Staff Staff -- Casual Living, December 21, 2012
Marika Tsircou - the Breakout star of ABC Family's No. 1 reality series, "Beverly Hills Nannies" - describes herself as a homebody. But if you've seen the show, you know that the outspoken mommy with the vibrantly colored home and equally hued personality is far from a wallflower. Mention that and Tsircou will light up as dramatically as her live-in garden.
"I love flowers and plants so much, I'm constantly rearranging them like furniture," she said. "The garden is our second living room, so I guess that makes sense!"
"Beverly Hills Nannies," which airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m./8 p.m. PT, follows the unconventional lives of nannies and mannies who take care of children in the world's most famous ZIP code. Beverly Hills native and painter and photographer, Tsircou, who lives with her attorney husband Kyri and son Xander in a circa 1920s home, is just one of the "mommies" to be featured on the show.
All of the artwork in the home is Tsircou's and she uses the space as something of a home gallery. "There are a few pieces I'm attached to, but I often sell work that I have on display," she said. "It keeps things interesting."
Tsircou and her husband, who bought the home from an interior designer close to a decade ago, kept many of the unique design elements - including hand-painted wallpaper throughout the home - but it was the garden that really sold the place.
"It is the most majestic place. People say coming here is like a vacation," she said, "and when we acquired it was already so special. We're just adding our own touches."
Lighting was key for the artist, so she uplit most of the trees and the waterfall that has a bonsai tree as its base. She installed clusters of star-shaped lights to give the different spaces an ethereal feel and placed more than 15 garden balls at scattered heights throughout the canvas for reflective purposes. "It really does feel like a piece of my artwork," Tsircou said. "It is kind of like painting in that I do things like change the colors of my hydrangeas with acid. They were white, now they are a purple and blue color."
Tsircou says that while some of the antique wrought iron and teak outdoor furniture she inherited from the previous resident works well in the garden - what was missing was a softscape. "I guess outdoor fabrics and cushions weren't available back when he did the garden," she said, "but that was really what we wanted and how we wanted to live."
The Tsircous had a double chaise custom-made for their upstairs balcony and she found a large, white outdoor sofa that fit the bill from Target. "We had pillows custom-made from Sunbrella fabric and used a lot of red for punch," she said.
Marika Tsircou in repose with custom pillowing from Sunbrella
An intimate corner for lounging features many of the elements of the complete outdoor room.
Statuary, hardscaping and terracing are softened by upholstered pieces, shade elements and fl ora.
Planters, gazing balls and lighting add pops of color throughout the garden.
Tsircou is constantly planting and replanting and creating tablescapes.
Tsircou is a fan of mixing high and low and having spaces that allow you to change your mindset just by turning a corner. "We eat outside all the time so that brought about a dedicated space for that," she said. "We have a fire pit area for gatherings. And before the baby, we used to hang out on the upstairs double chaise all the time."
The Tsircou family is also fond of entertaining, so the outdoor space had to accommodate that. "We have big events we like to call ‘Garden Parties' and we've had so much fun with that we've even invented a drink called the Griffith Park Gardini," she said. "It's muddled mint, cucumber, vodka and lemon juice and it's delicious!"
Tsircou calls her home indoor/outdoor not just because of the natural tendency to spend time outdoors in Southern California - but because it truly is.
"Every room has French doors and they beg to be open," said the woman whose personality matches those doors. "I am truly blessed and I have had a wonderful time filming this show. It wasn't invasive at all with the crew just being here two or three days a week. I've made wonderful friends and the whole experience has been life expanding."
So what's next on the horizon for Tsircou? "I'm ready to have another baby," she said. "I want to design kid-friendly furniture. I've been asked to design nurseries after people saw Xander's on the show. I want to write a children's book and I have another idea for a reality show." Stay tuned!