The pavlova—a layer cake of meringue, cream, and fresh fruit—has some qualities in common with Eliza Gran’s approach to design. Pavlovas are elegant, versatile, and balanced. For the top, you use what you have. And in order to make the most beautiful pavlova, you have to have the confidence to make a mess.
Chickens, ducks, turkeys, and dogs roam freely across Eliza Gran’s Los Angeles living room, where freshly cut flowers are crowded lusciously into one of a kind vases, and vintage textiles, records, and books adorn most corners. “It’s always been super important to me that home is a nice place to be, with a lot of books, a lot of good music, food, flowers…” she says. “It needs to be a place where your kids and their friends want to hang out—otherwise they’ll turn 13 and you’ll never see them again.”
When Gran moved from New York to California, long before eggs were sparse in American supermarkets mid-pandemic, she replaced her Brooklyn-bought dozens with brown, white, and blue eggs pinched from her birds’ respective coops. In between appointments with her interior design clients, Gran maintains her acres of trees that fruit everything from blood oranges to guavas.
Gran’s sunny ecosystem, in which she tends to animals, vegetation, and her three teenagers, grew from sad circumstances. Gran had initially moved away from New York, where she grew up, for her husband’s job. Their family lived in a small cottage on the Venice canals, where Gran had developed her now-omnipresent handmade pom pom baskets. But then her dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and Gran realized her life needed to change in order to support him and her mother.
“I thought, ok, I’ll take a couple months off the pom pom baskets—which were going insane! It was like, there were 200 stores. We were shipping constantly, it was this crazy scene. And people were starting to copy me but I was like, ok, it’s not out of control yet.” It was at the peak of the pom-poms that she was back in Brooklyn, preparing her family home to be sold and making plans for her elderly parents to move to Los Angeles.
Gran’s parents’ Park Slope house, which was a gem of property she describes as a “decrepit, beautiful mess” with fireplaces in every room, was eventually sold. She found a place in the Valley that could accommodate both of her parents, with room for carers and enough enclosure to stop her father from wandering off. But as things in life go, her mother passed away before the big move. Her father came to L.A., but the new landscape and the absence of his wife was too much. Gran lost both of her parents, and her childhood home. Then, with her business besieged by imitators around the world, Gran closed her company.