Designer and owner of Hollywood at Home, Peter Dunham is a force to be reckoned with. His style has been described as “restrained with a kick”, which can be seen in Hollywood at Home’s first consignment with Viyet. Collected from his travels, the items mix vintage finds with modern luxuries.
What inspired this career path for you?
When I was a boy in boarding school in England, one of my best friends was Ashley Hicks, son of David Hicks. I was at their home often and it made such an impression on me. I became fascinated with design. I used to walk for miles from our school to the nearest antique shops to look around. I would say this career path was inevitable!
Tell us about the name, Hollywood at Home?
I was up in the middle of the night, and had an “a-ha moment”. I checked that the domain name was free, and bought it. This was years before I opened and had a feeling it would come in handy one day.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Travel, particularly a new place with a strong culture. My bucket list destinations are: Chicago, Mexico City, Japan, Iran, Brazil, Ethiopia.
Tell us about your creative process.
My foremost goal is creating a livable space. The first step is to resolve any architectural issues. Then, I really look at the furniture plan and back into everything else—what color is the client’s eyes? What are the colors of the view out the window? What are the aspects I want to emphasize and which are the ones I want to lose? I like to find things that take us in a direction. Found things, whether they’re 10 years old or 500 years old, can also start guiding a room. Like the time I found an amazing set of 18thc. bookcases and we made this extraordinary library. If you keep your mind open to the found objects, it can take you in a direction you may not have thought of otherwise.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Measuring tapes—and a lot of them. I need them constantly and lose them regularly.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Jacques Grange for his relaxed eclecticism and his modernist approach. Christopher Gibbs was one of my early influences—he was part of the Rolling Stones/Chelsea group in the ’70s. He was the supreme eclecticist. David Hicks was a longtime mentor who taught me so much about mixing modern and classical antiques, geometrics, and color.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
In decorating there are three important elements to a project: a great budget, a great house, and great clients who get it. You always end up with one or two at best of the three, so my ideal client is someone who has all three, whether the person is an astronaut, a movie star, or a new lottery winner.
What is your favorite spot in L.A. to meet friends?
A box at the Hollywood Bowl. Go early with a picnic and good wine before an amazing show. Everyone in L.A. is there sooner or later!
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
In small numbers, mistakes can make a house approachable.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Basically my favorite type of design porn is a good auction catalogue, particularly the single-owner sales. They’re unbelievably researched and really well-documented with pictures of the interiors and lifestyle, giving insight into a whole different world that was likely never published or never available.
What do you love about Viyet?
Even when I was 6 and 7, I was in a long struggle with my parents’ Paris concierge, always fighting for the furniture left out on the street. I was a very early dumpster diver—and Paris is a good place for that!—Viyet takes it to another level with really great items that are beautifully photographed and well-researched—and of course, at a good price.
Any fun facts about the pieces that are for sale?
Most of the pieces in the sale were sourced in France, at auctions, flea markets, and antique shops. They’re a good cross-reference of pieces I’m always attracted to: strong in look, but easy to use and timeless.