I wanted to start this new home tour feature on the Modhemian Blog with a little conversation as to why I felt it appropriate to start showcasing homes of people whom you’ve never met and most likely never will. But isn’t that most home tours on interior design blogs??? Anyways, listen, we all love a little snooping into people’s homes, a little comparative analysis of how other people live in their secret little lairs. This voyerism is in all of us, but its not just about showing off high end spaces that you could never attain and make you feel like you have to sell everything you own and start over. This is about celebrating what it means to make a space feel like home. Its about crediting the people and personalities behind the design and what it truly means to curate a space.
Being an interior designer isn’t just about following the latest trends, being featured in the latest blogs, tracking down the chair du jour, having the fanciest accreditations or the high profile clientele. It’s the acute, visceral understanding and intuition of how to harness creativity, nostalgia, self expression, comfort, security, beauty, harmony and bringing it to life. How to make that fuzzy feeling you get when you lay your head down after a hectic day or a long stretch of travel a real, palpable thing to be had, a skill that not everyone can harness.
Behind every person, is the place they call home. A private, extremely personal compilation of everything they hold near and dear to them. I feel it’s an honor to be invited into someone’s home, whether for a job consultation or a dinner party, and I don’t take it lightly. For this reason I’m so grateful that this gentleman could slice out time to allow us to infiltrate his abode, sit down for a chat and let us shoot his space for this feature.
I want to introduce to you John Rixey Moore. A little back story as to how our paths crossed, our cousin has a Cabin in Fraiser Park which we visit as much as we can for a little break from LA, a nature recharge if you will. It was here that I first met Rixey when he joined us for dinner in the start of Autumn about two years ago. I remember this well because there was a new chill in the air as he and I sat outside to stare at the stars and talk extraterrestrial life, astrology and ghostly encounters. Not for everyone, but that’s how we bonded. He’s a good friend of our cousin Michael, which is how he came to be a dinner guest, and if you ever have the pleasure of sitting down for a scotch with him, you’d realize instantly that you’re in the presence of someone extraordinary. He nonchalantly speaks of his time as a elite spy in the military, the best selling novels he’s written, his family lineage connecting to our founding fathers, his silly little gig on One Life To Live…. all of which I soaked in, jaw hanging open thinking, is this guy for real? (he is, check out his IMDb) We all jokingly call him the most interesting man in the world, like the Dos Equis guy, but really, I think he may be.
The icing on the cake, at least for me, came when we popped by his home one afternoon on a sleepy Saturday afternoon for a look at one of the vintage cars he’d been tinkering with. Thinking to myself, boy stuff, whatever, I like a good vintage car, I’ll tag along. We entered his humble cabin nestled in the trees and I was DUMBFOUNDED, no STUPIFIED, SPEECHLESS. This man just flew up 20 notches in my book as far as creative respect. Yeah I know, being a spy in Vietnam and an acclaimed actor and author wasn’t enough for me, it takes persian rugs, kilim pillows, vintage sideboards and pampas grass for me to take notice. One track mind ya think?
I retrospectively thought, as we toured his home, of course the most interesting man in the world has the most incredibly curated home I had ever seen, but this was next level. Every turn, on every wall, every shelf and corner was something he had loved, that had a story, that elicited a memory, that showcased his travels, interests, hobbies, personality and that he had found the perfect harmonious place for. He has been in this space for 18 years, so you can imagine, this didn’t come together over night. Every room was so thoughtful and had a subtle theme, a color story, a warm feeling, like the person who lived there really loved living there and wanted you to feel welcome.
Let’s go on a tour of his space and just remember, an older gentlemen lives and works here alone in the mountains, and doesn’t have many houseguests, so this is really just for himself.
Upon entering the cabin, to the right of the main staircase, lies quite possibly the most magical masculine bohemian dining space I’ve ever seen! You’ll soon notice this is a stunning intro to his omnipresent pampas grass filled pottery, which he hand foraged I’ll let you know, man after my own heart, as well as his collection of antique weapons of war and pretty hunter green back drops that just screams cabin in the woods.
His dining table is antique of course, stately, long and narrow, which he says really adds to the intimacy of the meals he shares with people at it. He surrounds the table with mid century inspired chairs and layers it with a handmade silk Chinese runner and sterling silver candelabras that I’m sure put off the most perfect soft glow in the evenings.
All of his artwork is original including this perfectly placed lake side scene which enhances the natural masculine energy in here, and not by accident. His bar game is strong with the crystal decanters atop this ornate banquet. Cheers!
Opposite the banquet is this small dark wood accent table, nestled between a pretty side chair and these hand carved candle sticks, which you’ll see, inspired his staircase railings. Another perfectly place piece of art topped with another nod to his love of collecting antique weaponry, adorned with a red tassle, to soften it a bit perhaps. Does this guy know how to create a vignette or what!?
He had said he removed the original banister and railing of this staircase because it closed off the space too much, bringing in more natural light and making way for a great opportunity for him to showcase his killer gallery wall skills.
Now, to the left of the front door you’ll enter his more formal living space. Its long and narrow but cozy and the definition of boho eclectic. When I asked, what’s the first thing he considers when decorating a space he said, window treatments. Softening the windows instantly makes things cozy, and then of course the rugs. He said from there everything else is layered and falls into place as far as form and function. Check out his pillow collection! All him, I swear!
