Too Faced founder and beauty entrepreneur Jerrod Blandino currently helms Toy Box Brands, a company with the motto, ‘F*ck Average, Be Legendary.’ So, when Jerrod purchased a 1927 Bel-Air estate, he of course turned to legendary ELLE Decor A-List designer Mary McDonald to bring back the home’s far-from-average glamour. The result: livable (and covetable) luxury. Jerrod takes us inside his Bel-Air home, explains how his creative process translates from building beauty brands to creating a ‘more is more’ life, and shares his Chairish favorites.
How would you describe your personal aesthetic and your approach to design?
Classic, timeless elements mixed with fashionable, fun fabrics, textures and flair.
Tell us about working with Mary McDonald to design your home. How did you decide she was the perfect person for the project? What was your creative process like?
We’ve worked together before and have become great friends, so it was fun. I appreciate and respect her eye, experience, and taste. She completely gets us and gets that we are two men in the cosmetics industry living colorful lives, having fun, and bringing a bit of joy to the world. Mary brings a perfect mix of chic classic glamour with geometric patterns that combine with our colorful, fun, and playful side. That combination just turns into something pretty spectacular.
We often hear about how the worlds of fashion and interiors intersect, but we don’t hear about the parallels between interior design and the beauty world as often. How do you think they relate to each other, and does that appear in your approach to each?
Of course, because everything I do is based in color, texture and how things feel and look together. That absolutely comes into our home. It is a more colorful home than I would say a traditional one would be, but it’s all balanced like a face would be. The lipstick works with the blush, works with the eyeshadow, works with everything. You’ll see there is a vibe that goes throughout the house and there’s definitely an appreciation for color, texture like the way light bounces off a surface versus maybe juxtaposing that with something more matte, just like you would have a matte foundation with a glossy lip. It all works together to create something spectacular!
Where do your biggest visual inspirations come from? Are there any specific spaces or references that you wanted to incorporate in your home?
Our home was built in 1927, and was actually the very first lot ever offered up in Bel Air. The original owner was the attorney of Bel Air founder, Alphonso E. Bell. Instead of paying him, Bell offered up first dibs of any lot. It’s a very special property. I wanted to bring that history, that glamour of Hollywood’s golden era and mix it a modern, stylish aesthetic while appreciating and respecting the house’s bones and architecture. I think that we accomplished that.
What kinds of vintage and antique pieces draw your eye? How did you incorporate them into the design of your home?
Mary has really taught me that it is very important to have something that anchors and owns a room. Something with a personality and a soul. That could be a beautiful French black lacquered cabinet from the 1920s that looks absolutely amazing and spectacular next to a very modern mohair sofa. We really have some wonderful vintage pieces that look almost like they would have been there when the home was built juxtaposed with some modern, beautiful elements that bring it to today so it doesn’t look like you’re living in your grandmother’s house. There’s a beautiful tension.
Your home was obviously a passion project for years… but if you could have a dream home anywhere else, where would it be? Are there any other homes you’re thinking about next?
Yes, Jeremy and I have a fantasy about moving to London one day. It’s actually where I’m doing this interview as we speak! From the over-stuffed sofa in our favorite suite at Claridge’s. We popped across the pond to submerge ourselves in the magic of Christmas that only London can provide. We just love the architecture, the vibe and how it’s such a magical proper city. We’ve also been playing with the idea of maybe doing something a little more remote, like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, getting horses, fringed jackets and figuring out how to slow down a bit. You know, a piece of that Ralph Lauren kind of life! We started Too Faced in 1998 when we were just kids, sold it to Estée Lauder and the day after our contract was over we started work on our new projects: Polite Society, our new beauty brand, and Diamond Drunk, the world’s first non-toxic, clean and sustainable jewelry cleaner. Our lives have always been so busy that the thought of living in a Hallmark Christmas movie for a few months out of the year sounds magical and romantic.
ON CHAIRISH & VINTAGE SHOPPING
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
I love that Chairish is a wonderland of beautiful, curated, vintage pieces that are so special and unique. There’s so much color and variety! You can shop by a name, a color, a subject, a time period. It’s so fun, easy, and accessible while being elevated and chic. And the jewelry! It’s all there.
