Tour a Sophisticated Atherton, California, Home With a Storybook Guesthouse


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Matthew Leverone’s first assignment was a simple redo of a family room to make the space a bit more, well, familial. The designer’s clients, a couple with two grown children, had moved into their home in Atherton, California, roughly four years earlier. Pacific Peninsula Group was the architect for the project, and the clients worked with another interior designer to get them settled in. But as their tastes evolved, the couple turned to Leverone to handle the redesign of the family room. Not a major commission, to be sure, but Leverone sensed the potential of working with the savvy homeowners. And so the dominoes fell—the family room makeover ultimately led to a subtle, sophisticated reimagining of the entire property.

“We wanted to humanize the scale of the larger rooms and change the ways people interact in the house,” the wife explains. “I love design and I love my home, and the more I learn, the better I am at articulating what feels right. Matthew is an incredible collaborator. He has a strong sense of design but he’s not a bully,” she adds. “His work is beautiful, but on a more fundamental level, he understands that this is our family home—it has a heart and a soul, and it has to match the way we actually live.”

The house is soulful indeed. Leverone’s approach—in this house and all his projects—eschews artificially theatrical decorative effects in favor of the classic virtues of proper scale, proportion, and an unerring attention to craftsmanship. He specializes in a quiet kind of luxe that foregrounds the priorities of the people who actually occupy a space. Of course, there is beauty aplenty—in the specially commissioned furnishings, the vintage pieces, the plethora of fine fabrics and finishes—but the focus never strays from the prime directive of crafting homes that ennoble the daily domestic rituals of his clients.

The entry to the house immediately sets the tone of hushed, unpretentious elegance. A sculptural Michael Anastassiades pendant light hovers delicately above an Axel Vervoordt maple table with bronze legs, while a Hiroshi Sugimoto lightning photograph, installed above a custom bench of rift-cut oak, adds an artful jolt to the composition. “I’m not that interested in crazy colors and wild patterns,” Leverone says of the subdued composition. “I prefer to create a richly layered environment with pure, expressive forms and a mix of beautiful textures.”

That same sensibility extends into the adjacent dining room, where an Eva Menz chandelier of porcelain and bone forms a seemingly diaphanous cloud above the dining table. In the living room, Leverone tempered the scale of the expansive space by creating two intimate seating areas bracketed by fireplaces at each end. Bathed in pale neutrals with accents of blue, the room features signature designs by titans of 20th-century design on the order of Vladimir Kagan, Milo Baughman, and Marco Zanuso, complemented by stellar contemporary creations by Hervé van der Straeten, Jiun Ho, the Parisian design collective Mydriaz, and others. The artful composition erases artificial distinctions between traditional and modern, old and new, focusing instead on a mood best described as fresh and welcoming.

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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