Over the years, Kathryn Ireland has kept us in awe over the houses she designs, as well as the ones she lives in.   The above house in Santa Monica was her home for many years  - it is where she raised her three sons.  The Spanish styled white stucco home was large and rambling and it often served as a showcase for her latest fabric designs.

A mix of English country manor and California casual, Kathryn stayed here until all her sons moved on, although her youngest has not quite made the final exit.

Still, it was time for a change.

Besides her Santa Monica family house, there was also the ranch in Ojai that she had bought and kept just long enough to completely remodel it, outfit it with all her fabrics, write a book about it, and then move on.

Giving up the Ojai ranch was probably easy, after all she had the house in Provence, France where she spent summers with her three boys and legions of friends.

After the Santa Monica house sold, Kathryn quickly bought this new house in Venice and again, furnished it, had it published in a few design magazines and then she moved on.

The prettiest thing about the house was undoubtably the back yard and Kathryn!  It was fabulous!!!  

The Venice house didn’t seem quite inspiring enough for Kathryn.  It seemed too “new” and it wasn’t suited for someone as creative as she is.

And then there was Kathryn’s office/warehouse.  Over the years, she has had a quite a few showrooms in trendy areas.  This place was ideal because she could work at the same location where her fabrics were hand printed.   The large showroom proved a wonderful place to have dinner parties, host charity events, and give her seminars.

Still…Kathryn hinted she wanted to downsize and go back to the time where her office was right in her backyard.  Could she do that again, at this stage in her very successful career?

The short answer was yes – she found that perfect combination, a place to live and work.

I’ve been obsessing over Kathryn’s newest house – which was just shown in Elle Decor.  Since it was first announced that she had bought it, I’ve been collecting photos of the house from BEFORE and anxiously waiting to see the AFTERS, showing how she would turn this eclectic house/art studio into a home.

What surprised me most about her new renovated house was the revamped courtyard.  It is fabulous, maybe the most romantic outdoor space she has ever created. 



Originally the house was a tiny 1920s Spanish style bungalow located  in Santa Monica near trendy Montana Avenue.   The owners were artists – one of whom was the well known sculptor, Michael C. McMillen, who had actually grown up in the house.  McMillen’s art work is in permanent collections in several museums all over the world, including the respected Guggenheim in New York City. 

In the early 1980s, McMillen needed studio space and he approached the young firm,  Koning-Eizenberg Architecture, to build a large studio in his backyard.  This was one of the first projects of the now highly sought after architectural firm.    The studio was a freestanding, two story space with a half-bath and a sleeping loft  – totaling over 1,200 square feet.

A photo of the artist/owner Michael McMillen working out of his cluttered art studio built in the early 1990s by Koning-Eizenberg.  McMillen said that if he doesn’t use something for his projects after 30 years, he then throws it out.

The artist Michael McMillen looks over this amazing piece of his art – a model of rundown Los Angeles.   The scale of the piece is incredible.   This work is currently showing at the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art - GOMA.


Once the studio space was built in his back yard, renovation work was done in the main house.  McMillen hired the architect Ruben Ojeda to transform his small house into a work of art.  In the living/dining room – Ojeda raised the ceilings to 22’ high, creating a grid of intersecting wood beams. 

Behind the living/dining room, he built a two story addition with the kitchen/family room downstairs and upstairs were two new bedrooms and one bathroom, along with a long sleeping balcony which overlooked the back yard and the art studio.  In the end, the enlarged house was 2410 sq. ft.

You can barely see the small, Spanish styled house behind the succulents.

The artists moved out and the house was later sold to the actor Tobey Maguire and his wife, who lived there for barely two years.  The Maguires did some remodeling on the kitchen, bathrooms, and garage.  They also added an exterior spiral stair at the art studio along with new windows and doors.   

In 2017 after a price war, the house was sold to Kathryn Ireland.

