While celebrity chef Ludovic Lefebvre was able to make a 1970s pink tile kitchen work when he cooked remotely with Selena Gomez during the pandemic, his family home was undeniably still in need of a significant upgrade. For the Los Angeles–based gourmand and his wife, attorney and business partner Krissy Lefebvre, getting to know the hillside residence they purchased in late 2019 became a much more intensive experience than they had anticipated. After all, ongoing lockdowns meant that the couple were spending a lot more time at home—so that renovation process experienced some unforeseen complications. Nevertheless, the challenging circumstances failed to dampen the couple’s enthusiasm. “It was good to spend time in the house to understand exactly what we wanted,” Ludo explains, shedding light on his optimistic outlook.
Reimagining the four-bedroom Spanish Revival–style house marked the second time that Houston-based interior designer Marie Flanigan and Melanie Hamel of Marie Flanigan Interiors collaborated with the couple. “Krissy and Ludo are so fun,” Flanigan says. “They add so much character and design point of view.” The home was designed by Los Angeles architect Johannes Van Tilburg and had been occupied by just one family since it was built in 1973.
Ludo and Krissy, who have 10-year-old twins, Luca and Rêve, knew what was best to leave alone. “The renovation was about keeping the bones because they’re so beautiful,” Krissy says. Over the tight eight-week project timeline for their fall of 2020 renovation, which was helmed by Patrick Ahounber of MODAA Construction, the floor plan stayed intact. The same was true of the terra-cotta tile flooring, textured stucco surfaces, archways, and most of the wrought-iron chandeliers.
Other elements required a more hybrid approach. When wall-to-wall carpeting was removed, concrete floors were revealed. “I wanted to preserve history and beautify the flaws—if you want to call them that,” Krissy notes. Informed by their travels in Japan, the couple opted to fill the concrete cracks in with bronze-colored epoxy in a nod to the kintsugi tradition.
As for the kitchen, it was (somewhat obviously) an intensely personal consideration for Ludo. “I love separate rooms. When I’m in the kitchen, I don’t need to see my couch or my fireplace,” he says. He didn’t want to recreate the open plan and expansive island the family had in their previous house. Growing up in France, “the kitchen has its own table, and you have a table for the guests,” he explains. (The Lefebvres typically eat around their Williams Sonoma Home dining set, which is illuminated by a Lawson-Fenning chandelier in a space that’s adjacent to yet distinct from the kitchen.) An original painting by Ludo—one of many by the chef-cum-artist on display—sets a welcoming and eclectic tone for the entire area.
Elsewhere, custom built-in library shelving fills an entire wall in the dining room in order to house Ludo’s extensive cookbook library. A neon sign that reads “FRENCH MEXICAN FOOD” by L.A. artist Patrick Martinez serves as a resonant piece of fine art. It’s also an important part of Ludo and Krissy’s professional backstory, considering that it was originally displayed in the window of his Trois Familia restaurant in Silver Lake.
The back-to-back, high-ceilinged living and family rooms are both comfortable and practical spaces. Ludo’s love of the American Southwest is on full display in these interiors, thanks to his collection of tapestry pillows, pottery, and more. All this is not to say that Krissy did not have her own list of specific requests.
“[They] were all water features,” she laughs. The primary bath features Clé Tile and Rohl plumbing fixtures in a setting that is enhanced by a lush collection of indoor plants that surround the bathtub. “They have a lot of obligations, so for Krissy this was a great escape,” Hamel observes.
In the primary bedroom, a formidable hand-carved wooden headboard that was custom-built back in 1973 is perfectly scaled to the double-height ceilings. The Marie Flanigan design team had it refinished in a darker tone to anchor the updated palette while still honoring the house’s past. To add a different dimension to one bedroom wall, Krissy sourced akupanel surfaces from Acoustical Art Concepts as a subtle homage to Kelly Wearstler’s Santa Monica Proper Hotel.
From the glam powder room to Krissy’s loft office above the main bedroom, the clients and designers were entirely in sync throughout the process. “They wanted something exciting and out of the box that goes with their lifestyle,” Flanigan says. “They let us take risks.”