Lindsay Lohan’s Old Apartment Gets an Antique-Filled Makeover

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of ELLE DECOR. For more stories from our archive, subscribe to ELLE DECOR All Access.

Lee Stanton’s Los Angeles condo—an urban aerie filled with a collector’s cabinet of singular antiques—didn’t have a kitchen when he bought it six years ago. It didn’t have any bathrooms either. Credit that to prior owner Lindsay Lohan.

“She had demolished the unit. It was a shell,” says Stanton, the proprietor of Lee Stanton Antiques, which specializes in European pieces from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. “I think she was going to remodel it.” Instead, the actress off-loaded it, making available a prime 2,300-square-foot apartment on a high floor in one of the city’s most sought-after high-rises, Sierra Towers. The 1965 doorman building, located on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, is known as a celebrity haven—its residents have included David Geffen, Cher, Sidney Poitier, Elton John, and Courteney Cox.

Lohan had “demolished the unit. It was a shell.”

Given the desirability of the building, Stanton thought he would just flip the property. But two things got in the way. First, he fell in love with the space, a coveted corner unit with a 40-foot-long terrace offering views of the ocean to the west, the Hollywood Hills to the north, and snow-capped mountains to the east. Then, he says, he came to realize, “I’m not a flipper and seller.”

detail of living room with several diverse armchairs around a polished open wood table on a muted blue rug and on the wall is built in cabinetry and art on the walls and various small objects and sculptures

A pair of circa-1810 French chairs and a Belgian cocktail table in the living room; the 1780s walnut bookcase is Italian, and the paintings are by Giovanni Giuliani.

Björn Wallander

Choosing wide-plank bleached Belgian oak for the flooring, for instance, didn’t cost out so well, nor did the custom cabinetry in stained black oak with stainless steel detailing. “I was picking out things that were double the price of what I probably should have put in here to sell it,” says Stanton, a central figure in L.A.’s design community not just for his shop, a go-to spot for the city’s top decorators, but also for his role in promoting North La Cienega Boulevard as a design destination. He was instrumental in branding the neighborhood—home to a host of shops and showrooms by the likes of Michael S. Smith, Rose Tarlow, and Kelly Wearstler—as the La Cienega Design Quarter six years ago.

very blue kitchen dining room with a central table and leather dining chairs pulled up to it and the floors are a medium washed plank

The dining room’s 1890s pendant lights and chairs, which retain their original leather, are French.

Björn Wallander

Until he bought his Sierra Towers pad—which he converted from a three-bedroom to a two-bedroom to increase the size of the rooms—Stanton lived above his shop. “When people found out where I lived, they would start knocking, wanting me to open up,” he recalls. “Or asking, ‘Can you meet a delivery guy at six in the morning, or at 10 at night?’ ” Incentive enough to move.

“People want antiques these days that have a contemporary look to them.” —Lee Stanton

Naturally, the antiquarian picked some of the best pieces from his store for his own home. “I really wanted a place to showcase antiques in a contemporary environment—to demonstrate that they can still look current and that a very eclectic collection of pieces from different periods can fit together,” he says. In the living room, an enormous 18th-century walnut bibliothèque cabinet anchors the space. (The piece, found at a villa in Tuscany, is so large that it had to be brought up on top of the elevator cab to have enough clearance.) Armchairs from the 1800s, an inlaid Italian Art Deco writing desk, and a pair of French Directoire marble-top tables all sit beneath a circa-1970 modernist pewter chandelier.

corner area with a open leg desk and leather seat and back chair and a mirror above and an antique clock on the desk and to the side is a tall painting of a person holding a spear

The guest room’s French table and drawing date to the early 1900s, and the circa-1810 bookcase is Italian.

Björn Wallander

Stanton’s collector’s impulse—he grew up in Ohio hitting stores with his mother, who loved antiques—is on full display in the multitude of small accessories studded throughout the apartment. Many are geometric forms, from inlaid boxes and centuries-old obelisks to bocce balls and marble orbs. “I sort of like imagining I’m an artist who’s studying and drawing shapes,” says Stanton, who’s also assembled an array of wood models used for perspective drawings.

The place is not spare. But even populated with so many carefully chosen objects, Stanton’s residence is not riotous either, thanks to his restraint in color choices (including upholstery in slate blue linen and brown and warm gray wool-suiting fabrics) and clean-lined furnishings. “People want antiques these days that have a contemporary look to them, and those pieces are getting more difficult to find,” he explains. “You can go to Europe and find warehouses full of old armoires and buffets with all these fancy legs and carvings—and I don’t know if that look will ever come back.”

bed with blue and white linens and an old bench at the foot with a large colorful painting over the headboard and the wall is also a large painted mural of boxes and circles in shades of light purplish blue

In the primary bedroom, an 1880s French painting hangs above a bed dressed with custom bedding by Mirabel Slabbinck, with a bed skirt and bolsters in a Jasper fabric; the armchair is upholstered in a Holly Hunt leather, the circa-1900 English chest was originally used on the White Star cruise line, and the wall mural is by Tamara Codor.

Björn Wallander

Mahogany, with its reddish tones, was also strictly off-limits. “It’s so English traditional. Everything in here is either walnut or oak. I wanted the browns to be a rich brown,” says Stanton. And the architectural details—from the planed floors to the floor-to-ceiling
windows—provide an uncluttered backdrop for his cache.

The effect is in tune with the way Stanton says his customers (and clients—he does an interior design job every year or so) want to live. “They want substance. They want their homes to look collected and layered over time, not decorated in less than a year. So it looks like it was acquired rather than purchased.” In Stanton’s case, it was. He just completed his 52nd buying trip to Europe. Next up is Italy: “I haven’t been to Italy in three trips. It’s time to go.”

march 2015 cover elle decor

This story originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE


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