1.  The original house, with one bedroom/bath.

2.  The living/dining rooms with raised 22’ high ceilings by Ojeda.  Notice the four raised corners in this area.

3.  The addition with the family room/kitchen and two bedrooms/bath above.

4.  The former garage, today and additional building.

5.  The 1200 sq ft art studio/2 story/by Koning Eizenberg in 1990.

You can see the art studio is at the rear of the property – past a gravel courtyard.  The garage was used by Maguire as a workout room.


After Kathryn bought the house, she filmed two You-Tube videos showing, first, what she planned to do to the house and second, how all the changes were coming along.

In the first video, Kathryn walks through the entire house – first stating that she is going to update just a few things and then move in!!  But as the video tour continues, the list of things she wants to change keeps getting longer and longer.  When she reaches the Art Studio, she SWEARS she isn’t going to touch a thing in there.  But….

In the second video, filmed while she is just beginning to move in, she says she has just freshened it up a bit – but the viewer can see there have been a lot of changes!  

It’s all really comical, the designer swearing she is going to keep it all mostly the same – and in the end, completely changing it, all for the better of course.

Finally, Kathryn made a “Behind The Scenes” after the Elle Decor photoshoot which is available on Instagram.

Tobey Maguire cleared the front yard of most of the succulents, leaving just a few plants.   You can see the additions behind the front of the house.  And to the left is the green gate that leads to the driveway.

The arched wood door is probably original.  It opens to small open-air breezeway, then leads to the true front door.


2017:   In the addition, here you can see two of the raised white corners.   And the front window retains its original decorative grille. 


2015:   On the driveway, behind the gate.  The original wood door of the house opens to a breezeway, at left.  Through the arched opening is the breezeway. 

2015:  A closer view into the breezeway off the courtyard.   The wood door is to the right and the red door leads to the home’s original bedroom.

And here is the driveway with its decorative brick inset.  I’m sure this once was filled with grass.   At the very back is the old garage with the red door, turned into an exercise room by the Maguires.   I love these green lights over the windows/doors!

The original front door made it through all the renovations!  Today, it leads to the open air breezeway and courtyard and then to the proper front door.   I do wonder if this wasn’t once a gate and the artist/owner Michael McMillen replaced it with a piece of his art!!!

Past the wooden original door, breezeway and courtyard is the rather plain front door.  The view leads from the front door all the way to the back of the house.

2015 – McMillen:  At the left is the interior front door.   The window on the left leads to the front courtyard, off the driveway and breezeway.

This room was original to the house.  Architect Ruben Ojeda raised the ceilings to 22’ to create an architecturally significant room.

Now, notice how the two windows follow the line of the beams above.  The four corners of the ceiling are raised higher than the beams – which you can see from the aerial views.   Notice how these two windows fall exactly under the beams – and they are exactly as wide as the beams.  This is not an accident, rather it is part of the Ojeda’s design.  This will all change when Kathryn renovates the house – and changes the windows.  I wonder what Ojeda will think about his carefully designed architecture being changed?

A close-up photo of the beam structure.  At the four corners of the beams is where the ceiling is raised which creates those four white stucco structures on the outside.

And another view showing one of the four raised corners where the beam and window is.  At the left is a cabinet on the second floor.  Kathryn will remove those cabinets and open this area to the living room.

2017:   Here is the Maguire real estate photo.  Weirdly, they have the same exact furniture as was in the 2015 McMillen real estate photos.  The only thing I can think is that the house was staged for the McMillen sale and the Maguires kept the furniture since they weren’t going to be staying too long.  OR, the same staging company was used for both real estate photos, two years apart – and they used most of the same furniture.   Tobey did hire Meridith Baer, Stager to furnish another house of his.

The floors obviously were redone during the two years the Maguires owned it.   And again later, Kathryn will make them even lighter.

And notice on the left, the door is open to the breezeway and the old arched wooden door.

2017:  The view into the dining room and through the open area, into the family/kitchen rooms.  This opening will become much larger.

