Kitchen Confidential
Suzanne Goin and David Lentz's living room
The chefs married last year, but before that David had ditched his small futon-appointed studio to move in with Suzanne. "I knew from the start that the house needed decorating, but I wasn't up to it," Suzanne says. And so the couple called in the cavalry: designer Jeffrey Alan Marks, who makes as many customized pieces of furniture as he buys. "We went to see Jeffrey's house," Suzanne says, "and it had everything we like in it."

Jeffrey tends to use dark wood the way Suzanne uses ingredients—just enough and not too much. He explains that dark lines serve to "ground" a room. Jeffrey painted white window frames black and brought in black tables and chairs to provide a counterpoint for the generally soft palette.

The couple wanted mature but not stuffy, so Jeffrey proceeded with caution when introducing formal pieces.
Suzanne Goin and David Lentz's living room
The Goin-Lentz 1932 cottage is only 1,200 square feet, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in character: The house has exposed beams and a leafy, quiet, terraced backyard accessed now through French doors (which replaced tacky sliding doors). In the front grows a fortress of greenery, including white roses, sea lavender, salvia, and purple bougainvillea vines, to help shield its residents from the city's clang and clamor.

For the living room, Jeffrey suggested slate blue wingback armchairs, the kind a person might associate with a parent's house. But Jeffrey made the chairs current by upholstering them in linen and crafting the welting out of a chunky braid he describes as "punchy and weird." He also designed a zinc-topped wood console/bar specifically so David could finally get his stereo equipment off the floor.
Suzanne Goin and David Lentz's living room
Suzanne and David's living room is for lounging after a long day at their restaurants. The antique fireplace screen is from Blackman Cruz. The mother-of-pearl mirror and the concrete finials are from Mecox Gardens.

Before Jeffrey arrived, the house felt comfortable but cluttered, which wasn't the most welcome sight at 2 a.m., the hour the couple usually gets home from work. Now, they can fall safely into bed.
Suzanne Goin and David Lentz's bedroom
The bedroom opens onto the porch, creating a country-cottage feel. Outside, a fortress of bougainvillea vines, white roses, and sea lavender shield the owners from the city's clang and clamor.

The rooms throughout the house have a muted color scheme. So Jeffrey added more spice to the dining room.
Suzanne Goin and David Lentz's dining room
When Jeffrey introduced the dramatic surprise of high-gloss orange automotive paint on a pair of ladderlike bookcases, "I was skeptical," admits Suzanne, who usually steers clear of strong color. "But once I lived with it, I really liked it."

Suzanne and David generally deferred to Jeffrey but were certain of one thing: They did not want formal, restaurant-style seating in the dining area. In the rare event that they did have friends over, they wanted comfort and informality to prevail. Marks responded by creating a plush seating area with furniture he designed and upholstered in what he calls "happy colors"—a pumpkin banquette and club chairs covered in a citrus nubby tweed—so diners can completely relax. "You can sit in those for three or four hours," he says.

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