What happens when you bring together the styles of a restaurateur and a printmaking mogul? In this case, perfection.
Erin and Hilary Condren’s home offers an inviting place for neighbors and friends—equal part family sanctuary and party central. They’ve effortlessly combined the exquisitely tasteful with casual comfort to create a place that makes you feel you’ve always belonged there … yet you still want to hunt for treasures in the next room. It’s a home they proudly achieved through a relentless work ethic, and they share it graciously with others.
Although Hilary and Erin both attended UCLA, the two met in the bar Hilary owned in the South Bay after they both graduated. Hilary always had a passion for food and would go on to own The Bottle Inn and Martha’s in Hermosa. What started as a friendship in the bar that night blossomed into love, and they recently celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary.
At the time, Erin was a fashionista. She was in the midst of creating a promising collection for Michael Stars when she became pregnant with twins, Kate and Finn. They were 5 weeks old when the September 11 attack happened, and everything changed. Erin had to fold the fashion line she had been working on so passionately. The young parents were also contending with two premature babies and the pressure of needing two incomes.
As a distraction, Erin designed her own birth announcement and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Her family holiday card had the same effect, and friends began asking her to design theirs as well. She started putting her website on the back of the cards. From that humble start, a printmaking behemoth was born.
The beginning was incredibly difficult. Hilary would attend Mommy and Me classes and then go to work at night at the restaurants. When he came home, Erin would run off to Kinko’s to print all of her stuff. They worked hard and hustled every day.
In 2007 Erin partnered with Al Marco, who is still her business partner, friend and coach. Al helped her streamline and increase productivity. A mention on Daily Candy quickly turned into exposure on Ellen Degeneres’ “12 Days of Christmas” giveaways, and the business soared.
Despite all the success, the Condrens have always centered their lives around home and family. They have their own biological twins and adopted identical twin boys Josh Wood and Chris Wood (all 18), who have been with them for the past two years.
Josh and Chris’ father passed away when they were young, and when their mother suddenly died during the boys’ freshman year, the Condrens didn’t hesitate to step up. “It was just meant to be,” shares Erin. “They are incredible boys. What I thought was a wonderful family situation before has become even more amazing.”
The family is active and social, so the house was intentionally built for entertaining—with many beautiful spaces to commune around the property. The outdoor porch is visible to the street, and the whole neighborhood is usually invited in. Erin says, “We have the most fantastic neighbors; we are like family.”
The layout is open and centered around the penny-tiled pool, which was Hilary’s vision. John Starr of Starr Design helped maximize natural light through his plans, and Mark Anello of Mark Anello Construction built the house. John and Mark are also neighbors of the Condrens.
The kitchen was designed by Hilary in the caliber of one of his restaurants. As he loves to cook, it features plenty of cooking surfaces, multiple ovens, and hot and cold storage areas. The kitchen is a huge part of the front living space, which Erin has coined “the entertaining hub” and also where Erin and Hilary tend to hang out. The circular table surrounded by deep teal velvet benches helps anchor the open-plan living space and can accommodate up to 20 people—a regular occurrence in their house.
Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone of Consort Home in West Hollywood helped design the house with Erin. It displays bold elements of masculinity in the dark metals and leather accents, which marry perfectly with Erin’s love for color and playfulness. The home is clean and layered with rich colors and textures.
Anna Warmoth from Bananas & Hammocks did the metalwork throughout the house including the gold shelves and the black metal surrounding the breakfast nook. She is well-known for her design work at the popular restaurant Gjelina in Venice.
Most of the art throughout the house has been carefully selected by Erin’s keen and discerning eye. Much of the photography is by her talented sister-in-law Carol Reach, who specializes in abstract and ocean landscapes. The hallway walls leading to the back of the house are painted a dramatic black Venetian plaster (purposely hiding hundreds of handprints from the kids and their friends jumping up and slapping the ceilings every time they pass through), but it works beautifully as a backdrop for the art too.
A 1970s beach lifestyle photograph by Al Satterfield inspired the kids’ game room. On the wall hangs a blurred photographic image of their beach hangout, 24th Street along Hermosa Beach, by local artist and good friend Brent Broza printed on wallpaper. The other walls are covered in cork wallpaper, adding to the retro feel. The game room opens to a fully kitted-out gym designed by Hilary.
The idea of the sunken couch in the living room area was also Hilary’s. The family loves to sit there on Friday nights. All the kids can plug their phones into the hidden chargers below the seats and just hang. The built-in shelving artfully displays colorful books that Erin’s friends gave her for her birthday. The charred wall above the fireplace anchors the space and gives the room a cozy feel.
The walls in Hilary and Erin’s bedroom are covered in a turquoise grass cloth, giving the space a serene feel. Their bathroom is a clean, quiet area with contrasting dark metal doors around the shower. One of Erin’s beloved art pieces is a rare black-and-white photograph of a disheveled Audrey Hepburn, which she centered above her bathtub.
The kids’ bedrooms fork off from a communal office space, graphic and bold featuring wallpaper designed by Erin. Beautiful pendant lights from Lightopia fill the void above and add a sense of playfulness throughout their home. Each of the four teenagers has their own room, suited to their own unique taste.
For example, Kate’s wall is completely covered and layered with her own photographs taken from her phone. Although Kate has always wanted a cat, the family dogs wouldn’t have it. So Erin surprised her with a massive wallpapered cat in her room—another example of Erin’s ingenuity and playfulness. They have also built a loft in her room where she can go to escape, create and paint.
Just when I thought I was at the end of the home tour, Erin opened the doors from the office to a breathtaking backyard. The garden is set up in tiers on the hillside with options to play bocce ball or cornhole. The first tier is complete with a kitchen, pizza oven and bar adorned in bold black-and-white Italian tiles to match the pool. There are four fire pits in different hangout areas and a beautiful Zen garden overlooking it all.
Another creative surprise is a hidden birdhouse that contains a projector for screening movies in the backyard. Erin calls it “hangout central.”
In this digital age, the irony that one of their businesses was built on making paper prints is not lost on Erin and Hilary. But that, along with Hilary’s successes, has afforded them the chance to create their dream home. That home, like their family, is a refuge from the hustle and is a place of compassion. From a humble start, the Condrens have truly built a palace made from paper.
As Palos Verdes’ most influential family celebrates a milestone centennial in the South Bay, we look back at the man whose passion and dedication transformed the Peninsula as we know it … and the descendants who keep his legacy alive.