How does sustainability factor into your design choices?
We want to make better choices every day. Within our new brands, Polite Society and Diamond Drunk, we wanted to make sure they were sustainable, clean and non-toxic. As you learn more, you do better. The same approach went into our home, using non-toxic paints and fabrics, upcycled materials and vintage pieces. It’s important to make better choices. It’s the right thing for our planet and our future.
Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have?
Oh my gosh – where do you want to begin? There are so many things that I love and covet, especially on Chairish and I think it’s always fun to want or look something you may not have and constantly update your interiors. It’s never finished. A Mary McDonald x Jerrod Blandino project is never finished. I wouldn’t mind if Santa Claus left a pair of John Dickinson hoofed side tables. They’d look perfect in our parlor.
SOME DESIGN FAVORITES
Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room: Not being afraid of color or pattern, and really leaning into your personal aesthetic. When you walk out of the house, your makeup, your clothing, your style, your handbag, your shoes are all a vibe that should be incorporated into your interiors so it’s a reflection of you.
Favorite decorating “cheap thrill”: I would say paint! You can change so much so easily with just paint, or even a fabulous throw pillow – there are so many great throw pillows on Chairish. A fantastic accessory is an old Staffordshire pair of dogs or lions that you can just throw up on your mantle. It just feels fresh, plus it’s easy and fun.
Favorite iconic piece of vintage design: The pair of Burt Stern photographs of Marilyn Monroe that were taken at her last photo shoot at the Bel Air Hotel links our house to the glamourous past and legendary heritage of Bel Air. Her holding a camera as you come down the stairs, it’s almost like she’s welcoming you in and taking your picture. I just love those. They were a gift from my husband of 28 years, Jeremy Johnson.
Favorite paint color: My favorite paint color is always going to be a tone of pink. It’s my lucky color. Our living room is this beautiful, warm, blushy, peachy tone of pink that Mary custom blended herself and I love so much, combined with our white slip covered sofas that were inspired by a Chanel boutique in Paris we found.
Favorite piece of decor in your home: I love my tea room. It features a beautiful wallpaper mixed with a tumbled gray and white marble floor in a geometric pattern. It’s so Mary! It makes me feel like I’m in some really special fancy hotel of the past. I also love my upholstered Alidad consoles in our parlor.
Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration: I have so many! I love Mary McDonald, of course! Peter Marino, Jacque Garcia, the late David Collins, and Serge Roche for his artistry… just to name a few! I love fashion. I love looking at old vintage photography like Melvin Sokolsky, Slim Aarons. Photos of the past and just glamorous photos, I would say are number one.
Favorite style icon: My favorite style icon would be Coco Chanel because she broke so many rules and created her own universe that fit only truly her and her heart. It was kind of a love letter to the world that freed women to express themselves in a new way.
Design destination every creative should visit at least once: Paris
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received: Failure is temporary, success is permanent.
SOME LIFESTYLE FAVORITES
Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling: I love the Plaza of the 50s, mixed with the romance of the George V in Paris, Claridges in London and the Villa D’Este in Lake Como. I just love things that have history to them but have been made new with modern energy and passion.
Favorite restaurant: L’Avenue in Paris
Favorite small museum: I love the Prado in Madrid
Favorite podcast: SmartLess
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow: @thegentlebarn, @frenchcountrycottage, @diane_carnevale, @diamonddrunk, @politesocietybeauty, @marymcdonaldinc, @parkerkennedyliving, @degournay, @oldfashionvibes, @jeanlouisdeniot
Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift: Our Diamond Drunk non-toxic, super chic jewelry cleaner
Favorite flower: Peony
Favorite adult beverage: Champagne
Favorite way to unwind at home: Put on 80’s music, take a bath, and just sing my heart out
Favorite entertaining essential: My favorite entertaining essential would be vintage hotel silver. I love silver trays and old pieces that have seen some fabulous parties. Scratches, dings and flaws just add to their charm and are echoes of their fabulous pasts. Simply put canapes on a glorious silver tray, add some beautiful linen napkins, great music and baby you’re in business!
Lead Image: Photography by Sam Frost; Interior Design by Mary McDonald; Artwork (far right) by Karina Gentinetta.