2015:   Here, the original hall between the living room and the original bedroom.   There are two sets of Japanese styled shojis that separate this hall from the living/dining room.

Notice in the hall, there is a trap door that leads beneath the house!  Do you see it????  Wonder what that is about?  There must be a small basement.

2017:  Maguire.  Same view. You can see the trap door again.  At the end of the hall is the original bedroom.  To the left, unseen, is the original bathroom and the new stairs.

Later this space will be closed off and used for the powder bathroom – installed by Kathryn.

2015:  Two sets of pocket Shojis that separate the living/dining room from the interior bedroom hall where the bathroom and stairs are.

Later this will all be removed by Kathryn and the doorway on the left will be closed off.

2015:  The only original bedroom left.  Notice how pretty this window is with its ornamental grille!  It looks out to the front yard.  The red door leads to the breezeway and courtyard by the front door.

2017:  Maguire. The same front bedroom.  They covered up this beautiful window!  Why?!?!?

2017:   The original bathroom downstairs.   Kathryn didn’t like this floor at all, but I like this bathroom.   Kathryn says she is going to turn this into a wet room which is basically a tiled room with a shower, but no doors. 

We don’t get to see this new room, but Kathryn does add a proper powder room right next to this bathroom.

2015:  McMillen.  At the back of the living/dining room is the Ojeda addition that houses the kitchen and family room.  Along the back wall – a patio runs both on the first and the second floor. 

2015:  McMillen.  Looking towards the family room.  

2015:  The doors open to the porch and the courtyard.  You can see the new art studio across the courtyard from here.

Notice there are two doors opening to the porch.  Kathryn changes this – leaving just the one door in the center.

2017:  The family room across from the kitchen.   Notice the row of windows high up at the ceiling/wall.

This door to the hall will be closed off.


2015:  When you climb the stairs, a series of built ins are in the linoleum covered landing.

As I pointed out earlier, some of these built ins block the view out to the 22’ high living room. 

Later, Kathryn will remove all these built-ins, creating a small sitting area that is open to the living room below.

2017:   The master bedroom.   There are two bedrooms upstairs with a closet between them.  Each bedroom has one door to the sleeping porch/balcony.

Kathryn will remove these two smaller windows and she will enlarge this room, taking in the closet space.   She will add another French door leading to the porch.    The second bedroom then becomes her closet.

2017:   The bathroom opens to the hall, but Kathryn will change this entirely – opening it to the master bedroom.

2017:   The second bedroom.  This will become Kathryn’s large walk in closet.

Here is the beautiful sleeping porch/balcony.   In between the two bedrooms, Kathryn will add another French door, removing that small window.

The view down to the art studio and the garage/workspace.

Kathryn said the sea breezes are wonderful up here because the house is so close to the Pacific. 


2015:   When the Maguires bought the house, the Ruben Ojeda addition was covered in flowering vines.   The Maguires removed all the vines.   Later Kathryn completely landscapes this area, turning it into the most beautiful courtyard!!!

2015:   The old garage and the new Art Studio, looking from the house.  The stager turned the garage into a work out room.  Kathryn said she was going to make it a guest room, but this was never shown.   Kathryn loved the red door and vowed to keep it, which she did.

The Maguires did not do anything of note to the courtyard except to take the vines off the house.

The art studio main floor, styled for the real estate photos.  Kathryn has turned this into a dinner venue, complete with its own kitchen, curtains, antique table and piano.

Notice the wood beamed ceiling – this will change when Kathryn paints it all white!

The upstairs styled for the Maguires.  Kathryn will use this as her office and work space.

Her son is now making his own line of fabrics and I wonder if she is making her fabrics at the same place as he is?   At first I thought she would be printing her fabrics here, but nothing has been said about that and I don’t think there is enough room.

2017:  Maguire.  The work out gym.  Kathryn is going to use this as a guest suite.


As seen through a series of Before photos, YouTube screencaps & Elle Decor photographs taken by Trevor Tondro.

