COTE DE TEXAS: Cote de Texas #7

Cote de Texas #7



This week's Cote de Texas Top Ten - #7, goes to the Queen of Clutter, Lynn Von Kersting.  I can assure you that Von Kersting, a Los Angeles interior designer will  be the only Top Ten pick that is more famous for owning a  restaurant than an interior design business.  As the proprietress of Los Angeles' most famous star gazing haunt, The Ivy, Von Kersting's interior design profession is not as well known to the public.  Adding to her mystique, her interiors are not published often, she has no web site, and her book is sold only at her decor store, Indigo Seas.  Located right next door to The Ivy, Indigo Seas looks like a typical Von Kersting interior on steroids.  A riot of color, textures, patterns, and Grand Tour accessories, Indigo Seas (pictured to the left) is the most famous example of the Von Kersting style.   The style she has made famous is heavy on a layering of  reds, toiles, Eastern influences, saffrons, faded Bennisons, and antiques.  Her interiors include a treasure trove of riches a tourist would bring back from a visit to countries bordering the Indian Ocean.   Von Kersting's own home is the famous former George Cukor estate.  She lives there with her partner and her daughter, India.  A true Renaissance woman, Von Kersting, has taken her interpretation of the clutter-filled English country home and made it her own.  Her interiors are instantly recognizable - warm, inviting, with splashes of color and pattern, and always a touch of whimsy added for fun.

This beautiful room in a home in Bel Air is pure Von Kersting:  toile fabric walls, multiple different toiles used on upholstered furniture along with Bennison and indienne fabrics,  comfortable, down filled slipcovered seating, masses of accessories and layers piled high, blue and white porcelains, framed prints of European and Asian landscapes, antiques, stripes, and touches of crystal.

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Close up view of the left side of the living room. 


Close up of the right side of the living room.  Note the mother of pearl Moroccan tables Von Kersting  likes to use.  Pillows piled high are made of paisleys and Indian silks.

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Close up view of slipcovered, down filled arm chairs.  Note the small tufted chair upholstered with two fabrics.

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Back porch which the living room looks out onto.  Von Kersting always finishes her porches as outdoor rooms.  Here, an iron daybed is piled high with striped red and white fabrics.


The master bedroom is a study in toiles.  Five different patterns were used in this room.  Yet, somehow, it all works together beautifully.

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The master bathroom used two different patterns.  Antique French blue apothecary jars are a favorite accessory that Von Kersting likes to use.

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This entry hall in a Californian home has all the Von Kersting touches:  Victorian styled tufted chairs, Moroccan  accent tables, framed prints of landscapes, crystal chandelier, and as always she is true to her motto:  the more the better.

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Further down the entry hall, Von Kersting's tablescape on an antique painted console table piled high with her favorites:  blue and white porcelains, urns, flowers, mirror, platters, prints, and an Indian box.   An antique Oushak rug covers the tiled floor.

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For this family's dining room, Von Kersting upholstered the chairs in red and white striped fabric, drapes are saffron silk taffetas.    An antique Oushak sits under the table.  Gold antique mirror and crystal chandelier add to the mix.

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In the same dining room, a gold chair is upholstered in a paisley fabric, another Von Kersting favorite.  Antique painted panels hang on the walls.  A wicker basket holds extra napkins underneath the painted wood buffet table.

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The entry hall of the home shown above has a collection of dog oil paintings going up the stairs.  An antique french settee piled high with pillows sits underneath the stairs.  Note the antique tufted bamboo ottoman, piled high with tole tray, books, and flowers.

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For this small California cottage, Von Kersting used red and white ticking (a favorite fabric of Kersting's,) floral slipcovers, antique wicker furniture, bamboo blinds, books, trays, mirrors, and piles of pillows.

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For this smaller home, Von Kersting used a blue and white striped fabric on an antique Swedish sofa.  Checks go on the french bergere.  Pillows piled high as usual and a favorite green color is used on the walls.

For this living room, Von Kersting departs from her usual reds and yellows and instead uses soothing shades of peaches and greens.  Everything else remains typical Von Kersting though.


Here, is Von Kersting's own home, the original George Cukor estate, which was designed  for him by William Haines.   Shown is the magnificent paneled living room, which Lynn painted a deep red, of course!  Bennison fabric covered the sofa.  In the back is a beautiful chinoiserie chest piled high with blue and white porcelains.

