Jamie Bush and Tim Campbell
Jamie Bush and Tim CampbellPhoto: Jamie Bush and Tim Campbell
Los Angeles Designer Face-Off

How Would Designers Redo Chateau Marmont? Jamie Bush and Tim Campbell Entertain the Idea

AD PRO asks two Los Angeles designers to rethink the interiors of one of Hollywood’s most historic celebrity hangouts

If walls could talk, Chateau Marmont’s would be the first to nab a book deal and a Ryan Murphy–produced anthology series. Perched high on Sunset Boulevard, the 1929 complex designed by William Douglas Lee began as an apartment building. It soon became an inn and a celebrity magnet. The hangout and hiding spot has operated on a continuum of drama and intrigue over the years, housing F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Hunter S. Thompson, and many others.

The Chateau’s vintage-inspired interiors reflect the building’s timeless status, but how might a designer renovate it to speak to the celebrity culture of today? To find out, AD PRO asked two of the city’s top designers.

The lobby of the Chateau Marmont.

Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty

Jamie Bush, Jamie Bush + Co.

I think it would be a blessing and a curse to be asked to touch that place. Looking at the lobby and main areas, I think what’s great about it is that it’s almost not designed in a sense—there are a lot of selections that aren’t fashionable or of a modern taste. It’s sort of an eclectic mix of some Spanish things, Victorian pieces, and overstuffed furniture. I think that’s part of the charm of it.

If I were to do something, it would almost be like a temporary installation—similar to how, in a grand home for the summer, you would do slipcovers to change the mood in an impermanent way. What I would love to do is slipcover all the upholstery. You would still see the structure of the piece. Maybe the fabric is a red stripe ticking to unify everything. It would look quite modern.

For the summer, I would bring enormous potted trees into the space. Really overscaled, so they become big canopies you’re sitting under. I would also bring in wicker and some occasional pieces: ottomans, tables. Or you could keep the lamps and change the shades to wicker. Maybe the maroon rug stays, and you bring in some sisal area rugs to overlay, so you still see maroon on the perimeter. Those elements would really transform the space. And it would literally be there for two months, and you could put it all back.

Tim Campbell, Studio Tim Campbell

It could definitely use some freshening and brightening up without losing the sexiness. I always compare spaces to people, and it reminds me of the actress who played Vampira [Maila Nurmi]—the textiles are a little bit dated, a little bit gothic. They could be lightened up and modernized without losing the vibe.

I have friends who’ve stayed there a lot, and the one thing everybody complains about is that the bathrooms are super, super tiny. If there was a way to update the bathrooms and make them a little bit more modern and spacious, that would make the place so much more relevant than it is now.

Another thing that would be exceptional for the property is if the gardens were a little bit bigger. There are a couple of adjacent properties that, if those were acquired and turned into gardens, I could see that being a wonderful way to restore how the hotel must’ve felt when it was first built, when L.A. was much less urban than it is now. That would be amazing.

More from AD PRO: Has Instagram Made Design Shows Better?

Sign up for the AD PRO newsletter for all the design news you need to know