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Photos in this post by Coco of COCOCOZY

The living room during an early evening cocktail party in honor of First Lady Michelle Obama at interior designer Michael S. Smith’s posh Los Angeles estate. (above)

As you all know, I do not normally “cover” events.  I am not a reporter, journalist or a full time “blogger” covering the events of the day and reporting on stories. I am just a girl who loves interior design, furniture and architecture and I write about it for fun.

Yesterday the nexus of all of my interests and worlds came together at one event…my interior design hobby, my Hollywood executive job and my interest in politics…and yes…now for some odd reason I find myself informally “covering” an event where I was simply an invited guest…quite a spectacular event I must say…worthy of COCOCOZY report so to speak!

Okay…where do I start? Help. Have so much to tell you all in this post and it is all making me oh so confused. Do I start with the design of the gorgeous Los Angeles home of Michael S. Smith and television executive James Costos, or do I just cut straight the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, or do I start with a laundry list of all of the fabulous interior design glitterati in attendance, not to mention the celebrity factor…where….oh where…?

I guess I’ll just start at the beginning.

As many of you know, last week, I was debating on whether or not to go to a fundraiser honoring Mrs. Obama that was being hosted by glam interior designer Michael S. Smith and his partner James Costos.

Two things, or should I say two emails, happened that convinced me to go. The first came from COCOCOZY reader and interior designer Kate Jackson who wrote me an email response to my post saying she was traveling across the country for the event and that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was a very compelling email actually encouraging me to attend. The second email came from James, Michael’s significant other, extending a very warm personal invitation to me to attend the event. Those two emails did the trick and I was off to this campaign fundraiser and off to get my first up close glimpse of Michelle Obama!

Event security screening in the large front courtyard. (above)

On the invitation we were asked to wear cocktail attire and arrive by 5:30p. I, of course, had to work at my executive job and had to change out of a very cute purple and navy work dress into a cocktail dress for the event. I wore my Chanel purse, just a simple black biased cut Diane von Furstenberg dress, Gucci heels, and a complicated glittering necklace my sister bought for me in Paris last year.

Anyhoo…pulled up to a gorgeous modern home in Holmby Hills, a tony Los Angeles enclave (turns out the large estate was previously owned by a board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art and was built to house her extensive art collection). The home as I mentioned belongs to Michael S. Smith, the interior designer who recently helped the Obamas re imagine their spaces in the White House.

Michael and his partner James were standing in the home’s impressive foyer greeting guests.  Both hosts were extremely warm, gracious and kind…both giving me a hearty personal welcome into their home. This was the second time I had met Michael and James; they were quite charming and hospitable.  I accidentally came in at the same time as Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi and both James and Michael took just the right amount of time with each of us to say hello…making me feel at ease and ready to enjoy the evening.  Perfect party hosting.

The home was so beautiful…I just couldn’t help it…I had to snap a few COCOCOZY photos of the event for you to see. I was literally in a hyperventilating design delirium when I walked in and saw the beautiful interiors.  The decor and feel of the public spaces of the home were soothing and calm.  A palette of neutrals with well fashioned collections of objects, stunning art work and wonderfully understated but very fine furnishings made for a very chic but comfortable home.


Looking outside from the living room at musicians entertaining the guests (above)

Then I made my way outside to the even more amazing garden and grounds. What a gorgeous lawn…perfect backyard setting for a party!

It was there I began chatting with new and old acquaintances and friends.  I spent a good portion of the evening talking with Margaret Russell, Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest. Margaret is an amazing women.  I had the pleasure of meeting her when she was at Elle Decor and it was nice to catch up.

Met Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Kathryn N. Ireland from the Bravo television show Million Dollar Decorator for the first time…they were both so nice and said thanks for the posts I have done featuring their work.  Martyn had brought television persona Sharon Osbourne as his date…she was quite charming too.

I met the West Coast editor of InStyle Magazine Glynis Costin and had a nice talk with her and her friend Serena (who has a daughter named Coco).  They asked to see photos of the COCOCOZY textiles collection. I of course only have one or two so-so pictures of my own pillows and throws on my phone to show off.  Glynis and Serena were so kind and gracious about the designs nonetheless (of course I know they were being polite…even if they hated the collection…what else could they say but it is fabulous when I was standing right there waiting for a words of praise and acknowledgement like a dog who has just performed a trick…did I just equate myself to a dog?  If I did, which I did, think cute dog or elegant dog or smart dog…not one of those dogs that doesn’t know its tail from its front and that drools a lot…I digress…as usual….anyhoooooooo…back to the event…).