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A bigger view of the living room - the ceiling is partly carved in wood paneling.  In the foreground a bench is covered in a Fortuny like fabric.  To the left, a skirted table sits in front of the bay window.  I love the green fabric shade on the blue and white lamp behind the sofa.  Antique Oushak rug.

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Close up view of the skirted table and french settee inside the bay window.  French chairs are covered in a blue and cream Fortuny fabric.   

Another view of the same setting - this time the table is left bare, exposing a mother of pearl Indian table.

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Another seating area in the living room.  Clutter everywhere - the room is warm, inviting and welcoming.

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Venetian mirror atop a painted console. 


Another vignette in the living room - here a chinoiserie chest and Venetian mirror. 

Contrast the Von Kersting living room shown in the above pictures with the Geroge Cukor living room shown here designed by William Haines.  The walls are stained paneling here instead of painted red.  The wood carved ceiling remains the same today, though painted red.  Von Kersting removed the chandelier in favor of a lantern, but myself, I prefer the original light fixture.  The Cukor pictures are courtesy of the Mrs. Blandings blog, who wrote a fabulous story about the Cukor home here.


The entry hall in the Von Kersting home.  A hall table is piled high with blue and white porcelains, oxblood vase, flowers, candlesticks and books. 

Here, is the same entry hall photographed when George Cukor lived here.  Note, the same sconces remain today. 


The oval room is Von Kersting's  private study.  The room, a departure for the bright colors of the other rooms, has copper moldings and is painted a soft green.  The furniture is slipcovered in white cottons. 

Another view of the oval room.


Close up of the oval room decorated for Christmas.


Again, the oval room decorated for the Christmas.

Contrast the green oval room as it was during Cukor's day.  Von Kersting changed out the paneling, but kept the copper moldings and the parquet floor.  She also changed out the copper fireplace.


The master bedroom:  paisley covered sofa and chairs.  Oriental coffee table.   Wallpaper, and indienne inspired fabric on the four poster bed. 


The same room, but this time an antique Oriental silk coverlet hides the paisley upholstery.

One more shot of the bedroom - with views towards the left side of the room.

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The library, housed in a building outside the main house, is piled with books and records everywhere.  The piles and piles of books are on the shelves and on the floor, on top of tables and underneath tables too.  Painted a warm Provencal yellow, a skirted table provides a place to eat away from the main house.

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Close up of the library's bookcase.  Framed pictures hang from the shelves.


Lynn  Von Kersting has long been a favorite of mine.   Rarely published, the few interiors that are show Von Kersting to have a unique style that is all her own.  Some designers have tried to emulate her look, but find she is hard to copy successfully.   I hope you've enjoyed The Top Ten #7 and come back for the remaining choices!!'


  1. It's all so lovely. Thank you so much for your research and the time and effort this must take. I just love coming here. The entry and stairway are just beyond beautiful. I just love the wrought iron work. How such a masculine muscular undertaking becomes so delicate and feminine to the eye..

  2. That's my favorite picture too! I love that staircase SO much!!!! new ones just don't look that good.

    thanks for the comment!

  3. I love that she is the queen of clutter. But only she can cause clutter to look somewhat glamorous!!!

  4. Love, love, love Lynn Von Kersting!!! She has been a favorite of mine for years!!! I love seeing so much of her work all in on place. Thanks Joni!

  5. WOW! So much to look at so much to take in. There is something in each picture that catches my eye! The wall vingettes, the pillows, the books, that staircase, and oh so much more....

    Thanks, Joni

  6. These are definately my favorite rooms so far. Truly beautiful layered rooms. Thanks so much for bringing her style to your site. Christy:-)<><

  7. Bravo!!!! You really nailed this one. I don't usually like clutter but Lynn appeals to my artist eye. These rooms are a feast!! Thanks for a great post!

  8. After finding your marvelous blog, I need my fix ,popping in more and more. The last few pictures have been beyond wonderful.
    Now - if only your wonderful images could be printed/bound in book form that I could curl up with. Cheers, Lisa

  9. PS - Several years ago, there was a magazine spread showing a house Von Kersting had done (somewhere in "middle America",perhaps) via long distance, working with a couple using Fed Ex, many phone calls. If I remember, decorator never actually saw the house in the process but it ended up looking just as it should - lots of red,chinoiserie,layers of clutter.

  10. I live the image of Indigo Seas! What fun things she's got!

  11. wow.... how lovely those rooms are... I am always so happy to come and see you... I will have to come back and re-read this post... lots to take in. Thanks Joni !