Before the renovation begins, Kathryn invites us into her new home via her video. 

YouTube:    And after the renovation – a new lantern and Eastern styled lanterns near the front door.

Today:  The wood door remains the same as it was.

I adore that sign with the address and the cut edges.

BEFORE:  The courtyard was not professionally landscaped and the flags looked cracked and worn.

TODAY:  The space now has a gravel floor and four Kubu chairs around a firepit.  Lanterns sit on the newly enlarged steps from the living room.  Fabric by Kathryn covers the cushions.

Potted palms and flowers look so lovely.  Landscaping was done by Inner Gardens.

BEFORE:   The living/dining area.   Here is how the house looked empty when Kathryn filmed it.  As we talked about earlier – the two windows/door follow the line of the beams above.

Kathryn says in the first video – the painter is coming to paint out the wood – and that’s all!


Here’s how the main living room looks today: 

Changes:   the window/door is taken out and replaced by one set of Chateau Dominque steel doors.  Kathryn says she just wants one set, otherwise it looks too much like every other house.  She has a point – the doors do look stunning, alone.

Notice something else?   The window behind the sofa is now gone.  She removed that. 

By removing the two windows – the issue of following the line of the beams is not as important.  While she doesn’t ever show the beams – I have a feeling they were painted white, which would tend to make them disappear and be less important in the room.

I adore the red velvet sofa with the antique suzani above!   Kathryn says that this exact suzani was the inspiration for her own suzani fabric, which is one of her most popular ones.    The masses of pillows in blues and creams.  It looks like she layered two rugs, which is a good idea if you are using cotton rugs.

I think it’s a bright, inspiring room, casual but definitely a nice space for guests and parties.   I love the easy access to the small front courtyard.  Love that!  

Here’s another before photograph of the workers.  There are no photographs from Elle Decor of the dining room, but here you can see Kathryn hung her old fixture that had been in her last two dining rooms.  She later changed this out.

LOVE!!!!!  Beautiful photography too from Trevor Tondro.

The two chairs are covered in fabric by Otis Textiles.   Her son, Otis, is now designing fabrics too!

Across the sofa is this vignette.  Remember there were two shoji screens here that lead to the bedroom hall?  Kathryn removed them and closed up one opening.  I recognized that Calder poster from her Ojai house –in the center round tower:

  Remember this photo from her book about the Ojai house?  The round tower room that overlooked the main living room.  I loved that house and the book!

The Ojai Ranch book.  To order, just click.

You can even see that balcony from the round tower in the cover of the book.  Good memories of that house!

From Instagram:  Kathryn posted this photo of her friend’s dog nestled in the red velvet sofa and pillows! 

BEHIND THE SCENES:   You can see what a massive undertaking it is to photograph yourhouse.  But, notice in the dining room – the fixture has changed, which I like.   And to the right – the bedroom hall, you can see the new powder room that was built at the end of the hall, closing the hall off from the family room.

In progress:  For Christmas, we got this glimpse on Instagram of the sofa waiting to be recovered.   I must say the red really makes a huge statement which I love.

On this video, leading into the kitchen/family room – Kathryn said she wanted to widen the space – which she does.

Here is the Ruben Ojeda addition of the kitchen and family room overlooking the back courtyard.

Here Kathryn explains she wants to get rid of the upper cabinets and put in a new window.  Plus, she needs to make space for her Aga.

In progress.   You can see she removed the upper cabinets and put in a bigger window and a farm sink.  I’m thinking that the appliances are getting covers of some kind.  To the left – she got rid of all those cabinets to add the AGA there.  Wood floor is installed instead of linoleum.    She probably added a small table in the middle of the room – for an island or eating.

Here’s a better view in progress of the AGA.  I wish there was a new photo of the finished kitchen, but not yet.

Here, in this video, Kathryn shows us the AGA and you can see how wide the opening to the front room now is.  In the family room behind her – the door to the bedroom hall was closed off to make room for the powder room, which I think is a great idea of hers.

