Chrissy Teigen and John Legend have grown accustomed to moving homes. “We’re used to it by now. We’re always open to a new house, or to changing the house we’re in,” says Teigen, the effervescent model, television personality, and home-cooking guru. “When she says we, she means she,” interjects Legend, her megastar musician husband, who lists no less than 12 Grammy Awards and an Oscar for best original song on his stellar résumé (as well as an Emmy and a Tony to round out the set). “But it’s true. We’re not afraid of switching things up,” he adds.
The couple’s propensity for serial home buying is not simply a matter of caprice. “Every house we’ve ever had reflects the moment we were in in our lives, like chapters in a book,” Teigen avers. “Our last house was darker and more cloistered, like a sanctuary,” Legend continues. “We were attracted to this place because of its lightness and airiness. We love how open it feels, and how it’s so connected to the outdoors. We wanted to create something magical, especially for the kids,” he says, referring to seven-year-old Luna, five-year-old Miles, baby Esti, and their newly arrived son Wren, whose delivery via surrogate in June was heralded on Teigen’s Instagram to the delight of legions of fans.
Enter AD100 talent Jake Arnold, the duo’s design collaborator, who tackled the renovation and reimagining of their new home in Beverly Hills after working on Legend’s recording studio and an office space for Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, the model’s food and cookware enterprise. “We hired Jake because we love his taste, although if it were up to him there’d probably be more earth tones,” Legend says, hinting at the designer’s penchant for warm, neutral palettes animated by strong, sculptural forms and luxurious textures. “We like bright pops of color. We wanted to crazy it up a bit, to add a little funk,” Teigen offers.
Arnold freely admits that his clients spurred him to expand his aesthetic lexicon into somewhat unfamiliar territory. “They like elements with a little glam and fun, and they’re drawn to work by bold, contemporary artisans, which is not my usual thing,” he confesses. “But Chrissy and John are the most welcoming, supportive people, and they trusted me. My challenge was to take this very contemporary, shiny new house and apply my philosophy to it—to make it inviting and livable, a version of what I do that speaks directly to their personalities.”
Arnold replaced the existing staircase—a sharp, angular construction of glass and steel—with a sinuous, floating plaster staircase detailed with an illuminated, incised brass rail. “I wanted to do lots of rounded silhouettes to offset the rectilinear architecture,” the designer explains. “They use every room in the house, and no place is off-limits to the children, so it all had to be casual and comfortable.” The stairway’s voluptuous curves are echoed in a broad array of furnishings and built-ins within the conjoined living, dining, and kitchen sweep: a signature Nacho Carbonell freestanding light sculpture; a Jeff Zimmerman light branch that hangs above a gently rounded Joseph Dirand dining table; a crescent-shaped Pierre Yovanovitch oak sofa that rests on a plush, biomorphic mohair rug; and a radiused marble island and plaster hood that anchor the entirely transformed kitchen.