“After my mom [Joan Rivers] passed, I felt it was just time for a change,” explains Melissa Rivers of her decision to sell her home in L.A.’s Pacific Palisades. Melissa had lived in it for nearly a quarter century, at times with her mother when Joan was in town and the duo were filming together. “It was a great home, but it was time to take a step forward and create a new environment for myself and my son.”
The television host and producer would soon purchase a 7,048-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa in nearby Santa Monica. She then teamed up with interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard to embark on a two-year remodel. The mission? To open up and brighten the somewhat dated home’s flow and feel. Bullard, too, was tasked with helping Rivers find just the right spots for so many of the beloved pieces from her parents’ epic art and decorative arts collections—to marry modern and airy with luxurious and delicate.
“Melissa needed a new beginning,” says Bullard. “She lived in this very pretty house, but it was very kind of traditional. It was filled with lots of antiques and things she had inherited from Joan that were antique-y. Joan’s style was very ornate, everything going on. She used to call her style ‘early Jewish Romanov.’ Melissa wanted to create something light and bright with positive energy, something that could be just the right backdrop for some of these extraordinary things, including Fabergé eggs and Han dynasty pottery.”
“When I was going through everything, and doing the big sale [of Joan Rivers’s estate] at Christie’s,” says Rivers, “I remember my mom always saying, ‘Keep what you love and sell anything else. Take that money and, one: Invest it, and, two: Buy things you love, because that’s the same thing as me giving them to you.’ It was such a freeing sentiment. It was so liberating.”
As for the balance she and Bullard struck, Rivers says, with a smile in her voice, “As formal as some of the areas are in this home, it never feels overwhelming. There’s a warmth and light, a happiness. It’s definitely a happy home.”
Go Inside the Santa Monica Villa Melissa Rivers Filled with Her Mother’s Heirlooms
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest