When interior designer Laura Mako redid a terrace originally designed by the renowned Billy Haines, she created one of the most seductive rooms in southern California.
In 1948, gossip columnist Louella Parsons proclaimed Edie and Bill Goetz’s home, designed by Billy Haines, as “one of the most beautiful in California.” Goetz, a leading Hollywood grand dame and the daughter of MGM cofounder Louis B. Mayer, barely touched Haines’s interiors during the 41 years she lived at the Holmby Hills estate—except for one thing: In 1966, she hired Beverly Hills interior designer Laura Mako to redecorate the terrace.
Although relatively unknown in today’s design circles—she rarely gave interviews or allowed her work to be photographed—Mako was a well-known fixture in Beverly Hills, with a glittering client list that included some of the era’s biggest names, like Bob Hope, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, and Gerald and Betty Ford.
For Goetz, Mako replaced Haines’s beige flagstone for black terrazzo and his white aluminum patio furniture for polished black bamboo, then enclosed the space with two louvered walls and a bold green-and-white- striped canopy. Sliding glass doors separated the terrace from the aqua-blue living room where the couple entertained virtually every major industry player. On balmy evenings, the party would drift outside, where they would be met by flickering candles, the smell of cigarettes and freshly mown grass and a breezily elegant space that was the center of Hollywood glamour.
While Goetz adored the result, her original decorator, whom she had known from his days as a silent film star at MGM, did not: The project reportedly caused an irreparable falling out between the onetime friends.