The Hollywood Roosevelt’s Penthouses Enter a New Era

Interior designer Kevin Klein lends his refined touch to restoring some of the entertainment capital’s most coveted stays, uncovering some surprises along the way.

Kevin Klein anticipated a history lesson when he agreed to refresh two penthouse suites and an extended-stay apartment in the storied Hollywood Roosevelt, the city’s oldest continuously operating hotel and a designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. Dating back nearly a century to the Golden Age when glitz and glamour reigned, the property has played host to a motley crew of American film icons through the ages, chief among them Clark Gable and Carole Lombard whose names grace the penthouses. Klein, an Angeleno-born interior designer best known for lending an authentic, eagle-eyed touch to sumptuous residences and boutique hotels across California, approached the job cautiously, fully aware that he’d be excavating Tinseltown lore and envisioning decadent new digs for the next generation of industry bigwigs, A-listers, and event planners.

“The biggest challenge is building back new, but doing so in a way that doesn’t feel new,” Klein told Surface. “We wanted to make sure that when you walked into either penthouse, you felt as though the spaces had been there for decades.” He achieved that by selecting an eclectic mix of furniture and décor from 25 countries—ranging from a 19th-century side table from the Spanish coast to a 1930s Italian vanity mirror—that forge a convivial feel, not unlike a family member’s cherished abode. “We layered in vintage furniture pieces that inherently have a life to them and help give the suites a lived-in quality,” he says. Ditto for the rich material mix that he employed throughout—rich Italian marble, dark stained walnut, oak panels, and warm plasters.

Perhaps best striking that lived-in tone is the penthouse’s sunken living room, Klein’s favorite moment. “It’s obvious these suites will be used for entertaining and parties, so we opted to lean into it,” he says. Perched beneath a soaring 20-foot-tall vaulted ceiling and equipped with a state-of-the-art entertainment system, it faces a retractable 18th-century French tapestry that conceals a theater screen. Speaking of concealed, Klein’s renovation uncovered a lavish ceiling mural that even eluded the hotel owners. “We were ripping apart some existing ceiling drywall over our dining room and came across an ornate, colored mural that was half-complete,” says Klein, who estimates the hand-painted piece dates back six decades. Rather than finagling a restoration, he left the mural as is and “embraced the charm of something truly authentic.” 

All photography by Adrian Gaut.

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