The singer, spouse Orly Marley, and their four children craft a haven in L.A.’s Toluca Lake
A report by Juliet Izon for Architectural Digest.
The impetus for Ziggy and Orly Marley’s house hunt was one with which many young parents are familiar: They were running out of space. Their previous home, a beautiful Mediterranean in Beverly Hills, may have been an ideal bolthole for just the two of them, but “they had beautiful child after beautiful child, and the house was quickly too small,” says Reza Farahan, a close friend of the couple who not only helped them find their new home but took charge of its interior design as well.
Farahan ultimately led them to a 10,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial in L.A.’s Toluca Lake neighborhood, a house with a footprint about twice as large as their previous abode, and ideal for the couple’s four young children. For Marley, however, what ultimately sold him was not the home’s appearance but more of an ineffable feeling that it would be a welcoming space in which to bring up his children. “It’s not about how it looks or how many bedrooms; it’s about how it feels,” says Marley, whose new album, More Family Time, was just released. “I liked the vibe and the spirit of the home.” But, Farahan notes, Marley wanted to make sure the climate was also to his liking. “He asked me about the weather, because he’d never lived in the San Fernando Valley,” Farahan says. “He wanted to make sure the breezes were just as nice as they were on the other side of the hill, and I assured him that they were.”
Once the family decided to move forward with the property, Farahan and his team oversaw seven months of renovations that touched every room of the six-bedroom, seven-bathroom house. One of the first features the couple knew they wanted to install was something they had loved about their previous home: hand-scraped reclaimed-oak wood flooring. “When you’re doing a 10,000-square-foot house, just redoing the floors alone is a Herculean task, especially when they’re being scraped by hand to give them that authentic Mediterranean vibe,” Farahan says. But the effort was certainly worth the result: The honey-hued, textured planks lend the home a lived-in yet elegant feel.
In terms of the renovation, the largest project was refashioning the open-plan kitchen, dining room, and family area to be a relaxed space that was conducive to cooking, eating, and, for the youngest members, playing. Mealtime here brings everyone together: The family grows cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables in the patio garden, and the children often help make meals. “I cook every day,” Marley says. “I’m Jamaican, so sometimes I introduce the kids to Jamaican dishes like steamed fish.” And though the previous owners had an oversized wine cellar near the kitchen, Farahan smartly converted the space into a large pantry. “Usually, it’s the other way around, but when you have four kids, the pantry becomes a lot more important than the wine refrigeration room,” Farahan says, laughing.
When it came to deciding on decor for the home, accessibility for the children was a major factor, but Marley also wanted it to embody his twin design philosophies. “My style is simple but royal,” he says. “For me, royal means things like high ceilings; I like space and I don’t want to feel cramped.” While the home’s generous square footage is certainly regal, Farahan also had no problem interpreting Marley’s desire for simplicity. “[At first], they sound like two things that are so complex and complicated and have nothing to do with one another,” Farahan says. But since the designer knows the couple so intimately, he had an innate sense of what would appeal to them. “Ziggy is very natural, organic, and simple. The house had to make sense; it didn’t need to be overdone and complex.” Farahan achieved this vision with touches like oversized couches upholstered with fabrics like tufted velvet, full slabs of marble quartz in the bathroom, and elegant chandeliers to complement the high ceilings.
While Marley describes his family as active—there’s even a basketball court in the backyard—his favorite space is the main bedroom. Farahan decorated it in crisp whites, which contrast with the dark-wood Postabello four-poster bed and the exposed wood beams in the ceiling. “It has a balcony that I really like to use to start or finish off the day,” Marley says of the serene retreat. “I’m a vibe person.”