Anyhooooo…other notable guests included actor Ryan Phillippe (very cute…a guest asked me to take a picture of him and Ryan…I think I messed up taking the picture twice…but Ryan patiently smiled while I bumbled with someone else’s Blackberry), Drew Barrymore (did not really see her), Vanessa Williams in a cute lavender dress and plenty of Hollywood types all in a great mood for the exciting event.

Guest mingle on the estate’s gorgeous lawn! (above)

Then the First Lady of the United States came out to greet the crowd of 300 or so. She looked amazing. Mrs. Obama wore a simple black sheath and a short cropped jacket and blue bangles on her wrist. She spoke for about 25 minutes…a fantastic speech peppered with politics and personal. I like her. I was in the third row mushed between a few people trying to get a good glimpse. Being mushed was worth it.

Interior designer Michael S. Smith and partner James Costos arrive outside with the First Lady to address the guests (above)


Michael welcomed guests to his home and introduced Mrs. Obama. (above and below)



First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama addresses the 300+ guests at the campaign fundraiser (above and below)


Then all of a sudden the event was over and I’ve never seen the Hollywood set move so fast. I asked Margaret Russell why everyone was literally running up the stairs into the house…she looked at me and said matter of factly, “Valet…”. I started running up the stairs too!

It was during my wait for the valet that I ran into Jeffrey Deitch the head of MOCA. Jeffrey has been so kind to me and my sister since he came to run the museum here in L.A….in fact he just saw my sis last week in Paris and invited her to a party there. So it was a nice surprise to see him at the event too.

All in all…not one complaint. An exhilarating evening, in a wonderful setting, intriguing people and a very compelling honoree. Who could ask for more?

Thank you Michael and James for inviting me and opening up your home to all of us! Oh what a night!

Happy Tuesday readers!


P.S. I have about 1000 posts here on COCOCOZY and this one wins I think for the longest title I think. So much for being brief and succinct and to the point. You all know that has never been my style…I’m the rambling type! LOL!

P.P.S.  Forgot to mention that I also had the pleasure of meeting Kate Jackson, the COCOCOZY reader who wrote me such a compelling email encouraging me to attend.  Kate is really cool.  She is a talented interior designer in Rhode Island who has a terrific husband (he wasn’t there but she told me about him) and three beautiful children (I saw pictures).  Kate it was so nice meeting you!

Photos in this post by Coco of COCOCOZY

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  1. hello!! i just wanted to say thank you for my lovely throw, i was a winner on coco + kelley’s blog. i just received the throw this afternoon and it’s PERFECT, i absolutely love it! thank you thank you thank you!!


  2. wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 lucky you! wow!
    when did he move to this new house? i’ve never seen it before – it looks gorgeous!

    loved reading this – felt like I was there, but I would have worrying about what to wear. hehe.

    great story.


  3. Coco I am really glad that you went, after all, one never wants to look back and say what if….

    It looks so fabulous and woulld love to hear even more details!

    Art by Karena

  4. Omgosh!! How exciting, You will always look back at this event and be able to say,”I was there11″ Too exciting!! Glad you went and we get to reap the benefits of your picts. They did not mind you taking photos? Did you have to ask or was everyone taking photos too? Great post and thank you for sharing,Kathysue

  5. I absolutely LOVED reading this (and I never read blogs, just look at pictures lol). I felt like I was there myself. Glad you went, it was all worth it. And it sounds like you looked fabulous yourself…next time would love to see a picture of your outfit 🙂

  6. Wow! My daughter would be so incredibly impressed… as am I! I love Michelle Obama – what a class act! Am thrilled to have the chance to read about it!
    My daughter is doing an internship in NY this summer and is at a party tonight with Jennifer Connolly! She is in her element!
    Such a fun post… thanks for sharing!

  7. Such a wonderful opportunity on so many levels. To be able to meet the First Lady along with the hosts and numerous guests had to be an exciting evening. Not to mention that fabulous home and gardens. Thank you for sharing.

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