January 2018

With a client list boasting Hollywood stars and a social life filled with members of the Golden Age, Tony Duquette was a set and costume designer responsible for some of the most Maximalist spaces the silver screen has ever seen.

Discovered by the socialite and designer, Elsie de Wolfe and through the patronage of de Wolfe and her husband Sir Charles Mendl, Duquette established himself as one of the leading designers in LA. Having started off working for Fred Astaire, designing his sets and costumes, Duquette established his design studio of the same name in 1941 and it still operates as a business today, even after Duquette’s death.

Dawnridge in Beverley Hills became the home of Tony and his wife Elizabeth in 1949 and was an embodiment of the duo’s love affair with the bold and beautiful. It is an opulent example of early maximalist design with draped windows dressed with turquoise silk satin. Plaster lambrequins have been painted to look like tooled leather, crowned with 18th century carved and gilded Italian wings. Silver urns from Spain lend a final touch whilst especially commissioned artwork hangs above looming fire places and on decadently dressed walls.

The exterior is just as richly decorated as the interior and is somewhat reminiscent of Chinese pergolas or even the set of Indiana Jones with verdant planting and a bold use of tropical plants and trees tying the architectural elements together. The result is a home that is deeply layered and tells a rich story. Built up over the time, Dawnridge, and other examples of Duquette’s work, represents a love of patterns, colours and textures that help represent the designer’s history and his close relationship with Hollywood’s golden glamour. 

Photography © Tony Duquette