Beach Babes

       High walls and feminine forms define this surf-side dining room.
       California designer Lisa Slayman primed a canvas for her art collector clients’ Laguna Beach home. She dressed the dining room with a neutral wash, creating “a clean and refined look that would not compete with the art.”
       Slayman’s concept involved low-voltage track lighting, creamy walls, and subtle touches of color on fabrics that show off her clients’ modern New York art as well as their furnishings. She chose to keep the ceilings free off moldings, heightening the walls to gallery dimensions. Then Slayman stood back and let the art speak for itself.
       After years of admiring painter Jennifer Bartlett play with expectation, illusion, and reality on canvas, Slayman’s clients waited to buy one of her pieces until they had the perfect space. They bought the oil Woman Floating (1997) at an L.A. showing and hung it across the room from a beach-view window. “Our home is on the ocean and the painting has the appeal of water,” says the client.
       Equally reflective of the home, Lara with Glass (1997), oil-on-canvas by David Salle, mirrors the simplicity and brightness of the interior with subdued black, white, and yellow. “While his other paintings tend to be more abstract, this one is of a real person and that’s what made it attractive to us,” says the client.
       The bronze Woman on White Wicker Chair (1984) by George Segal serves as the room’s focal point. When the clients commissioned Segal to create the sculpture, they wanted the true-to-life appeal of bronze but with an enduring coat of plaster. Left untreated, bronze has a tendency to wear, explains Slayman.
       By letting impressions of the female form add color and mood to the dining room, Slayman gave the space life. “We collect art on an emotional basis, not intellectual. We like how it makes us feel,&148; says the client.