For the longest time, Erica Pelosini Leeman, the pint-sized style star known for her eclectic fashion mix, always thought of herself as a New Yorker—dressed to the nines, wearing statement heels, riding downtown in a yellow taxi, and strutting about Fifth Avenue with an effortless urban attitude.
This all changed in 2014, when she walked into the pristine surroundings of Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, where The Last Sitting’s famous set and Marilyn Monroe’s beauty were immortalised by photographer Bert Stern for Vogue in 1962. After a six-month stay here, the allure of LA had become undeniable, and Erica realised that she wanted to call LA home. Perhaps, the modern-day Hotel Bel-Air helped sell the California dream with its pink stucco façade, glistening swan lake, the Wolfgang Puck restaurant, and sensuous interiors restored by Alexandra Champalimaud. “The synergy between the arts and film industry here is so infectious,” Erica muses. “Spending my childhood between the historical centre of Florence and the Italian countryside, I have a penchant for the big city life, while still being close to the sea.”
And so they did. Upon entering, the designer furniture in the living room takes centre stage, as if it were taken straight out of an iconic textbook on modern chairs for the design enthusiast. A pair of Florence Knoll sofas in light muted grey floral motifs exude understated luxury, while a white Barcelona pouf, also produced by Knoll, encapsulates Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most famous aphorism: “less is more”, which succinctly describes the couple’s home. “The best thing about Los Angeles is the eternal sunshine,” Erica enthuses about the morning glow streaming through the extensive floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the living room and kitchen. These very windows open up to a little pool patio, which Erica calls “a little piece of Italy”. Here, she has lemon and olive trees all lined up, as well as the sweet scent of lavender and rosemary wafting through the air, amid the breathtaking view of the hills—all of which are subtle nods to her Tuscan roots.