Another view.

In the Behind The Scenes video – you get a fleeting glimpse of the family room.  There is a large sectional for her boys to watch sports – and lots of pastel colored pillows.   Above is a large photograph of the Santa Monica pier.  There is also a square ottoman and cotton rug.  I wish they had shown us this room!!!

One huge change in the room, beside the bedroom hall being closed off is that the door opening to the porch is now gone.  Instead of the two doors, there is just one, in the center of the porch – allowing for two built in banquettes to be installed on the porch.  You’ll see!!!

Remember the original, front bedroom – with the door that leads to the courtyard?   That has become her youngest son’s room.

Here, you can see the pretty grille outside, which I love – and Kathryn was trying out curtains for this room.

Here is the finished room – the bed is dressed in fabrics found at the flea market(!).   She used to sell this bed, not sure if she still does, but it’s worth asking if you want one.   A rug covers the wood floor.

I was studying this room and I think this is so Kathryn!  It shows her talent so well, the layering of fabrics and pillows – that is not easy to get right.  I love the way she drapes the bed and then ties the fabric!  Perfection!   I love her curtains and that she chose shades on the smaller window.  And a vintage styled wicker chair to finish it all off.  Love! 

Here is the original bedroom hall, with the family room at the end of it.  To the right is the stairway.   Now, the powder room is at the end of the hall, closing off the family room.

The same view – you can see into the powder room as Kathryn walks upstairs.

The powder room is my favorite.   Here is an early view – with a different mirror.   The sink and stand is from Kreoo HERE and I LOVE it!  It’s perfect for this casual home, yet the marble sink and top gives it a bit of luxe.  Wallpaper by Kathryn, of course.

For Elle Decor – she has a new mirror from Arteriors. 

Just darling!

The second bath on the hall – for her son – is going to be the wet room.  No photos though.

Upstairs, the landing has green lino and the series of strange cabinets which Kathryn hated.  The door to the bathroom is closed off – and moved to her bedroom.  The landing becomes a sitting area.

Upstairs are two bedrooms with a closet between.  Kathryn extended her bedroom into the closet between – then made the second bedroom her closet.  In her bedroom, she added another door to the porch AND she closed off these two smaller windows so she could place her bed there.

In between – Kathryn shows the new arched doorway that leads to the closet, which was once the second bedroom.


In the Behind The Scenes video, while photographing the house – you can see that she placed a large armoire in her bedroom.

And here – in the Behind The Scenes video, we get a glimpse of Kathryn’s new sitting area which was once the landing with all the cabinets.  Now, the windows overlook the 22’ foot high living room.   At the right is the new reconfigured bathroom.

Notice the two doors to her room and her bath are sliding “barn” doors – the new trendy version of the pocket door.

I wish we could see the print on the chair better – that is from her new digitally printed fabric line!  And it looks beautiful!!!

In this video, we get a peek at her new bedroom to be. 

AND here it is!!!!  With the two windows now gone – she can put her bed against the wall which is exactly where it should be.    The arched wood ceiling was removed I suppose – since the room was enlarged – taking in the closet space next door it would be impossible to keep that ceiling.  I actually JUST noticed this!!  Wow.  All that big ceiling is now gone.  I like this so much better!!!  

Her metal drum table filled with roses – in front of the bed and armoire.

From the video – forgive the screencap – but here you can see the second door that was added to the room. 

Her night stand.

The new master bathroom is quite modern.   The slipped chair is covered in Otis Textile fabric in pink.

Remember the second bedroom – this now is her closet.  And this ceiling was kept!

Here – you can see it was painted out in cream which looks so pretty – and the walls are her paper.  She said they had just printed it that week.

On the bed is her quilt fabric.  Again, we don’t get to see this room, finished!! 

BEFORE:   Here – the back of the house with the vines and the two French doors.

