The Grant living room is comfortably elegant. On either side of the fireplace hang paintings Glenda purchased on trips abroad. The cabinet at left houses figurines.
A house becomes a visual storyteller when infused with treasures from a time gone by
Written by Leslie Gregory Haukoos Photography by Richard Gillard & Michael Coons
It’s not unusual for friends visiting Glenda Grant’s Calabasas home to go missing for a while. But that’s not a cause for worry. Guests are usually just lingering in the powder room, studying Glenda’s antique purse collection. She has collected the purses, which hang on the walls and spill over into several other display cabinets, one at a time over many years. Many are beaded, others are mesh. Most of the mesh purses were produced by Whiting & Davis or Mandalian, two American companies started in the late 19th century.
Glenda is happy to tell the story of where she discovered each of the purses, whether during a particular trip abroad or on a shopping excursion closer to home. The purses make up just one of several collections on display, reflecting her distinct taste (“I should have been born in a different century,” she says) and turning this elegant house into a very personal home.
The retired television executive, previously president of Hearst Entertainment Productions, purchased the home 19 years ago with her late husband, Jim Potter. Together the pair made several changes to the house’s basic structure, including tearing down an exterior wall and adding what was outdoor patio space to the home’s grand entry. By introducing an archway leading into the family room, they opened up the most lived-in room in the house.
“That was my husband’s idea,” Glenda recalls, adding that he was good at visualizing the physical changes that would improve a space. Jim, a film editor early in his career, was senior VP of Worldwide Post Production at Tristar Pictures before he retired.
The family room is home to one of Glenda’s first collections, dog figurines, which she began to acquire in the 1970s. Antique pocket watches and Jim’s vintage miniature cars are also on display. Most of the cars are from the Franklin Mint though some are from the Danbury Mint. Antique mirrors add color and interest to what is a very warm, inviting room.
Glenda also opened up the stand-behind bar in the family room, lining the alcove with custom cabinetry, making it much more functional for entertaining.
Space was taken away from the laundry room to expand the butler’s pantry. A beveled glass door made to match the glass inset on the home’s entry door adds interest.
But the collections command the most attention in this home. Glenda’s antique perfume bottle collection is the first to enchant guests as they come inside. They are housed in a large lighted display cabinet in the entry. There are more bottles in a case in the upstairs hallway. There isn’t a spot in the home that doesn’t have something unique and beautiful to appreciate.
Glenda and her husband discovered a painting in a back storeroom of a gallery in the Cotswolds in England. “The Lacemaker,” painted by Joseph Bail (1862-1921), was stacked with many other pieces, gathering dust. They recognized the French painting’s special quality, had it reframed and shipped home. It now brings a touch of the Old World to an elegant living room. Flanking the living room fireplace is another evocative piece: “The Fisher Girl,” painted in the 1800s by British artist
William Joseph Carroll, was also purchased in England.
In the master bath, an antique English chocolate cabinet, discovered in L.A., holds tiny treasures, and an antique hair comb collection hangs on the master bedroom wall.
Glenda and her partner, Bill Cockrum, a professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management, have traveled extensively and are always on the lookout for special treasures. Bill treated Glenda to Italian pottery on a visit to Deruta, Italy and the pair brought home Ardmore ceramics from a trip to South Africa.
Though Glenda consulted with an interior designer early on for furnishings and fabrics, the house reflects her taste, she says. “I know exactly what I like and don’t like.” That explains why this special home has such an inviting and cohesive voice.
“I get enjoyment from the beauty and history of the pieces I’ve collected,” she says. “They remind me of wonderful trips and memories of special times in my life.”