Javier Burkle collects turtle shells. You’ll find them dotting his 1930s Highland Park bungalow—souvenirs, he says, of lives well lived. “There’s something about them I’ve always been intrigued about,” he says. “The size tells how old the turtle is, and you can tell what area in the world they’re from by the coloring. There’s so much history.”
Not dissimilarly, one pass through the Mexico City–born designer’s home reveals a lot about him. Burkle saved the property from being razed in 2015 and has painstakingly renovated it room by room, filling the rehabbed spaces with intention. Nearly every piece in the layered environs was chosen for its emotional significance: souvenirs he and partner Mason McCleskey have picked up on their travels; a book of his great-grandfather’s architectural drawings; and several pieces from Ralph Lauren, where he got his start as a designer. Reminders of where he’s been.
Q&A with Javier Burkle
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
“The dining room—without a doubt! We love hosting and gathering friends and family around our table. For me, nothing beats time spent in memorable conversation and making people feel at home, in our home.”
When he’s not looking fondly back, he’s making new memories in the home, hosting friends often for poolside grilling, holiday gatherings, or monthly multi-course meals with his Golden Egg Supper Club. Burkle bought the house in part because of its entertaining potential, and today, the handsome dining room is his favorite room in the home. Burkle lined the kitchen—the home’s more informal party hub—with continuous soapstone countertops, so that despite its compact footprint, there’s no shortage of serving or prep space. He also topped the island with forgiving butcher block, which weathers party fouls with grace.
“I don’t want anyone to be worrying about a coaster,” he says. “I want it to keep aging and look like it’s lived in.” Scars on his shell that tell a story, one drink ring at a time.
Jessica Otte is the executive editor of D Home and D Weddings. In 2006, she helped launch D CEO as…