Vanity Fair magazine almost rebroke the Internet on Monday when it tweeted a photo of the former decathlete previously known as Bruce Jenner on its July cover, with the headline "Call Me Caitlyn."
The day before, 1.1 million viewers had tuned in for the latest " Keeping Up With the Kardashians" episode and heard that, yes, Kim and Kanye are having another baby. But for us, the big scoop was getting a look into Jenner's eye-popping new spread atop Decker Canyon in Malibu, CA, where Khloe Kardashian visits to spend time with her stepfather, Bruce, before his transition.
"I was terrified about what I was going to see on this episode. I was very aware of the risk that all my work could be gone, gutted, and Kardashianized," said Hernandez, who has designed spaces for Tyra Banks and Kimora Lee Simmons. Hernandez had actually designed the space for the previous homeowners (the former owner of RV America Insurance and his composer wife), but as he saw on the E! series, much of it remained the same -- including the ebony and French-polished walnut dining room table and the dining room chairs upholstered in Romo fabric, with hand-embroidered medallions in metallic thread for the host chairs.
"When I saw the kitchen, the dining room, master bedroom, and bathroom -- all those design details were all mine -- were all the same, I was so flattered," he said.
"Pure joy when the camera panned across the custom-built dining room table, and we were able to see the metallic detail in my chairs! She took what I did for my clients and kept it. Literally, the only things different is the family room furniture, the bed in the master bedroom, and those beaded dresses."
The Decker Canyon home is no stranger to reality television -- the previous owners bought it right after it had been used on Season 9 of "The Bachelorette."
"It was a total mess," Hernandez said. "I think the original owners who built the place ran out of money and had to sell it. The original design just didn't make sense and felt like it was the kind of home people build when they are hurrying to move in and make it remotely livable."
So he gutted the house, repainting the multicolored walls and ripping out the travertine floor to replace it with Brazilian walnut as well as angled porcelain flooring that resembles wood, both of which remain in the house.
"The shell of the home is very contemporary, so for me it was about helping them ease into a clean, California-living look without being so literal," Hernandez said. "I wasn't interested in giving them that same old beachy Malibu look. You will find no seashells in my design!"
Jenner also apparently appreciated the renovated kitchen. The Wolf six-burner stove that Hernandez relocated and the kitchen island he built, featuring a trough sink, a microwave drawer, beverage and freezer drawers, all remained as they'd been when Hernandez last saw them.
Jenner bought the house and took occupancy in February. Although speculation had swirled about a gender transition, she first spoke publicly about it in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer, which was arranged in early February and aired in May.
Hernandez hadn't even known that his clients had sold their dream home to Jenner after all of his renovation work.
"My plumber is the one who called me and broke the news," he said. He's since learned that his clients moved to be closer to the water. (Unfortunately for Kylie Jenner, who has been rumored to be launching a music career, the previous owners also took the white $100,000 Bsendorfer piano.)
"Caitlyn's house is in the hills," Hernandez said, noting that it sits on 8 acres and is the last house along a private road. "This isn't the kind of Malibu home where you just slip on your sandals and step onto the beach. This is a mountain oasis that looks over the entire coastline. It was perfect for Caitlyn for when she was transitioning, because it is so secluded."
Although the home was designed with a different client in mind, Hernandez is happy to see that his design aesthetic also fits the lifestyle of the home's new occupant.
"It is so complimentary to hear how much she loves the place," Hernandez said. "When I heard that, it just melted my heart as a designer."
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