Inside Designer Minnie Mortimer's Brentwood Palace

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on January 17.]
Upon entering Minnie Mortimer's sunny, Brentwood abode, it's instantly apparent that apart from her teensy frame, her name doesn't do her justice—this girl has GIANT style! The surfer-slash-designer's pad, which she shares with husband Stephen Gaghan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Traffic, exudes that unique brand of Cali cool only achieved with quick wit—and the ability to wear many aesthetic hats at once. A former stylist and photog for the glossies, Minnie's casually cool, eponymous ready-to-wear line has been going gangbusters, but she still manages to find time to expertly curate thousands of square feet of pure home envy—all while being a supermom to her two-year-old daughter Tuesday and pup, Fuzzy Duck.
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The perfect mélange of East-meets-West coast chic (Minnie used to be an NYC girl), every nook and cranny of her style identity piqued our interest. She's one of those women that makes a ten minute conversation impossible; you need to linger to learn more, and indeed, one cup of café quickly turned into three! After our marathon chat, we had to share this gal about town's wide-ranging wisdom, which runs the gamut from swanky surf spots to the ultimate Oscar-night attire. Warning, after a serious caffeine buzz, that humongous closet is really easy to get lost in.
Photographed by Maia Harms.
1 of 20
"My favorite part about my home is the land. We sit above Sunset Boulevard, and have views of the horses in our canyon, the Pacific ocean, and the twinkling lights of the city. It feels so close and so far away at the same time. Not to mention I can't see any neighbors—good for skinny dipping in our pool!"

Minnie Mortimer dress; Christian Louboutin espadrilles.

Photographed by Maia Harms.
2 of 20
"These are the items I'll add to my library next: Oberto Gili's Home Sweet Home, Assouline's Ballet Russes, IQ84 by Haruki Murakami, and the Abercrombie catalogues that were pulled out of circulation for their sexual references (shot by Bruce Weber)—I have been trying to track them down, but it's not easy."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
3 of 20
"I collect a lot of mid-century photography books and furniture. When I see a piece that I like, I try to track down an original—or sometimes a reproduction—but the originals have so much more soul."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
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This sweet gold charm necklace (purchased at Fred Segal in Santa Monica) has all of Minnie's family's initials engraved upon it.

Photographed by Maia Harms.
5 of 20
"It's a great effort to keep the scales balanced in my life. I just turned 30 last year, and I've decided this decade will be all about balance. In my twenties, I didn't understand that concept even in vaguest sense of the word. The center of my entire life is the time I spend with my family, being a wife and mother. I try to work hard but not be a workaholic."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
6 of 20
"The design of my house is really just a natural extension of my personality. The pieces are ones that struck my fancy at a particular moment in time. I try to think of how I want to feel in each space, and choose colors and fabrics that reflect that mood. I keep it loose. I'm constantly rearranging things and trading pieces in and out. It makes for a quirky and eclectic environment, but I prefer that to one that's contrived and derivative."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
7 of 20
"I am a 1st Dibs addict. Honestly, my knowledge of the decorative arts has increased a thousand percent by just browsing the pieces and reading about the provenance."

Suno dress; YSL heels.

Photographed by Maia Harms.
8 of 20
Minnie purchased all three of these bracelets on a trip to New Dehli.

Photographed by Maia Harms.
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9 of 20
"I am totally consumed by '60s and '70s Southern California surf and skate culture. A lot of the art I collect is from that period, and it's also the source of inspiration for so many of my designs. Contemporary art really excites me too — I am crazy for the New York artist Aurel Schmidt, she does these insanely intricate and beautiful drawings of objects that are usually thought of as disgusting. I want every piece I see of hers."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
10 of 20
"I'm excited for the upcoming Vanity Fair Oscar after-party. It's definitely one of the most fun parties anywhere! This year I want to wear a bright dress that I can move and dance in with classic and restrained jewelry. I like the dripping in diamonds look on older women, but I'm not into it yet."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
11 of 20
"For home pieces I have to say that Nathan Turner's store is my absolute favorite — he has literally scoured the globe for the most wonderful one-of-a-kind finds. It's the best curated collection around. I also am crazy for Carolina George furniture. The pieces are just so innovative; each one is multi-functional and they will lacquer them in any color of the rainbow."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
12 of 20
"I am going to keep designing pieces that I want to wear. My inspirations come from not only the exotic parts of my life, but also the day to day like going to the office, picking my daughter up at pre-school, and dealing with airport security, ha!"

Beyond Vintage dress; Christian Louboutin espadrilles.

Photographed by Maia Harms.
13 of 20
"When I wake up, the 'what do I want to put on my body today' question motivates me a lot. I like to make wearable pieces for women who have full lives."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
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14 of 20
"I am excited about a breaking into other areas of design—I've been creating a few dresses for little girls, and I'm really excited to share those with the world."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
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This mega closet boasts felt-lined drawers for all of the designer's baubles.

Photographed by Maia Harms.
16 of 20
"Out of all the pieces in my crazily organized closet, my favorites are a vintage burgundy YSL jacket that was my mother's, a long grass green gown that Oscar de la Renta gave me from his collection, and last but not least, the first dress I made for my line—It's a white shirtdress, and I will treasure it always."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
17 of 20
"My advice to any girl who wants to break into surfing is to invest in a good, used 9'6" board, research good learner breaks near you, and just get out there! Let the other surfers in the water know that you are a beginner, and chances are, they'll give you tips."

American Apparel T shirt; J Brand jeans; Rolex GMT Master watch.

Photographed by Maia Harms.
18 of 20
"I love to surf in Southwest France because a lot of the beaches are next to forest preserves so they feel so untouched and isolated. Not to mention the Basque food is to die for! My husband asked me to marry him on our first trip there so it will always be a special place for us."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
19 of 20
"My post-surf clothes are usually my own T dresses with long sleeves. It's just so easy to pull them on over my bikini! I almost always have one at the bottom of my bag—they fold up to the size of an envelope."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
20 of 20
"Makeup-wise, right now I am so into a peachy cheek and a nude glossy lip with sixties style playboy eyeliner (only on the top lid). And I love messy tousled hair."

Photographed by Maia Harms.
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