Amber Lewis Conjures Up a Family’s California Dream House

When Arvind and Swetha Movva decided to relocate their family of six from Chicago to Southern California in 2019, the couple fell in love with the bucolic views and lush grounds of a new-construction home in Hidden Hills. There was just one catch: “It looked like every other high-end home built in the past few years—generic and lifeless,” Arvind explains of the stark black-and-white interiors. Craving timeless, patinated finishes, the pair turned to Los Angeles–based interior designer Amber Lewis, who imbued the house with her signature style while retaining the original structure. “Her designs felt fresh but classic,” Arvind says. “We really love her thoughtful use of antique pieces that add so much depth.”

Over the course of the three-year project, the home has taken on a new identity. “There were rumors [swirling] about ‘the crazy people who bought a brand new house and tore it apart,’ especially given the density of celebrities in the neighborhood,” Arvind remembers with a laugh. Lewis, who is always up for a challenge, admits, “There was nothing wrong with the home before, it just wasn’t what the clients wanted.”

The entrance hall—previously an austere space with white walls, soaring ceilings, and glass partitions—is a prime example of the transformation Lewis and the Movvas were after. Today, hand-hewn beams, plaster-finished walls, and 12-inch-high base moldings lend texture and a sense of scale. These updates, coupled with a custom glass and brass-chain chandelier by Lindsey Adelman and layered vintage rugs, set the tone for a home that’s a delightful hybrid of California cool and classic European design.

The reimagined living, family, and screening rooms, plus a dedicated playroom allow the Moovas, including Arvind and Swetha’s teen and tween children, to spread out. To keep the main gathering areas inviting and relaxed, Lewis employed a mix of custom upholstery, vintage furnishings, and antiques. For the playroom (formerly a full-service glam room), Lewis reconfigured the layout around antique glass-paneled French château doors. Through the doors, there are desks for homework, deep sofas covered in kid-friendly fabric for gaming and lounging, and a bunk room that any kid would envy. “Every surface, seating area, and open space has an intentionality to it,” Arvind reflects. “Among the six of us every room gets used!” Lewis adds, “It was important to me to create a number of areas with distinct purposes, so they wouldn’t constantly be in each other’s space.”

In the dining room, glass doors clipped in Euroline steel (a change Lewis made to all of the windows) fold away for indoor/outdoor entertaining. Inside, the designer furnished the room with a table that comfortably seats 12—a must-have for Swetha, who loves to host. In fact, Swetha’s favorite aspect of the whole home is in the dining room: It’s “the mural by James Mobley that was done over the Italian plaster with trees and birds picked by our four children.” The family also dines in the breakfast room, complete with a library and leather banquette seating.

Perhaps the most dramatic change occurred in the kitchen, where Lewis installed a coved ceiling clad in handmade Moroccan Zellige tile and hand-scraped oak cabinetry, stained a rich brown. At the hub is a single large island—half marble, half butcher block—which replaced the two smaller islands of the original floorplan. Vintage touches, like the chicken-wire glass that encases the cabinetry or the vintage bronze pendant fixtures sourced in France, solidify the kitchen’s old-world charm.

Lewis’s own favorite part of the project, the primary suite, is a testament to tranquil luxury. A sitting room with wood-paneled walls and burnt orange accents leads to the bedroom, which is swathed in neutral tones. The primary bath radiates warmth and style, courtesy of double showers with custom brass doors, fluted glass ,and two marble-topped vanities with tons of built-in storage.

Overall, the result is a California residence that showcases a phenomenal metamorphosis inextricably tied to the owners’ vision. Whether it’s the coalescence of the old and new in the kitchen or the tranquility of the primary suite, thanks to Lewis, the Movva home is now a space where function and aesthetic are beautifully intertwined.

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