'The Ikea kitchen had to go': Inside the home of LA's vintage king Cameron Silver

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Pillows by Tom Ford, trinkets by Hermès and YSL, Lanvin props...

It's vintage, darling. The business – and the house. Cameron Silver set up Decades, a shop selling vintage dresses in Los Angeles, in 1997. And we're not talking your rag-bag, sequin-trailing charity-shop finds; the suave businessman went seriously high-end, sourcing fabulous frocks in which A-listers could sashay down the red carpet. He's since been named one of the 25 most influential people in fashion by Time magazine, and recently published a sumptuous coffee-table book, entitled Decades, exploring "a century of fashion".

Naturally, you'd need the pad to match. And he and his partner Jeff Snyder (and their rather unglamorously named dog, Gary, a German spitz) have certainly found it in their mid-century modern LA home. The Elliot House was designed by Rudolf M Schindler in 1930; Silver bought it in 1999, and it was restored by architects Marmol Radziner. It's a tri-level property built on a hill – the bottom layer added nine years after the other two were built – with a garage on street level, too. "It was like, 'Hey – I sell vintage designer clothing, I should have a vintage designer house,'" says the Beverly Hills-born couture connoisseur, who'd always been a fan of Schindler's modernist work: "The Kings Road House [in California], to me, is one of the most interesting 20th-century properties."

Apart from the designer tag, there was something else about the building that spoke to Silver: he's used to trusting his gut when it comes to clothes, and buying a property was no different… "I just knew it was the right house. I can remember seeing the garage, which is somewhat of a mini version of the house, and going up a few stairs and I was like, 'This is the house' before I had set foot in it. When I buy a dress, I know [it's worth buying] just looking at it. It was the same thing [with the house]: I just knew, like I had tried it on, in a sense."

It took a lot of work, mind, to get it back to its clean, original design, and living in a piece of significant architecture is, Silver concedes, high maintenance. "It was a pretty epic restoration," he begins. "The previous owners had put in an Ikea kitchen, and blocked out a lot of windows. [We were] restoring the wood, restoring cabinetry that was lost, just getting the house back to the colour it was, the paint. And the garage needed masses of restoration; it was more or less rebuilt." Luckily for them, and their architects, there is a substantial archive at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with documents and designs by the likes of Schindler, Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright, which had photographs of the original they could draw on.

Not that Silver felt the need to go completely mid-century modern when it came to the interior. They did add several "built-ins" – such as that low green sofa – in keeping with the architectural aesthetic , while that swivelling, adjustable white Poulsen lamp, a flea-market find before they had even discovered the building, happily "just worked in the house". Elsewhere, however, Silver's taste veers towards the opulent, as you might expect of a man who started his career as a cabaret singer. "I like luxury; Schindler isn't really a luxury architect, but we still throw down Hermès objects everywhere, and [create] a more ornate atmosphere," he says.

There are certainly plenty of high-fashion nods: that red painting, by Kim Fisher, is a riff on the logo of French designer André Courrèges; the red fluffy pillow is Tom Ford for Gucci. The dining table is dotted with decorative items by Hermès and pieces of Yves Saint Laurent jewellery. Next to a vintage zebra hide is a Lanvin light box that had been a prop for a perfume display. ("We did a dinner for [designer] Alber Elbaz once, he had just started at Lanvin, and it was so nice to have that – it just was cute," purrs Silver, not averse to a name-drop.)

"It's an interesting juxtaposition with Schindler, who was a modernist and in a sense a minimalist, putting in those eccentric touches," explains Silver. And it does all come back to his pash for fash: "It's very much how I like to dress – I mix it up, my own taste is very classic, but I'll wear the weirdest shoes. And that's the same decorating style here."

'Decades: A Century of Fashion' is published by Bloomsbury, priced £40

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Russell Brand discusses Trident and the NHS in an episode of the The Trews.
news
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore