This Tuscany-Inspired Poolhouse Makes a Splash at AD100 Atelier AM's L.A. Abode

Mayer Rus

Michael Misczynski describes it as a “defensive move.” The modest ranch house next door to the West Hollywood home he shares with wife and business partner Alexandra and their two sons was going on the market. Rather than risk the chance that a bloated McMansion or newfangled McModern might rise up beside them, blocking their views of the Chateau Marmont and the twinkling lights of downtown in the distance, the design duo behind the AD100 firm Atelier AM decided to purchase the property and transform it into a garden, entertaining pergola, pool, and poolhouse. As defensive moves go, it was a pretty sweet deal.

Michael and Alexandra in the pergola.
The Misczynskis’ sons, Henry (left) and Miles, play cards in the pergola, whose design was inspired by the Castiglion del Bosco estate in Tuscany. Landscape design by Hoffman and Ospina Landscape Architecture.

In the great tradition of Angelenos looking to the Mediterranean for design inspiration, the Misczynskis crafted their new pergola as an ode to Castiglion del Bosco, the paradisiacal Tuscan estate and winery converted into a sumptuous resort by proprietor Massimo Ferragamo. “We have spent many happy vacations there with our family, so we wanted to re-create a small part of that idyllic Italian countryside here in L.A. When the time came to design, we went straight to the source and reached out to Massimo for advice,” Alexandra explains.

In the poolhouse, a sofa wraps around a custom reclaimed-wood cocktail table. Indian textiles cover the pillows.

In signature Atelier AM style, the end result is an object lesson in quiet, unpretentious luxury. The posts and beams, wrapped in climbing vines of jasmine, are made with slender alder timbers from Oregon. Beneath a roof of heather brushwood fencing, a built-in plaster bench is outfitted with basic, hard-wearing canvas cushions and pillows of handwoven Indian textiles. Classic wicker chairs pull up to a 19th-century Italian elm dining table from Axel Vervoordt, all set on a field of reclaimed French Dalles de Bourgogne flagstone. “There’s nothing particularly aggressive or daring about it,” Michael says of the design scheme. “We built this place for relaxing and easy entertaining, not for striking poses.”

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To create the poolhouse, the Misczynskis simply worked with the existing home on the site, lopping off one third of the residence to accommodate the new pool and remodeling the remainder of the structure as a communal loft space flanked by a bath and a gym. Like the pergola, the neutral-toned poolhouse decor—custom canvas-covered sofas, mottled plaster walls, and rustic wood tables—rejects poly­chromatic finery in favor of serenity and ease. Again, in characteristic Atelier AM fashion, the designers deployed ancient totems—in this case, roughly 5,000-year-old stone idols and a Bactrian disk from the Central Asian Margiana culture—as a kind of glue, forging bonds across centuries and millennia of art and design. What little color exists in the poolhouse comes from a series of François Halard photographs of Cy Twombly’s home and studio in Gaeta.

A Closer Look Into the Family Fun Zone Designed by Atelier AM

In the living room, Henry lounges on a custom sofa among vintage furnishings by Pierre Chapo, Jean Dunand, Jean-Michel Frank, Alberto and Diego Giacometti, and Claude Lalanne. Rug by Mansour; painting by Joan Mitchell.
Paintings by Yun Hyong-Keun (left) and Tsuyoshi Maekawa decorate a corner of the living room. Vintage Jean Dunand chairs; Claude Lalanne side table; 18th-century French console from Axel Vervoordt.
Miles (left) and Henry play soccer in the garden.
The Misczynskis’ sons, Henry (left) and Miles, play cards in the pergola, whose design was inspired by the Castiglion del Bosco estate in Tuscany. Landscape design by Hoffman and Ospina Landscape Architecture.
Michael and Alexandra in the pergola.
In the poolhouse, a sofa wraps around a custom reclaimed-wood cocktail table. Indian textiles cover the pillows.
At their Los Angeles home, designers Alexandra (right) and Michael Misczynski of AD100 firm Atelier AM gather by the pool with their sons and dog.
To preserve their views of Chateau Marmont and downtown L.A., the Misczynskis bought the lot adjacent to their home to build a pool, poolhouse, pergola, and garden.
A photograph by Ellen von Unwerth hangs in the stairwell.
The master bedroom features a Hästens bed with Frette linens and a headboard covered in a linen by Anne Kirk Textiles. Vintage chair, stool, and table lamps by Marc Du Plantier.

Shades of Castiglion del Bosco reemerge in the lush plantings of the Misczynskis’ Arcadian refuge. Working with Anna Hoffman of Hoffman and Ospina Landscape Architecture, the designers conjured an homage to Tuscany with Italian cypresses, 90-year-old olive trees, and banks of rosemary. “There’s an element of fantasy, but it’s definitely not fancy,” Alexandra insists, summing up the vibe. “We just wanted a place where we can take a breath and imagine we’re somewhere far, far away from the Sunset Strip.”

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Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest