A recent renovation allowed actress Christina Chang to transform her West Hollywood living room from a toddler’s play-den to a sophisticated communal space — one that celebrates her diverse family heritage.
The living room of the 1,204-square-foot 1926 Spanish cottage had been catering to the needs and safety of Chang’s daughter, ending up a hodgepodge of toys, games, crafts and primarily dark furniture, with an area left open for crawling. Now that her daughter is older, the space finally matured, too.
“All of a sudden we didn’t need to worry about her bumping her head, and she didn’t need a whole laneway for crawling, so I just upgraded the room we love to spend so much time in,” said Chang, 48, who stars in ABC’s “The Good Doctor.”
She worked with interior designer Rosa Beltran to “really hone and refine” her taste, turning to Beltran’s flagship store on Melrose, Clad Home, for custom pieces. Among those is a seafoam green performance-velvet couch, where “liquids and stuff slip right off,” said Chang, a native of Taipei, Taiwan.
Yesteryear’s toddler runway now showcases a rectangular wood coffee table from Restoration Hardware and two lightweight woven Malawi chairs to maintain a breathable space. New elegant gold-leaf etageres border a dark vintage cabinet embellished with dragons from Taiwan, now inconspicuously filled with her daughter’s toys. It’s one of many vintage pieces commingling in the room’s global design, a nod to Chang’s ancestry from China, the Philippines and the U.S.
“Christina asked me to help translate the style of all of the beautiful Asian antiques into a broader and more updated design style that felt less theme-y — still classic, but fresher,” Beltran said.
Among Chang’s heirlooms is a wood altar table and a tall, ornate wooden cabinet from Macao, an antique European kaleidoscope that her daughter fancies, an “old, old” barber stool from Hong Kong, which features a coin slot for payment and a drawer for scissors, and two ‘90s Judith Mackey paintings of the Kansas landscape (where her mother is from).
Why is your living room your favorite room?
It’s where we congregate as a family. When there aren’t pretty things on the coffee table, there are board games — my daughter is learning how to play chess and we play Clue and cards. That’s why I wanted a larger surface for the coffee table. We will chill by the fire and nap in here and watch movies and shows.
How was working with Rosa Beltran Design?
She absolutely guided me in this. Rosa and I met because our kids went to the same preschool and I frequented her store after I found out she was a designer. Then I found out that she custom-made sofas. She really helped me define what I like and helped to redefine the space. She pushed me to purchase things I didn’t necessarily feel confident about and then all of a sudden you realize, “Huh, this space is so much better for it.”
What’s your favorite time of day in the living room?
Afternoon until dusk, because of the way the light comes in. We get the strongest around 4 or 5 p.m. It’s really nice and starts a little bit brighter, then it gets sort of amber and warms the space up. Then I’ll have a glass of wine and sit.
Do you have a favorite memory in here?
I labored in this living room for a very long time. I ended up having to go to the hospital, but the idea was to labor with the doula as long as possible because Cedars-Sinai is so close. I also told my husband that I was pregnant on the old couch in here, and because our baby was the size of a grain of rice, I put a grain of rice in the box to tell him. It all kind of centers around my daughter and her evolution. Now she can say, “Mommy almost gave birth to me in this room and this is where we play games and we get the games out of Nana’s cabinet.”