C. Pittel : I like the way the house tumbles down the hill. And details like those small square windows in the living room make it look like a ruin you've restored. How did you make that huge room feel so calm? M.Smith : Quiet colors. Thick apple matting. Slipcovered sofas. There was already so much drama in the stone it was sort of like, enough. You don't need to overdo it. I wanted to make it very plain and comfortable, to have that sense of what a real European house would look like . People tend to do Italian with a capital 'I' -- velvet and tassels and cherubs and all that gilded stuff. But we're on a hill overlooking the ocean, and I don't want to get in the way of all the natural beauty outside. C. Pittel : I think the whole place feels strong and masculine. M.Smith : That's because it was a man's dream house, which doesn't normally happen. The client, Donald Clurman, loved the villas he had seen on the Amalfi coast and commissioned Bob White to design one for him. The two of them went to Europe way before I started and bought a lot of stuff -- all this strong handsome furniture, that worked out very well, flooring, fireplaces, and about 30 different types of reclaimed stone. This could have been such a dude house, with all that rock. I wanted to give it a pattern and dimension, so a woman could be comfortable here, too. C. Pittel : The master bedroom looks dark and airy and restful. What is that amazing bed? M.Smith : It's a reproduction of a British Colonial bed with Regency overtones made in Sri Lanka out of old wood. It has a sense of grandeur and ceremony, but then I've tempered it with all those earthy textiles so it doesn't get too ducal. A lot of fabrics in this house are Indonesian or Thai, but they could even be early Roman in a way. There's a kind of universal aesthetic that runs through all these textiles, which is why they work so well in all these different situations. It's like an integrally colored plastered wall. What culture is that? Is it Italian, Japanese, Indian? It's universal, and those iconic elements give a sense of authenticity to the house.