Today I am taking you on a deep-dive into a big remodel including our clients specific needs and how we addressed each one to bring their outdated family home back to life.
Photography by Amy Bartlam
This house was in our clients' family for years and they were finally ready to give it some love. Located in a historic area in the heart of Los Angeles, the house is not huge at about 2,500 square feet, but we made a BIG impact by rethinking every inch. We were hired on just to do the remodel portion in the middle of the pandemic in May 2020 and wrapped it up in the beginning of 2021.
The 1980's had definitely left its stamp on the house, so we took out a mirrored curved wall in the entry, several tray ceilings, purple walls, hideous wallpapers, and popcorn ceilings. We replaced ALL the windows, doors, and flooring, redid the fireplace, and expanded the dining room. Our clients had pretty specific wish lists for both the style and function of the house, and of course, a renovation is never without surprises! Read on to see how we worked through the challenges to give them the family home of their dreams!
Our clients love to cook and entertain and needed more space and more storage. They wanted a light, bright kitchen that was warm and layered.
Challenges we faced: This space is a galley-style kitchen, which can feel small and long, and with only 8-foot ceilings and the location in the back corner of the house, it felt very cramped and closed off. We needed to make it bigger with more efficient storage and better flow to the rest of the house.
We knew we wanted to raise the ceiling, and when we opened it up we discovered that the ceiling joists had been CUT! It was pretty shocking and I'm still not sure how the ceiling never collapsed! Unfortunately, this was a very pricey fix that had to be done, but ultimately adding the extra foot of space was very important to them and they decided to redo the whole ceiling and roof in that area.
What we did: Taking the ceiling height up to 9 feet instantly made the space feel more airy and open, and we took it a step further by tiling from the counter top to the ceiling. We also added a small cabinet box on top of the standard-sized upper cabinets, which is great for seasonal items and also draws the eye upward. We chose integrated panels for the dishwasher and refrigerator, which keeps the space feeling really clean and unbroken.
The cabinetry is a mix of drawers with pull-outs, deep drawers, and cabinets and all are designed so that every spoon, baking sheet, and pan has a proper place. We had very little space for a pantry (basically a large double cabinet) but we designed the inside so that the doors can hold spices and smaller bottles. There is a drawer for bottles of wine or water, the bottom drawers pull out, and the top shelves are adjustable in height.
To make it more functional for several cooks to use at once, we relocated the range from a crowded corner (the refrigerator is there now) to the long wall opposite the sink. Now, there is counter space on either side of the range plus about six of additional counter space directly opposite. We upgraded all the appliances to top-of-the-line and added an appliance garage to the left of the range to house the coffee maker and smaller appliances. We spent a lot of time laying out the storage so that the entire room is set up for maximum efficiency!
Our lovely client really wanted an all-white kitchen, so we painted the cabinets a softer white, Benjamin Moore Milk Glass, and the walls Benjamin Moore Simply White. We added warmth with vintage brass hardware and lights and paired them with polished nickel plumbing fixtures. We added texture with a stunning Zellige handmade tile for the backsplash on the entire walls. Over the range, we took the counter up to the bottom of the hood for not only a style statement, but maximum wipeabilty! The counter material is a durable quartz that has a heavy vein with a lot of movement in warm shades of grey and taupe that blended perfectly with color of the tile. We also made sure the color of the wood flooring would further warm up the space and have a little bit of movement with the grain, and then we referenced that color with open shelving and matchstick blinds.
The galley kitchen wasn't wide enough for an island even after we pushed the range wall back a bit, so to create a gathering spot, we took out the half wall that previously separated the dining room from the kitchen. We made the window in the new breakfast nook bigger to bring in more light and decided to not do a casing so it wouldn't feel too bulky. We added a bench under the window and with the addition of a round table, it's the perfect spot for breakfast or to have a glass of wine and chat while dinner is being prepared.
The Powder Room
Our clients wanted a powder room for their guests with a bold, unexpected design. Challenges we faced: The original layout of the home didn't include a powder, so we created one in the former laundry room. Laundry got relocated to the garage, which was converted into a gym/laundry space. We closed off a door that led to the side yard and added a window to bring in natural light.
What we did: A powder room is the perfect place to take a design risk, and this one started when our client fell in love with this whimsical, bright wallpaper. It's definitely eccentric, so we paired it with a traditional paneled wainscoting painted Benjamin Moore's Wythe Blue, which we pulled from the paper. We skipped crown in here, but carried the blue paint all the way down to the base and around the door trim so the entire space feels very fluid. It's a small space, so we chose a pedestal sink that feels vintage, in keeping with the style of the house.
The space is just off the kitchen, so we used polished nickel and brass finishes again. They both add a lot of character and warmth to the space but my favorite detail is the rattan arm on the sconce. It brings a little texture and references the tropical motif of the wallpaper.
The Primary Bath
Our clients wanted a light and bright space with two sinks, ample storage, and a steam shower.
Challenges we faced: The original space was three separate rooms, one holding the tub/shower combo, one the toilet and the vanity, with the closet accessed separately from the bedroom.
What we did: There wasn't a lot of square footage relative to their needs and it was tricky to layout, so we opened it all up to make one big space and in the end they gained a double vanity, separate toilet room, and a decent-sized steam shower. We moved the access to the closet into the bathroom, which freed up wall space in the bedroom for furnishings and is just a more efficient layout.
Then we started playing with materials, starting with the shower. Natural materials won't hold up in a steam shower, so that narrowed things down immediately. We ended up using Cloe tile in white to give it a natural feel without actually being hand-made. We also used the same counter tops from the kitchen on the counters and a bench in the shower so there is lots of movement in the veining. Our clients wanted the floor tile to seamlessly continue into the shower so we used my favorite extra-long grey tiles in a herringbone pattern for a little personality.
There is only one small window for natural light, so we chose a light white oak stain for the vanity, and then carried it into the closet to elevate the storage there. The vanity design gave each client a separate sink space with a small makeup vanity in the middle, and the black mirrors are actually recessed medicine cabinets for even more storage. Since it is not a large room, we stuck to one metal finish and did polished nickel on the plumbing fixtures, hardware, and lighting.
Again, we worked closely with our clients and the carpentry team to make sure the closet storage was customized exactly to their needs. It has a lot of special details like a pull out hamper, a column for shoe racks, shelving that extends to the ceiling, ample drawers, and enough hanging space for long and shorter items -- all in that gorgeous oak! We carried the flooring into the closet and put the same hardware on the cabinetry so it flows seamlessly and feels luxurious.
The Hallway Bath
Our clients wanted a tub and large vanity here, and to give the space plenty of personality.
Challenges we faced: The room was a good size but only had a shower stall.
What we did: We re-configured the layout to add a tub for bathing their new son, and added a large vanity in blue -- the clients' favorite color. We knew the bathroom would be mostly used by the kids, so we decided to have a little fun! The blue floor tile brought in just enough fun pattern, then we added a white fishtail tile around the under-mount tub. The black hardware pops against the bright colors and helps the space feel fresh and modern, and my favorite details are the cute gooseneck lights above the mirror and the one-of-a-kind art.
Whew! If you have read this far, I am impressed and grateful! I hope this gives you some insight into how we work through challenges to make sure we check all the boxes for our clients. If you are interested in working with us, get in touch by filling out our design inquiry.