In between.   The second door is now gone and the back is painted white.   Upstairs – you can see there are now three French doors – no longer two, with a small window in between.

Here, in this video, you can see there are twin banquettes build, piled high with Kathryn’s fabric pillows.  Her son Otis is bring her fabric samples!!

AND – from Elle Decor!   One side of the porch with the raffia light.    It’s painted white with olive green rafters.  Love this!!

And another photo from Elle Decor – remember the red door to the old garage.  It’s now a guest suite.   In front of it there is a sitting area.

Kathryn looks so pretty here!  

I really like this sitting area – in front of the red door.   Inner Garden has fabulous garden furniture!!

In the Behind The Scenes video – you can see the area in front of the garage/guest room with the concrete chairs and balls.

Elle Decor:   This shows the driveway – they took the concrete design out and put pebbles instead, which I like better.   At the end of the driveway is the old garage now the guest suite. 

Kathryn installed a long pool along the right side of the courtyard.

Here’s a view of the new courtyard.  The gravel was removed and concrete squares were laid instead.  Succulents fill the pots and clamshells.  The pool has a dark bottom which makes it more atmospheric.  Notice upstairs on the porch – there’s a rattan swing outside the closet room.  The other open door is her new enlarged bedroom.

The piece de resistance – the courtyard!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG, be still my heart!!!! 

Look what Inner Gardens did with this gravel bare courtyard – now it looks like, as Kathryn said, a cross between Ibiza and Morocco.   Notice the concrete seats at the right and all the concrete pots and balls!!!    This is beyond fabulous!!!

It is stunning!!!

To the left on the garage/guest suite – you can see they added a French door to open the space to the pool.

I can only imagine how romantic this is at night for dinner parties in the art studio.  Imagine candles floating in the pool!   I’m sure the lighting installed by Inner Gardens is fabulous. 

From Instagram  - a view across the pool to the other side.  The neighbor’s house butts up to the pool, but it was painted a stark white to match with the other buildings.  Notice how that lone cactus now looks cozy with the rest of the large plants.

From Instagram – another view of the house across the pool.  Kathryn added this lounging bed with her fabric on it.  Mirrors reflect the pool.   Those urns!!!!!!

From a video  - Kathryn goes inside the art studio.

Notice the antique round table that was placed in here – along with the curtains.  I wish there was a good photo from here!  There is a piano and kitchen, all ready for dinner parties.  It looks like another iron window was put in the back of the studio.

Kathryn with the table set for dinner – Her suzani print was used for the curtains.

In the corner is her art studio fully functional kitchen.  She used her red Aga here and cabinets covered in her suzani fabric.  Open shelves hold dishes while an island is for quick bites. 

At Kathryn’s last office/showroom, she had a kitchen and it looks like she moved it here.  At one point Kathryn was a spokesperson for AGA, which is quintessentially British – just like Kathryn.

To recap:

Kathryn turned this compound of three buildings, into a home for her and her friends and family and a place to work.

She created a master suite with walk in closet and sitting room upstairs in the Ruben Ojeda-designed addition.

The original bedroom downstairs was turned into a place for her youngest son to stay in.

The back courtyard became an oasis with a large swimming pool and luscious garden filled with succulents.

Dual banquettes were built on the porch for outdoor meals.

And the final breathtakingly beautiful photo by Trevor Tondro for Elle Decor. 

Kathryn Ireland recently launched a new, edited web site HERE. 

Additionally, Kathryn has teamed up with other designers such as Bunny Williams and Martyn Lawrence Bullard to launch a new online decorating service, with delivery, called:


To Get Kathryn’s Look at a Good Price – I had so much fun trying to find things that would give you the Kathryn-Boho look:

Amazon has alot of Indian bedspreads – layer over blanket covers like Kathryn did in her son’s room.  Click on photo.

A thicker coverlet – click on photo.

Another one.  Love.  Click on Photo.













(so, so, so much cheaper than on Wayfair!?!?)



RATTAN – click on photo!