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All things to all people
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Room with a you:
Ordinary doesn't live here
Story by Scott Dickensheets
Room with a you:
Zero clutter, smart curation and pop culture converge in one awesomely not very normal space
“I’d hate to come home to a normal house,” says Chris Kenner, longtime executive producer of David Copperfield’s show, now at the MGM Grand. Seems his home-décor pleasure receptors are set to 11, well beyond the ability of some cookie-cutter McMansion to satisfy. Fortunately for Kenner, residential normalcy is a problem you can fix — rather spectacularly —with a contrapuntal mashup of Bob’s Big Boy statuary, Philippe Starck furniture, famously stuffed beavers and a big nerdgasm of pop-culture iconography.
Oh, from the outside his house looks normal (funny how that word assumes a dingy pall after a few minutes at Kenner’s place), just another moderately upscale suburban box in a gated Spring Valley community full of them. Inside, not so much. A four-level (look, a basement! in Vegas!) loft home, it’s open; airy, too, thanks to huge windows. Amid all this space and light, you immediately notice the complete lack of clutter. For one thing, Kenner hates wires and cords — which could be a problem, because he loves electronics, especially TVs, having 11 of them synced up around the house — so he’s created customized cabinets and other fixtures to hide them. Until he points this out, it mostly registers as a subtle absence — none of the squiggly visual clutter your peripheral vision picks up along the baseboards of a (yech!)
Kenner adores pop culture and has gathered immense amounts of it around himself: more than 2,000 James Bond movie posters; a huge scale model of the Millennium Falcon; giant figurines of Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc.; the notorious stuffed beaver from The Naked Gun; a Bob’s Big Boy statue (some of these were gifts from his pal Copperfield). In one hallway, a framed movie poster slides aside to reveal a hidden vitrine with a specially lighted Batman suit. And that slides aside to reveal a throbbing ganglion of geek-bliss: a hidden room jam-stocked with memorabilia from numerous movies and TV shows. If you’re into this stuff, you could lose a few days in there.
As it happens, that room is a handy metaphor for the way Kenner’s aesthetic functions. “I’m a nerd,” he says, “but I hide it.” Or rather: edits it. Most of us, owning so much pop-culture coolness, would spackle our house with it, every flat surface a mini-shrine. But Kenner, with a producer’s eye for presentation, takes his aversion to clutter to the conceptual level. A select few pieces, usually wall-mounted, bounce off of higher-brow stuff (sculptures by artist Frank Kozik, for instance, or furniture and fixtures by maverick French designer Starck) in a spirit of energetic juxtaposition. The rest he concentrates in specialized spaces. This results in an environment that not only encourages maximum creative alertness — a boon to a guy in Kenner’s line of work — but keeps drab normality at bay.
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