  12. Lynn's style has a great deal of warmth and elegance. I really like all the layers and the "atmosphere" they produce. Nice job, Joni!

  13. Wow, I wasn't really familiar with the body of her work. I'm wanting a warm, richly layered look for our place eventually. Inspiring.

  14. Wow. Maybe I DO like clutter after all. These rooms are beautiful, lovely and lived-in. Thanks for the pics.

  15. Joni - love the elusive von Kersting and your fabulous posts. Thanks for the mention - unnecessary, but appreciated.

  16. I'm in the camp of "doesn't like clutter but loves these rooms." Abso fabulous. Many ghosts of Nancy Lancaster in these rooms. This is a keeper to return to for stealing ideas.I love how the crowd of Chinoiserie is practically falling off the ebony armoire. BOOKMARK!

  17. i been thinking of hanging pictures on my book cases and this is the perfect look!

  18. Love her sense of adventure in the mix of patterns and layers. Fav rooms: of course the shot of the staircase in the Californian home, the oval room/private study, and the master bedroom.

  19. Again, you have profiled a more than worthy talent - absolutely nobody can execute such controlled and deliberate "clutter" - a true genius...great post, you really have your "finger on the pulse..."

  20. How I love this. LVK's style i=speaks directly to me. From the tufted chairs to the layers of fabrics, the wrought iron railings to the Babar dolls and books. Piles and piles of books.
    To me, this is home. This is beauty!

    Thank you dear Joni for this. I so enjoyed it.


  21. OOOH! Such a feast for the eyes and the soul!
    Thank you!

  22. Did these photos come from a book? Too fabulous!

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  24. In December of 1989, I was reading the latest issue of House & Garden, January 1990 issue, when my eyes fell into the magazine with the article featuring Lynn von Kersting's home. That was my introduction to her interior design talent! Nineteen years later, I still have that article in by design notebooks plus numerous others showcasing her work.

    She did work with a couple in Minnesota doing long-distance decorating for them without ever going to their home. The beautiful small home dripping with her and the couple's talent was featured in the March 2006 issue of Traditional Home.

    You hit a home run, Joni, with all the fabulous photos of Lynn's work. I am as big a fan of her as I am of you!

  25. HI - thanks for all the comments! I do most def. remember that article about the couple that Lynn helped long distance. I was intruiged by the concept. I just didn't have the clippings of it that I could find - thats the problem with magazines not putting up all their old work on the web sites. Better Homes and Gardens really has a great great archive of old, old stories. but no one else does. Thanks again everyone - and I'm glad y'all enjoyed this pick.

  26. WOW Joni! Another home run! I remember her house from the holidays with her star fish "stars". I love her beautifully exotic and colorful layering. Thanks for all of the amazing collection of photos. You said she has a book? I will have to look into adding that to my library.

    (Hmmm, let's see. I pick McAlpine, Booth Ferrier next (if only because my maiden name was Ferrier! And relation that I'm aware of))

  27. Oh I do love that red and white striped porch number. Please let me sit there and in my full red skirt and crisp white blouse and eat candy canes.


  28. AFTER this great post ! I have to add I'm definitely " CLUTTER " .
    Her style is gorgeous ! I love just what she loves : paisleys , suzani , trimmings , Napoleon III ( victorian) furniture ..If her restaurant is as good as her style ...I guess this is a wonderful place

  29. Another great choice, Joni! She has a great sense of personal style, I really love these images!!!

    Happy day!

  30. Love her work - a great choice yes indeed!!

  31. Great timing for your pick. In the latest issue of Western Interiors it features a beach house in Hermosa Beach, California that was decorated by Von Kersting.

  32. her work is great and has been some has been published in a book called

    New American Living Rooms
    by Chris Casson Madden

    you can see her beautiful work

  33. As a fellow Texan who lives half the year in France, I love reading your blog.
    i have a home in Malibu and frequent the Ivy on Robertson very often so know Lynn's work well.
    I started a web site which features purchases from the brocantes near my home in Southwest France. My partner Laura McGuire is a stylist in Dallas and she is the one who has made our web site look so beautiful. I hope you will look at it and enjoy.

  34. Hi,

    Thanks for this lovely piece on Indigo! Just wanted to let you know that the shop is now on Instagram! Our handle is @IndigoSeasShop :)

    Kind regards,

    Indigo Seas