By Nora Burba Trulsson | Houzz
After living in an apartment for several years, this Los Angeles couple went house hunting in a neighborhood they liked. In their diligent search, they stumbled upon a gem: a two-story house with more square footage than they’d expected to find in the area, plus a big backyard for their young son.
But the overgrown exterior featured a mishmash of architectural styles, thanks to a vaguely Tudor second-story addition. The interior was a warren of bedrooms and odd spaces, courtesy of the same addition, and the interior finishes probably had been last updated during the Reagan administration.
The couple turned to Los Angeles architect Linda Brettler to help clean up and modernize the exterior and the interior, and to infuse the house with their personal style.
Houzz at a Glance
- Who lives here: A couple — he’s in real estate; she’s a graphic designer — and their young son
- Location: Los Angeles
- Size: 3,050 square feet; three bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms
- Designer: Linda Brettler Architect
“Some time in the 1980s, someone added a weird second-story addition,” Brettler says, “which looked like a box in back and had multiple gables in front. They also bumped out the fireplace chimney on the side of the house when they added a fireplace for the second-floor master bedroom.”
What’s more, the home had already been stripped of any vintage or historic architectural details. “There was nothing worth saving,” Brettler says. “Our challenge was to clean up the design and to add in some traditional details to reflect the history of the neighborhood while keeping things modern enough for family living.”
Brettler streamlined the exterior by removing two of the smaller gables and squaring off the roofline. She also removed the protruding, angled chimney on the side of the house by installing a direct-vent fireplace in the downstairs living room and eliminating the second-floor fireplace altogether. Like Brettler’s Work? Find More Los Angeles Architects.
New mullioned windows reference older houses in the neighborhood. They’re clad in durable blue metal on the outside and wood on the inside to give character to the interior.
Fresh landscaping, stucco in a pale taupe shade, and a new walkway and entry porch give the home a welcoming curb appeal.
Inside, Brettler had most of the walls stripped to the studs, and the flooring and finishes replaced for a warm, simple look. She cleaned up the floor plan by expanding some openings between rooms and sealing others, creating better flow.
A new custom fireplace with a ceramic tile surround and a limestone hearth provides a focal point for the living room.
In the adjacent dining room, Brettler moved the entrance to the kitchen to create a more unified space.
New oak flooring throughout most of the house provides a warm and unifying stage for modern and traditional furnishings.
The homeowners worked with Brettler to place their existing new and vintage furnishings — such as the living room’s 1960s Avery Boardman sofa — to create a comfortable look for the interior. The palette is largely warm neutrals, sparked with dashes of color. Gain More Space in Your Living Room Layout With a Love Seat.
AFTER: During the course of buying and renovating the home, the husband, a music enthusiast, acquired a used Hamburg Steinway piano. Rather than having it take up space in the living room, Brettler suggested transforming the downstairs bedroom into a music room, with the piano as the centerpiece.
She enlarged the windows to add natural light and garden views, and installed molding to frame the walls, which are painted a deep purple-blue.
“The rich, saturated color gives the room character,” Brettler says. “The owners were not afraid of using color. They didn’t want a generic house. They wanted it to reflect their personalities.”
AFTER: The renovated kitchen became lighter and brighter, and it opens up to the adjacent breakfast area and den.
Custom-designed maple wood cabinetry includes shelving for cookbooks. The island adds extra prep space. Brettler also designed a built-in banquette for the breakfast table.
The architect added new windows and doors to bring in light to the back of the house and to access a new backyard patio.
AFTER: Removing the fireplace brought more wall space and better options for furniture layout. Taupe walls keep things cool and light.
The homeowners personalized the bedroom with vintage Heywood-Wakefield nightstands and a midcentury modern desk.
The wife, a graphic designer, worked with Brettler to come up with the vivid chevron tile pattern in her son’s bathroom. Try This Chevron Pattern in Your Own Home.
“We had some fun in this space,” Brettler says. “We wanted it to be playful for the son yet not too childish, so he wouldn’t outgrow the design.”
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