A Spanish-Style Home For Entrepreneurs in Hollywood

by Sabrina Smelko

Holly Liss and Max Michaels may have grown up a stone’s throw from each other in Encino, CA, but they only began dating when they were over 2,000 miles apart, when Holly was in New York and Max was in San Francisco. After a few years of Big Apple-living together, they eventually found their way back to their home-state in search of more space — and a yard for their French Bulldog, Chester, to play in. “You know, you always dream of gardening or summer BBQing in a backyard with friends, especially after those rough East Coast winters,” Holly shares. After seeing over 25 places, they landed on this Spanish-style gem in West Hollywood.

With large rooms, high ceilings and plenty of original charm, the couple’s home is filled with an eclectic mix of what Holly likes to refer to as “investment pieces: things we can’t throw out that have sentimental value; fun found objects; family heirlooms; and rad vintage pieces from the various cities we’ve lived in.” Just as they were pleasantly surprised to discover some of the unexpected quirks the home offers (such as the round fireplace in their living room and the many inset wall nooks), so too did they not anticipate the drastic shift in their career paths. Having previously worked a mixed-bag of jobs, within two years of moving to LA, both Holly and Max started their own businesses from home: Holly launched ENLISST, a digital creative consultancy that specializes in social media marketing, and Max co-founded the record label Quality Time Recordings.

With their careers more established and their roots firmly planted, the process of decorating their space was an enjoyable and cathartic one. After living in rentals for years, Holly was thrilled to finally invest in the more permanent fixtures that she had previously never been able to justify, such as updating lighting, hanging their good art, and purchasing those more room-specific pieces she had never splurged on before. In combination with the addition of some West-Coast touches, namely plenty of plants and shag rugs, the couple’s abode is airy and boasts pops of color in just the right spots, a vibe which also extends into their zen backyard. “Our home is the nucleus to everything in our lives,” Holly explains, “Work, life, family, friends, love, joy, laughter — everything happens in this space.” All of these moments take place in a backdrop that’s fittingly, “fun, warm and welcoming with a hint of cool.” –Sabrina

Interior photography by Holly Liss. Portrait photography by Zachary Migdal

The rounded fireplace in the couple's living room brims with original California charm. The cement and pink vase was given to Holly after her grandmother Shirley passed. "I’m reminded of her strength, beauty, and zest of life every day I walk into the door," Holly shares. The green and blue statement vase in the fireplace nook is work created by LA-based artist, Peter Shire.
Max, Holly and Chester sitting in their living room, the couple's favorite space, thanks to its massive footprint and high ceilings.
A full view of their living room, which embodies the vibe and spirit of their entire home. At the heart of the room is this custom-made sofa passed down from Max's grandmother. "We couldn’t believe how perfectly it fit!" Holly says, "Also, it’s big enough where all three of us can sprawl out and nap."
The king of the castle, Chester, assuming his usual spot.
On a marble side table rests some bits and bobs they’ve collected over the years. The crystal ash tray is from Holly's grandmother and the zine was found in London. "'Being Fun!' is our anthem," Holly says.
Thanks to the high ceilings in the living room, the couple was able to invest in a big fiddle-leaf fig tree. "Bringing green into the home is always a good thing," Holly states.
The floor plan of their 1930s Spanish-style home.
Bright, open, modern and inviting, their dining room often becomes a space the couple hangs out in all night when they have friends over. When they moved their furniture to LA from NYC, these chairs took a beating, so Holly draped cozy, faux sheepskin rugs on them "to help brace the fall, just in case the legs snap," she jokes. "Kidding, not kidding. No furniture is safe when you move across the country."
"The Hayal Pozanti in our dining room was the first piece of real art we ever owned," Holly explains. "It has been with us since the Brooklyn days and the shapes and colors bring so much warmth, energy and cool-funk to our place."
Beyond the dining room you'll find their kitchen.
Often, Holly and Max roll this kitchen island into the dining room to aid in serving meals. "Having a kitchen island with drawers and wheels on it is super handy," Holly says. "We store it with all of our cooking essentials and also use it as a bar cart when we’re entertaining."
Their home is the ultimate gathering space for friends and family alike.
This is Holly and Max's shared office space. "Pinterest-work-in-progress," Holly laughs, "Both literally and figuratively."
"Ever since I moved back to LA, I’ve been attracted to pink," Holly says. "After years of only wearing black, white and grey a’la Helmut Lang, and this vintage chair from Tini caught my eye."
Max grew up with this chaise lounge in his childhood home and it now has a permanent place in their office. The white dresser is from CB2 and the rug is from West Elm.
"This 'Just Married' photograph in our office looks like it came with the frame, but it’s actually my grandma Shirley and grandpa Sidney – taken the day they got married in Los Angeles in the 1950s," Holly explains. "You can just feel the love between them." The stack of “The World’s Greatest Thinkers” books was given to Holly after her father passed. "He, too, ran his own business, and it's a daily reminder of his strong work ethic and drive."
In the bedroom, Holly and Max kept the colors cool and neutral, throwing in a touch of brass to give the space some richness. The duvet is from Matteo and the throw pillows are from West Elm and Eskayel.
The brass table lamp is from West Elm.
Their bathroom, and home to all of Holly's robes. "Robes are my power suit. I’ve got one for every season and occasion. This Missoni robe is currently in rotation."
On the shelves in their bathroom are Holly's fragrances, body oils and lotions.
Laid-back and ready for relaxing, the couple's backyard is made cozy with these hanging market lights, which they found at OSH Hardware.
Holly and Chester happily at ease!

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