Born in Toronto and now based in Los Angeles, Top Chef Canada judge Shereen Arazm lives with her husband and three children in an 11,000-square-foot Hollywood home that was built in 1927. Except for a caretaker, the Spanish-style house, which boasts seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, hadn't been lived in for 44 years when she and her family bought it in 2010.
During the subsequent renovation, which Arazm, a co-owner of Terroni restaurant in L.A., undertook with Canadian interior designer Lara McGraw, some celebrity autographs scrawled on its walls (by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Natalie Wood) were among the features preserved.
The home's crowning glory, however, ended up being the library.
"It's so quiet," exclaims Arazm, whose show wrapped up its latest season this week on Food Network Canada. "In the age of e-books and Kindles, it's so nice to hold a great book and touch the pages. The room smells like books. It's where I hide."
The side tables
"These are from Design Within Reach. I like them because they are not square and there are a lot of angles in this room already. I like that they are an odd shape and delicate, with wood and metal. I love their contemporary design."
"These are Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams down-filled couches. We needed two because the room is so big. Lara picked the fabric we used to recover them. They were originally from my husband's home in Montana."
"I totally changed it. It used to be a bad green marble. Lara and I chose the grey soapstone to add more of a contemporary vibe to an old-school room."
"This is by Peter Alexander, one of my favourite artists. It is called Van Nuys. It's the view from the plane while flying into L.A."
"I love these! They tie everything in the room together, while adding colour and softness. Lara picked them out. Each is one-of-a-kind."
The coffee table
"I wanted a big nesting coffee table for the library, contemporary but chunky. I was having a hard time finding one in the finish I wanted, so I called my millworker, Rigo Olivas, who has worked with me on all my restaurants. I drew it, we measured the space, picked the wood and voilà! It was a challenge, as the entire room is American walnut. All the walls are wood panels, so a wooden table had to be the right colour."
"These are vintage Wassily Chairs. Finding a pair was a challenge. I love the combination of wood and metal."