A Rock Drummer With an Eye for Modernism Tunes Up a Los Angeles Midcentury

Matt Helders of the Arctic Monkeys has a penchant for throwback film and design; interior designer Corinne Mathern used it to revive an L.A. classic.
Photos by

Originally designed in 1952 by Schwen Wei Ma for Chinatown cofounder Peter Soo Hoo, this midcentury gem had gone untouched save for a few changes in 1965. More recently, it was purchased by Arctic Monkeys drummer and avid photographer Matt Helders, who wanted to update the 2,680-square-foot home for himself and his daughter. So he tapped interior designer Corinne Mathern to bring back its soul while inserting contemporary amenities and finishes.

"The house had so many great details that guided the design," says Corinne Mathern, founder of her namesake studio. "Repurposing some of the original architectural details guided us in keeping the home’s character intact."

This design approach dovetailed with, and was in part guided by, Matt’s own visual references: the works of modernist icons across film and design like Jacques Tati, Jean Prouvé, and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Brass and chrome light fixtures were removed, replated, and mixed with various vintage ones sourced by the Mathern’s team. The double hung windows were refinished, and new ones were fabricated to match them. The original walnut millwork in the office and entry was pulled, refinished, and rehomed.

Chrome metals and honed concrete provide a foundation for the masculine, industrial material palette found throughout. Handmade tiles by Heath Ceramics, walnut accents, and a mix of vintage and custom furniture pieces add layers of warmth to the "collected and thoughtful" interior.

Inspired by Jacques Tati’s 1958 film, Mon Oncle, the Mondrian-esque color palette of the furnishings and fixtures adds bold hues to the otherwise neutral foundation. Standout moments include a Prouvé-inspired dining table with yellow, powder-coated metal legs and a coffee table turned sculptural centerpiece covered in rust-colored tiles. A bar adjacent to Matt’s music studio is a nod to his English roots; the bold blue color references his hometown soccer team, Sheffield Wednesday.

Matt’s love for photography led to another key inspiration: "The filtering of light in William Eggleston’s photos was referenced constantly when reviewing colors and potential materials," explains Corinne. "The materials and colors were all chosen to have a chalky, smoky filter on them so they felt muted and like they could have been part of the house in 1952."

Save

Get the Renovations Newsletter

From warehouse conversions to rehabbed midcentury gems, to expert advice and budget breakdowns, the renovation newsletter serves up the inspiration you need to tackle your next project.

Saving