At Home: Hollywood ‘fixer’ seeks design help to downsize and fix up a fixer | Lifestyle

Audrey J. Powers

Before COVID hit, Howard Bragman had two residences and a husband or wife. These days, the movie star disaster manager, acknowledged for cleansing up some of Hollywood’s greatest messes, is solitary and residing massive in fifty percent the space he when had.

For a feeling of what he’s dealt with, previous clients involve Sharon Osbourne, Nick Cannon, Wendy Williams, Chris Brown and Monica Lewinsky, which just helps make me feel grateful I’m not calling him for illustration.

“After I bought divorced, I did not have to downsize. I selected to,” Bragman told me, when I called him to converse about his downsizing procedure and how he arrived at his lovely end result.

Likely into the pandemic, Bragman occupied a 1,000-square-foot condominium in New York Metropolis and a 4,200-square-foot, 5-bedroom, five-bathtub contemporary farmhouse in Valley Village, a Los Angeles suburb. After COVID took keep, providing up the condominium produced feeling, since Television set function he did there he could now do remotely.

As for the California property, when he and his spouse parted ways, “the location appeared as well big,” stated Bragman, 66. “I did not want the repairs. I required to are living otherwise and travel additional.”

He found a two-story, 2,700-sq.-foot townhome in close by Toluca Lake. Moreover needing a makeover, it had what he desired: two bedrooms, a area for an business, room for a health club, a generous wonderful space, a roomy outside terrace for entertaining, and entry to a pool and jacuzzi. The bones were being fantastic, but the spot hadn’t been updated because it was constructed in 1977.

“That was a in addition,” he extra. “I dislike paying out for a lousy renovation. I’d relatively pay out for no renovation.” The place also did not have area for his in depth art and images collection and his blended 5,200-sq.-toes worth of household furniture.

For the reason that a genuine skilled understands when to phone for assistance, the Hollywood fixer called on longtime close friend Beverly Hills interior designer Christopher Grubb to help him fix the fixer.

Grubb, who joined our phone, achieved Bragman in the late 1990s, and has labored on various of the PR maven’s houses. “We’ve been on very a style and design journey,” Grubb reported. “This property is 180 degrees different from his past one particular.”

“When you are going as a result of a crisis, you obtain out who your pals are,” Bragman joked.

Bragman bought the townhome in May perhaps 2020. He offered his farmhouse that summertime, and moved into an condominium although he, Grubb and architect Kenneth David Lee of KDL Architects went to function on the rework. Apart from the structure’s clear traces and large ceilings, all that remained ended up a number of partitions, the stair railing, a designed-in bookcase, an business office cupboard, which they repainted, and the garage doorway.

Making use of a palette of blues (Dunn Edwards Luna Pier), grays, creams and taupes, they mounted new cabinetry, flooring, fixtures and created-ins, together with a ladder-clad library wall in the most important bed room.

Then they grappled with the artwork and furniture. “What do you adore and what will suit?” Grubb reported were being the defining inquiries. They commenced by deciding on which massive artwork parts would remain and adorned all around them. Among the the keepers were an oil pastel by American artist Rockwell Kent, and an legendary colour picture Annie Leibovitz took of the late film director Billy Wilder on Sunset Boulevard. Wilder and Bragman have been mates.

“Art has a funny way of talking to you and telling you where by it belongs,” claimed Bragman, who estimates he offered or gifted about 35 parts of significant artwork. Some he bought at auction or through non-public gross sales some went to museums, and a number of pieces he gave to buddies and kinfolk. “After I picked out what I desired to keep, Christopher made a amazing gallery wall.”

Because going from 5,200 sq. ft to 2,700 can come to feel like an amputation, I questioned Bragman and Grubb if they could translate their approach into encouraging tips for others struggling with comparable daily life and housing transitions:

• Get out your joy meter. “When clientele are downsizing, and we are working with each other to edit what goes and what stays, I start by inquiring what can make them happiest. Then we search at what suits,” Grubb said.

• Consider your art on bank loan. “I seem at it this way,” Bragman mentioned, “I may well have paid out for the art, but I do not personal it. I am only the caretaker so lengthy as I have it. I value that now a person else will love it.”

• System to subtract, then increase. Although extra than 50 % of Bragman’s old home furniture manufactured the cut, many of the greatest pieces did not. “When relocating to a scaled-down space, you truly have to have to get rid of more home furniture than you consider,” Grubb reported, “to make area for some new objects you are going to want to pull the spot jointly.”

• Enlist a pro. A experienced designer will aid you determine out what will operate where and what won’t. Grubb realized ideal absent that selected parts would not work, but he permit Bragman check out them in any case. “He would say, ‘We’ll see,’” said Bragman, “when he definitely meant, “It won’t operate.’”

• Be sensible about value. “I had a great deal of custom furniture produced,” Bragman claimed, “pieces that I seriously loved but that did not transfer well to the new property. I learned they have been not well worth significantly.” He marketed some for smaller quantities and gave a great deal absent. “New household furniture is like a new car, it depreciates the minute you generate it off the whole lot,” Grubb added. As well as, today’s applied-home furniture current market is flooded.

• Find out the upside of downsizing. “I loved my farmhouse, but this is extra my type,” Bragman explained. “It feels excellent. I experience like I dropped pounds. I have everything I have to have and nothing I do not. When I stop by a person who life in a much more substantial, extravagant home, I respect it, but I thank God I do not have it. I desire additional individuals knew that if they scaled back again, they could be so substantially happier. I do not regret permitting go of anything. They’re factors.”

Marni Jameson has published six property and lifestyle books, which include “What to Do With All the things You Own to Go away the Legacy You Want.” Get to her at

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