are purely kept in their bedrooms. There doesn’t seem to be any “stuff”, surely the A-Listers aren’t without their own “stuff”?
What do you think of Kanye and Kim Kardashian West’s California home? Is this somewhere you could imagine living? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Until next time,
Harvard Business Review – https://hbr.org/2017/08/a-survey-of-19-countries-shows-how-generations-x-y-and-z-are-and-arent-different
Architectural Digest – https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/kim-kardashian-kanye-west-home
Axel Vervoordt – https://www.axel-vervoordt.com/
Vincent Van Duysen – https://vincentvanduysen.com/