June 13, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

Home Design for Benjy Grinberg of Rostrum Records’ L.A. Home: Photos

4 min read

“The art was bold, powerful and colorful with a bit of a street vibe, so I knew that the house would need to radiate that same warmth and energy,” says 22 Interiors designer Lucie Ayres, recalling her first visit to the Spanish-style Studio City home of Benjy Grinberg — founder of Rostrum Records, one of rap’s biggest independent labels (Wiz Khalifa, Fat Nick) — and his wife, Ellen.

Client and interior designer had originally met in New York in 2003, soon after Grinberg had left Arista (where he’d worked under L.A. Reid) to found Rostrum Records. At the time, Ayres was designing the websites of musicians, including Mariah Carey and NSYNC, making their first forays onto the web; it wasn’t until she moved to Los Angeles a few years later that she made the pivot to interior design. Grinberg had also found his way to the West Coast. The former colleagues bumped into each other one morning at Studio City’s Sunday farmers market. The chance encounter eventually led to a working relationship. “We’ve always aligned aesthetically,” Ayres notes.

Ayres encouraged the couple to have fun with their home. “She understood what we wanted better than we did,” says Ellen, who points to the formal living room as one of her favorite spaces. “Now we use it all the time. No one ever sat there before.” Ringed with bookshelves, it now has the feeling of a library and is decorated with comfortable club chairs and a tete-a-tete sofa covered in a bright Liberty of London fabric. The walls are washed in Benjamin Moore’s rich Narragansett Green.

“Benjy’s definitely a green person,” says Ayres, who threaded the hue throughout the house. Witness the dining room, where Ayres hung the emerald version of Gabriel Scott’s Harlow chandelier. It dangles over a long oval table from Bauline that expands to seat 14. “We have family and friends over nearly every weekend, so it gets a lot of use,” says Ellen. Its rounded edges nod to the fact that this is a house with two active young children. “We wanted them to feel welcome and safe in every room in the house,” says Benjy.

In the dining room are three paintings by Joe Sorren; the vivid hues of the one to the left, “Brothers,” jumpstarted the room’s design. Furnishings include Gabriel Scott’s Harlow chandelier, an oval Adagio table from Bauline, and Huppe’s Magnolia chairs covered in Perennials’ “Snazzy Emerald.”

Noah Webb

The color green also finds its way into a small, quiet space upstairs that Ayres convinced Benjy to commandeer as a home office. “He likes to maintain a strong separation between work and home, but I knew he needed a room of his own,” says Ayres. Forest-green carpet anchors a reading chair upholstered in a plush mohair and walls covered in an arresting wood veneer pattern that resembles a sea of records.

The home office has a wall covering that calls to mind vinyl records

Elsewhere in the house, Ayres broke up the home’s long entry hallway, which the kids often use for scooter races, with a series of arresting visual moments: a substantial zinc console, an upholstered bench designed to fit into the curve of the stairwell and, at the far end, hung in the niches that frame the breakfast nook, a selection of Fornasetti’s classic Tema e Variazioni plates.

In the entry, Ayres designed a custom bench that tucks into the curve of a stairwell lit by Julia Neill’s Grand Entry chandelier. It’s joined by Kiar Meško’s “Golden Silence” and Worlds Away’s brass Tara table. “Can’t Touch This” by Hannah Gilson hangs at the top of the stairs.

Noah Webb

In contrast to the vivid colors that wind their way through the rest of the home, the primary bedroom is a soothing study in rich browns and creams that provide the perfect respite at the end of a hectic day.

Benjy is so happy with the results that he’s now tapped Ayres to tackle the company’s new offices in North Hollywood. The sprawling bow-trussed space will house not only the label but also Rostrum Pacific, its entertainment division (which recently acquired distribution company and retail brand Fat Beats) and Spaceheater, its catalog marketing arm.

Benjy still marvels at the way the house came together. “She’d present these ideas, and we’d think, ‘No way,’ and then, when it came to life, it would be genius,” he says. “You hope someone will understand you and guide you through the process to make something together that brings you joy.”

Interior designer Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors

Emma Feil

A version of this story first appeared in the May 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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