This cream tufted leather armchair is super retro but still very cool, and comfy I might add. It has a kilim ottoman friend which I think is a match made in heaven and then a LEATHER shaded floor lamp to lend a little light. Take note of that bust with the bow tie, let’s you know Rixey has a sense of humor, which people need in formal living rooms that are rarely used.
On the far end of this long living space is a pair of cow hide chairs and a tree stump coffee table he had custom made, the perfect space for an afternoon sit and sip. The walls are lined with the most incredible antique cabinets filled with his impressive collection of books, some first editions. The man has a voracious appetite for literature and this room is perfect for digging into a good read.
From the front living room you’re led towards the back of the house, down this gorgeous little hallway, past the kitchen. This wing of the house is where he spends most of his time, and where you will start to notice his cleaver draped rugs on the ceiling. This is one of my most favorite design elements of the home. He had said he ran out of floor space so one day he just started putting rug on the ceiling! Why not?
I know there’s a lot to look at here but this is what a creative persons loungey den looks like. I love how the draped kilim on the ceiling elongates the space, shortens the ceiling height and traps the cozy above the sofa. Behind that bookcase is a bar that he doesn’t use to serve drinks at but to collect his books and antiques.
As you travel upstairs no corner is left unstyled, and this top landing has become another great area for him to display his collection of books, art, rugs and antiques.
The first guest room has a beautiful moody blue theme, accessorized with hand quilted throws, a beautiful antique Chinese bench and of course, more draped rugs, kilim pillows and Pampas grass.
The second bedroom, a bit warmer in tone and as Rixey calls it, “the guest room for the couples that don’t really like each other”, hence the separate beds. The red plaid bedding is very cabin chic and paired perfectly with the red and black patterns on his rugs, both on the ceiling and hung on the wall, set as its own piece of art.
As you break right at the top of the stairs you’re met with John’s office which again showcases his collectables and lends you a little peak inside the inner workings of his uber creative mind while he sits and works on his latest novel.
As I sat down for a chat with our leading man, I knew my asking him for a quick bio would be no 10 minute chit chat. Not because he’s long winded, but because this man has lived three lifetimes over what any other man his age has.
His childhood upbringing was rather affluent, in the oil fields of Venezuela, his parents, both Americans, from Virginia and South Carolina. He attended an elite boarding school then studied Philosophy at the University of Virginia before enlisting in the army at 25. He was an Army Secret Service Green Beret working closely with the CIA on multiple assassination missions, much of which he didn’t want to discuss, nor did I pry. After multiple secret missions and with just a few months left on his deployment, he was granted early honorable discharge due to a severe hip wound. From South East Asia he retreats to his family’s home in England to assimilate back into reality. It’s worth bragging, not on his accord, he did receive a Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars, 3 Purple Hearts, and 4 or 5 other service and conduct medals for his four years of devotion to the U.S. Army, just to paint a picture of the type of man we’re dealing with. John has masterfully documented all of this with critical acclaim in his first memoir “Hostage of Paradox” if you’d like a deeper look.
Fresh from war and finished with feeling sorry for himself, with a little nudge from his mother, he decided to participate in the restoration of the Hadrian’s Wall built by the ancient Romans in northern Scotland. After months in the fields, still dealing with the aftermath of his war injuries, and perhaps thinking heavy rock lifting in an archeological dig may not the best place for him to recuperate, he set off on a solitary mission in search an illusive mass grave in the mountains of Scotland. Without warning, in true poetic/SNAFU/Rixey fashion he gets a bit turned around, caught in an ice storm and as the universe would have it, at the base of a Monastery. He takes shelter with these men for a few months, truly reconnecting with himself, reading the works of the most renown poets and novelists the world has ever known, learning to make bread from scratch and realigning his soul after the trauma of Vietnam. Realizing he had no intention of becoming part of the brethren, he was politely pushed along his way and into the next wave of this journey.
Cut to Canada where he takes a job as a drill operator in a large industrial gold mine, the only natural succession in this unbelievable tale of this mythical man, right? Deep below the earth’s surface, working with a rather motley crew, he confided in me that in a shallow moment of trying to bolster his manliness, he skips the elevator, climbs a service ladder carrying a box of dynamite, only to accidentally drop it under its awkward weight. In the seconds he has his eyes squeezed shut, waiting for the dynamite to hit the ground and end it all, he had the most humbling of revelations. When he wasn’t blown to bits, he took that as a sign to keep it moving, and that minute he left the mine, never to return. He recounts his time in the monastery and mine in his second novel, “In The Company of Stone”.
From here, with a new lease on life, Rixey moves to New York and catches the acting bug, thus starting his prolific 40 year long acting career. He’s been in a few things, maybe you’ve heard of them, One Life to Live, Beverly Hills 90210, Falcon Crest, Passions, Clear and Present Danger, I could go on and on people! Also in this period he somehow found time to lead the U.S. Bobsled Olympic Team, interview and consult with microbiologist who work at Area 51 taking live tissues samples from a living captive ET and investigate crop circles in England, but just on the weekends ;). Today he lives quietly in his bohemian mountain cabin, is working on his third novel, still acts and does voice over work, and keeps himself very busy restoring old cars and continuing his collection of antique WWII canons.
To say it was a pleasure to talk and shoot Rixey’s home would be the understatement of the century. I hope you can appreciate his story and aesthetic as much as I have and look forward to more tours and discussions of beautiful spaces and the magnificent humans behind them.
Ciao for now!