When advising the millions of listeners of her sex and relationship podcast Call Her Daddy, Alex Cooper never recommends overlooking incompatibility. But when Cooper’s partner in life and work, film producer Matt Kaplan, came across a home that required keeping an open mind, her stances on first impressions, gut instincts, and compatibility had to be reconsidered.
The house in question, a 1930s Colonial Revival ranch, had undergone several renovations, most recently one with an industrial meets glam aesthetic that was accented by faux brick, vinyl tufting, and other synthetic materials. Cooper was ready to swipe left, but Kaplan saw the potential: Despite being minutes from downtown LA, the home was secluded, on meadowy acreage, with panoramic views of nature reminiscent of Cooper’s Pennsylvania upbringing.
“I was a little overwhelmed by how much of an undertaking it would be, because [the home] was not our style whatsoever,” says Cooper. Though she may be a novice when it comes to design renovations, the podcaster’s career trajectory has had its own share of reconstruction. Since launching Call Her Daddy in 2018, the show has grown to encompass a holistic perspective on mental health and relationships, with guests ranging from industry experts to A-listers like John Mayer, Miley Cyrus, and John Legend. Just as transformation has meant greater success for Call Her Daddy (it now ranks as the top podcast for women on Spotify), the home’s necessary overhaul had a silver lining. “That ended up being the beauty [of it],” says Cooper. “It was so far from our taste that it allowed us to tailor every single room to our liking.”
To lead the renovation process, the couple hired Lindsay Balton of Balton Design, whose refined yet livable California style resonated with their vision of “a homey take on a wellness retreat, something calm, inviting, and most importantly, comfortable,” explains Cooper. “[Our] lives are so crazy with work, so home is our sanctuary.” And of course, nothing could be off-limits for the family dogs, Henry and Bruce.
Balton began by taking a closer look at how the property interacted with its surroundings. “We spent a lot of time puncturing holes all over the walls,” she says of the expansive window additions that brighten the entryway, kitchen, living room, and bar and highlight the verdant grounds beyond. The dark, industrial materials were stripped away and replaced with earthy materials like limestone, aged oak, and patinated metals for a more approachable, enduring feel. A neutral palette balances the lush landscape outdoors, while richly tactile fabrics and a sprinkling of antique pieces throughout help soften the interiors. “While the lines of everything are quite clean, the materials have life in them, which helps keep everything more grounded,” says Balton. “No room is too precious to actually spend time in.”
And that they do. A homebody at heart, Cooper has gladly grown into the role of host. “Sitting around a table with a good meal and conversing with our friends is the epitome of coziness for me,” she says. Of course, the quiet moments reserved just for the couple are cherished too. Like an evening this past spring when Kaplan got down on one knee under a wisteria-covered arbor in the backyard after sending Cooper on a home scavenger hunt of special moments from throughout their relationship. “To go through each room, seeing the life and the work we’ve built together and the love that we’ve poured into the home, to then lead down to the backyard covered in candles…. It was magical,” Cooper recalls.