Nestled behind the white columns of Artemio and Angela De La Vega’s home sits a treasure trove of art and family mementos. The Highland Park home is cloaked in an understated, Colonial façade, but the interior is a warm contrast waiting to be unveiled.
“This is a very classical home,” Angela said. “Inside, I wanted something a little more cozy and rustic.”
Her desired aesthetic was accomplished with a fusion of pieces from the family’s travels, including Latin American paintings, Indonesian carvings, and robust, bronze castings that fill every nook and cranny.
The home, built in 1913, is an architect’s dream. The bare bones alone are swoon-worthy, so it’s no wonder that Phillip Shepherd, architect of the Rosewood Crescent Hotel, once called the address his own.
Teak wood floors salvaged from a capsized ship, sky-high ceilings, and elaborate crown molding form the perfect shell for detailed decor, and rooms are peppered with an art collection that rivals the Louvre.
The family moved into the house in the midst of a remodel 10 years ago, and an intrepid Angela has been at the helm of furnishing rooms ever since. The interiors are a continuous work in progress, and they manage to get a facelift every time the family accumulates a passport stamp.
“We just took our time as we traveled and found things that we loved,” she said.
Beyond that, Angela’s design philosophy is simple and foolproof.
“You see it, you love it, and you find a place for it,” she said.
Or in her case, she creates it.
You see, the heart of the home is more than Angela’s impeccable taste, but it’s a detail that the modest matriarch may humbly omit. Sculptures that fill counters, stairwells, and pedestals were formed from her own hands.
Art has always played a large role in Angela’s life. She spent her childhood in Pennsylvania tinkling the ivory keys, and she studied fine art and art history in her college years.
When she realized sculpting was her calling, Angela packed her bags and jetted to Spain, where she enrolled at the University of Madrid to concentrate on the art of realistic figures.
Now, the talented sculptor is in high demand across the country, and more than 50 of her pieces are displayed everywhere from Colorado, California, and Arizona to the park across the street from the family home.
But the family’s Highland Park haunt is a hidden gem among Beverly Drive’s stately residences; it’s the only place where all of Angela’s works come together under one roof.
Her three children — Alexa, Adiana, and Federico — have served as her models, and some of Angela’s favorite pieces showcase life’s fleeting moments. From the multiple figures she created of Alexa dancing, to an outdoor piece that captures her then-toddler daughters reading with their grandfather, no moment is too small for bronze encasing.
And she doesn’t have to go far with her ideas. Each piece is sculpted in her in-home studio that doubles as her children’s playroom. Angela and Federico spend hours at a time modeling clay, building Lego constructs, and listening to National Public Radio.
“It’s little moments like those that are good for the soul,” she said.
And you’ll likely find her wrapped in those moments for years to come, filling the home with new pieces.
“I like the idea of letting our home be a story of our lives together,” she said.