Architectural Digest: Step Inside Maria Sharapova’s Sun-Drenched L.A. Home
By Mayer Rus
Photography by Douglas Friedman
Styled by Lawren Howell
Every square inch of Maria Sharapova’s dreamy Los Angeles home is a testament to the tennis great’s style, spirit, and focus
Talk to anyone who worked with Maria Sharapova on the design, construction, and decoration of her discreetly ravishing home in Los Angeles and their responses invariably follow the same themes: that the tennis star maintained a resolute vision of how she wanted the residence to feel and function from the earliest phases of the project; that she was one of the most intellectually curious and committed clients they’ve ever encountered; and that her style and spirit—as a supremely confident athlete, aesthete, and businesswoman—animate every inch of the property. In short, Maria Sharapova is a boss.
“I was obsessed with the process of making this home. I’d jump off a plane from a tournament and go straight to the work site or to the architect’s office or to a kitchen manufacturer. This was my project, and I wasn’t going to delegate any part of it,” insists the Russian-born phenom.
Sharapova, wearing a Chloé dress, in the dining room. George Nakashima chairs; Billy Cotton chandelier; Chris Gwaltney painting. Flowers throughout by Joseph Free.
The home’s entry features a mix of unpretentious materials: poured concrete walls, floating bleached-oak stairs, and a travertine floor.
As with many sports celebrities who have been in the public eye since they were children, it’s easy to forget just how young Sharapova really is. Now 32, the statuesque player first attained the world number-one ranking in women’s tennis at the age of 18. She is one of only 10 athletes in the history of the women’s game to achieve a career Grand Slam, winning all four majors. Off the court, Sharapova has flexed her business muscles through a broad array of endorsements and sponsorships, the creation of her signature apparel line for Nike, the launch of Sugarpova, her premium candy–and–chocolate company, and other ventures. At present, she is developing sports and training venues keyed to principles of holistic health and wellness.
“Maria’s work ethic is astonishing. She’s competitive as hell, in the best possible way, and she was involved in every single aspect of this house, down to the most minute detail and material permutation,” says architect Grant Kirkpatrick of KAA Design, who oversaw the project in tandem with his partner, Duan Tran. “To say that she simply collaborated with us does not adequately describe her dedication and influence on the design,” he adds.
A Boffi tub sits atop black pebbles in the master bath. Sinks and fittings by Boffi; Jean Touret oak tripod stool; rug from Lawrence of La Brea.
The three-story house is located on a sloping site with expansive ocean views from Palos Verdes to Malibu, with Catalina Island hovering in the distance—a dazzling panorama that unfolds with particular drama from Sharapova’s sun-kissed bedroom and bath. A luminous double-height entry gallery, defined by walls of sleek, panel-formed concrete and punctuated with a stair and bridge, opens out to an expansive pool and alfresco entertaining area. The central volume is flanked by two wings—one for the open living/dining/kitchen sweep on the ground floor and the master suite above, and the other allocated to guest quarters, with bedrooms on the lower level and a well-appointed suite on the upper. There’s also a kick-back basement lounge with a bowling alley.
“I was inspired by Japanese architecture and minimalist aesthetics,” Sharapova says of the spare, elegant design and decor. “I didn’t grow up with lots of stuff around. For me, uncluttered means healthy. If you don’t use something, you don’t need it.”
For all its lean beauty, however, the home has no shortage of warmth, soul, and delight. Architectural details of bleached oak, cedar, and silver travertine provide a rich material counterpoint to the wide expanses of concrete and glass. A sculptural wood screen—which penetrates the façade as it undulates between outdoors and in—throws an organic curve into the largely rectilinear composition, modulating the influx of sunlight and providing privacy from the street. Even the positioning of the pool is calculated as a giddy surprise. When the sliding doors of the living/dining area are pulled away, one can simply turn around from the dining table or sofa and hop right into the water.
Vintage Italian armchairs face Dmitriy & Co. sofas in the living room. On sofas, Pat McGann pillows; Courtney Applebaum Design cocktail table; bleached jute rug.
Sharapova’s dog, Dolce, outside the dining room. Billy Cotton chandelier.
In the master bedroom, artworks by (left to right) Vuk Vidor, Wang Ningde, and CJ Hendry are displayed above a bench by Courtney Applebaum Design.
Sharapova in a Basslike sweater and pants.
A Japanese pine stands sentry in the entry garden.
Paintings by Chris Gwaltney hang in the bowling alley.
The guest room doubles as an office. Carlo Mollino armchair; Pierre Jeannette easy chair; antique rug.
An artwork by Joe Goode hangs above a Dos Gallos console table. Gareth Devonald Smith chandelier; antique French chair.
An African daybed on an upstairs landing.
In the backyard, a walnut deck borders the pool. Willy Guhl chair and table; custom upholstered lounges.
Sliding glass doors from several rooms open onto the pool.
BDDW chairs surround a walnut-topped island in the kitchen.
“We conceived the pool, garden, and great room as one large indoor/outdoor space. The pool becomes the center of everything,” Kirkpatrick explains.
When the time came to furnish the house, Sharapova turned to interior designer Courtney Applebaum, who curated a mix of rough-hewn antiques from Asia, Africa, and Europe, all set against a strategic array of refined midcentury classics. “The texture and patina of the furniture create a bit of tension with the crisp, new architecture,” Applebaum says. “Maria is super-perceptive and detail-oriented. There’s not a chair or table that came into the house that she didn’t analyze, dissect, and discuss. She pays attention to every stitch and groove.”
Sharapova’s designers all seem to echo the idea that their savvy, sophisticated client pushed them beyond their traditional comfort zone to conjure a truly one-of-a-kind home that radiates the creativity and confidence of the tennis star herself. “I kept telling everyone that I want this to be the best house they’ve ever done. I tried to push their vision because I believe in all of them and want to see them shine,” she says. “I’ve traveled all over the world and enjoyed lots of incredible spaces. But my home is my absolute favorite. I think that’s the way it should be.”