When designer Waldo Fernandez decided to put his walled 1926 Mediterranean estate on the market, with its five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in about 7,200 square feet, it literally caused a sensation in the Los Angeles area. Known as the designer to the stars, Fernandez completely remodeled the house by including high ceilings in the living room, a gourmet kitchen with breakfast area, a formal dining room, a den/media room, an open family room, French doors leading to lush gardens, a swimming pool, outdoor fireplace and tennis court. The home has distressed oak flooring, wrought-iron detailing and built-ins throughout. The house is listed for $10,995,000.
Fernando was born in Cuba and sent to the United States at age 17 to avoid having to be in the Cuban military. He was able to find work washing windows in NYC before scraping together enough money for a bus ticket to Hollywood, where he enrolled into UCLA to study architecture and design. It didn't take him long to land a job in the set decorating department at 20th Century Fox, even though he didn't speak much English. Some of the movie sets he worked on include Doctor Doolittle, Hello, Dolly, and Planet of the Apes.
He held that job for a little more than four years, designing furniture on commission on the side, before he was asked to do some designs for the residence of director John Schlesinger.
His new career blossomed after that. He opened his first showroom in 1974 after traveling across Europe looking for designs that fit his sense of style, and his career took off after that. He has done designing for celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery and Goldie Hawn.
One story that helped cement his celebrity reputation was when Merv Griffin contacted him to design one of his hotel room for Prince Rainier and gave him less than 24 hours to get it done. Fernandez was able to pull it off by borrowing $150,000 worth of antique furniture, along with flowers and Spanish rugs, which was returned after the Prince left to go back home.
Fernandez' furniture styles are mainly contemporary with flashes of modern touches. He furnishes rugs, baskets, and furniture for living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and offices, as well as some items that work in outdoor spaces. His style is known as clean and open, with natural fabrics and white walls, and it's no wonder that many of his designs give his clients the impression of being on a movie set. His celebrity fans praise him high; his critics, on the other hand, feel his designs are clinical and cold, lifeless.
There's no pleasing everyone, but Fernandez instills loyalty from those who love what his style does for them. He was also the designer requested to do the redesign of the famous Beverly Hills Hotel.
Fernandez put his own home on the market and, while keeping his business in California, is deciding to move to the Hamptons in New York state, an area he feels is more beautiful as far as nature is concerned. However, he will still be available as a designer in California, and other locations around the world.