Take a tour of his sleek midcentury house
An Angeleno with a Hollywood pedigree, lensman Davis Factor grew up with dueling influences—the grit of skateboarding with the Dogtown kids in the ’70s, and the gloss of his family’s illustrious legacy (his great-grandfather was iconic makeup artist Max Factor). His love for athletic pursuits led him to ski, and to photograph the U.S. Ski Team. “I’ve always had a camera with me,” says the garrulous, 6-foot-tall Factor, whose uniform du jour consists of a black T-shirt, jeans, Ray-Ban Wayfarers and a pair of Nikes. Such youthful poise led him to his current career: shooting celebrities for publications including Variety and L’Uomo Vogue, and producing ad campaigns for the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Guess and Pepsi, often at his hip photographic hub, Smashbox Studios in Culver City.
Seven years ago, Factor embarked on a major renovation of his low-slung 1959 residence, set along the Mulholland Corridor, with a clear vision: “I wanted it to feel like the coolest hotel, but still warm and inviting like a home.” It also needed to house his photo studio and entertainment center, and serve as a personal retreat.
He tapped architect Christopher Mercier of (fer) studio in Inglewood for a seamless addition: roughly 3,000 square feet of interior space, including a master suite and spacious living room and bar, as well as a 2,600-square-foot deck-patio-pool area, among other new exterior spaces. Taking his cue from the original midcentury post-and-beam structure, Mercier used exposed steel in-filled with glass windows and sliders to capitalize on the 180-degree view of the San Fernando Valley.
“I was involved in everything from the foundation to selecting pillowcases,” says Factor, who views the house as an art project. Indeed, the home’s subtle gray-scale palette is reminiscent of one of his black-and-white photographs. Interior designer Sarah Buxton helped to source the modern-classic furnishings, such as Hudson’s Grid coffee table and a seductively comfortable Flexform sofa.
An avid surfer, Factor stores 12 boards in a walk-in closet aptly referred to as “The Board Room.” (He keeps his ski collection at a vacation home in Snowbird, Utah.) Being the senior vice president and creative director for Smashbox Cosmetics—a line he developed with his brother Dean and sold to Estée Lauder in 2010—keeps him traveling four months out of the year. A new gym added to the original house finds Factor cross-training, boxing and practicing yoga five times a week “to get ready for my day,” he says. The room’s white walls and high ceiling double as a home photo studio. Ditto the nature path designed by architect Victoria Pakshong, which leads from the gym up the hillside—a perfect venue for alfresco workouts, or shooting a music video for the likes of Indio Falconer Downey.
When the doors are wide open, the sleek California home resonates an indoor-outdoor vibe day and night. A launch party for new Smashbox lipstick shades by sisters Erin and Sara Foster found guests inside and out: curled up on the sofa by the fireplace, standing by the pool mesmerized by valley lights. “No one was on their phone the whole night, and no one wanted to leave,” says Factor. Luckily for him, he doesn’t have to.
Photography by SAM FROST.
Written by BARBARA THORNBURG.