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My Favorite Room: Fashion designer David Meister’s packed den gets an exemption from minimalism

Minimalism reigns in fashion designer David Meister’s Los Angeles home, with the exception of his dark and cloistered den — “the one place filled with stuff.”

The intimate space barely holds the coffee table and sectional couch, but manages a built-in shelf teeming with books — Jackie Collins is a guilty pleasure — as well as quirky tchotchkes from around the world and a 150-year-old grape-embellished vase inherited from his grandmother at his wedding to producer Alan Siegel.

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“It's so not our traditional style, but you gotta have stuff around that means something, too. Anything can be replaced, memories can't,” said Meister, whose celebrity clientele includes Tina Fey, Jane Fonda and Sofia Vergara.

Sentimentality even allows for one fashion faux pas: the beige cashmere throw draped across the couch, a favorite of his 8-year-old Havanese dog, Petey.

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“We've had it since he was a puppy and I will never get rid of this because he chewed holes in it,” said Meister, 56. “I'm not going to throw this in my living room, but nobody's taking it out of my den.”

Tucked on the second floor of the 2,600-square-foot house, the den offers expansive views of West L.A., and even the ocean on a clear day. As for the chocolate-brown walls, Meister stands by his bold paint choice.

“Most people think if a room is small and you paint it darker it's going to seem smaller,” he said, “but I wanted it to be cozy and feel enveloped. We live in here when we're home.”

Describe a perfect moment in the den.

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We'll come up with a drink, usually a martini. It's really dim, the view's great and Petey’s here just hanging out. We might watch TV or chow down on our new favorite, Halo Top, that fake ice cream that's so good. You can eat the whole thing and have no guilt!

Does your taste vary when it comes to fashion and interior design?

I love color in a home, but I think when you work with it every day of your life, you want it calm and neutral. I love the idea of a red dining room, but am I ever going to have one? No, I'd kill myself. For my daily living, I want soft, plush and very Zen.

Tell me about the interesting tchotchkes on your shelf.

Everything there is something we've gotten on vacation. The cashmere monkey is from China, the furry protection deity is from Bulgaria, the boomerang from Australia, the little rabbi is from Israel and Petey's sombrero is from Mexico.

What about the book collection?

We have so many books that aren't even up here! There are fashion books, interior design books, biographies. And Alan is very into reading about World War II and the Holocaust — he's like an encyclopedia on that. I like my trash, too — you know, Jackie Collins.

Is there a story behind the red painting?

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This is by a contemporary Italian artist. We bought it about 23 years ago — we've been together 25 — and had just started buying art together. We have pretty similar taste and loved the way the red pops in your face. Red is one of my favorite colors because it's strong, especially with neutrals, and everything else is so understated.

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