• December 16, 2014

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    If you are looking for eye candy stop reading right now.

    However if you are looking to feel better about your home go ahead have a look at this.

    Guess we are not celebrating Christmas here!

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    This is the kitchen halfway through the demo…

    …and this is it with the dining room wall removed .


    Looks like a mess but I LOVE it!

    Javier said this is the point when the homeowner is really worried and freaked out, but I’m so thrilled to see how pretty and open it will be.

    The only thing I stress about is that I’m an environmentalist and I’m obsessed with recycling items so all the kitchen cabinets and drawers have been saved to be used in the guesthouse.


    This is the dining room and kitchen area from the terrace.

    And all that’s needed bu this fireplace is a Christmas tree….


    This is the former library with what will now be the double sided fireplace.  Yes, I decided to keep it and go with the fireplace instead of the wine cellar bar. Removing it was more expensive than keeping it, so I decided why remove value?  The pretty wine cellar doors Ive saved for other use…

    And are you not jealous of my bedroom?


    Javier and I are going through all the electrical so they can do all the non design work while we are in Sweden for Christmas. The entire house needs to be rewired.

    Luke came over after school because he saw the video of me demoing the wall and absolutely had to do it, so Javier saved the bathroom wall for him to demo.

    It is the perfect job for a 13 year old.

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    the above will be a big bathroom.

    And I bet you wish your bathroom looked like this below…


    …it will now be part of  a big walk in closet.

    I know its hard to but I can really see what it’s going to be.

    And here is Luke’s bathroom….


    This cool yellow tub will be reused in the guest house.

    And this is the state of the living room today…


    We didn’t expect the cement slab to start chipping as we removed the old tiles.

    Today we met with the window/door guy to figure out how to move this glass door five feet to the left.


    I want to see the view head on as I enter and we have decided we are adding a 0′ wide den in the end of the large living space.

    Okay now that I have totally bored you with the most depressing “before” pictures ever, I promise you there will be plenty of inspiration pictures.

    So much awesome design stuff out there, that I can’t wait to put in here.




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  • December 9, 2014

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    Demolition time!

    I can’t believe the lighting speed that this project is moving forward with.  I’ve been working double time to get the renovation designs done, and yesterday bright and early the demo crew was there.  Yikes….I sure do hope my ideas are good, because there is no turning back now! I just have to go with the plan I made. Just two days ago Javier and I discussed flipping the entire floor plan. It was intriguing for a moment, but I decided to stick to the original plan.

    The main goal with the house is to open it up to suit that casual sunny California lifestyle. Half the house is now hallways, and cut up smaller rooms, with the main entry missing out on that pretty view.  So hopefully with what happens today we can see the beginning of useable space.

    We made a little video for you (at bottom of post) to show just what a total war scene took place. And I have to admit I’ve been wanting to sledgehammer a wall so bad seeing all those HGTV renovating shows.

    Boy do I love the new open space.

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    Javier had his crew there working away.

    This is what it looked like in the morning. You enter the house and you can’t really see anything, so many walls.


    These walls are coming down.

    ( I’m keeping all the pretty doors for use in other areas and a potential guest house.)


    The doors have been removed…carpet has been ripped up.


    The wall is starting to come down…


    More wall is coming down.

    Whoa I can see the pool. Exciting!


    Framing still there.

    And here’s looking in the other direction.


    Seen from the other angle, back toward entry.

    Good bye hallways!!


    Total destruction! This was the moment you realize you’re really doing a gut renovation….

    Here is a little video….see what it looks like now.
    If you can’t see the video view it on You Tube here,

    Have you ever done a gut renovation? How did you feel on demo day?

    I’m “kind of” calm…in the end, if we rip down the wrong wall, it’s not like someone took out the wrong kidney. After all it’s just design and it can be fixed.






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  • December 3, 2014

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    Decisions, decisions, decisions, and lots of floorplan drawings.

    Before the renovations can start I want at the basic ideas of what we are going to do to be finalized.  Since this is pretty much a gut renovation in parts of the house there are just so many decisions and so many options, it makes your head literally spin sometimes. And when you are doing it for yourself and not for a client, it can spin out of control.

    This week the tricky decision is do we add another study/small guest bedroom in the living room? Or leave it to be one big open hotel lobby type area? And even trickier, to connect the planned open kitchen/dining area with the TV room…do we remove the pretty old wine cellar that can be a bar, or the existing fireplace?

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    So I’ve been doing a lot of this…

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    …and my contractor Javier has been doing lot of this.

    Measuring and taking notes. And discussing ideas.

    I finally decided to wait until the hallways by the living room come down so I can see the big open space in real life, before making the decision about a den/study addition.  So that leaves me with the tricky TV room decision.

    To create that open modern California lifestyle I want, the opening needs to widen from the kitchen into the TV room.

    Right now its connected by a narrow door. But that means I either have to remove this pretty old wine cellar from the dining/kitchen area…


    …or the fireplace in the TV room.


    The wine cellar eats up 6 feet of space in the corner and we don’t have a wine collection. But it’s pretty and could be turned in to a double bar that serves the TV room and dining. Definitely a fun feature!

    I had made plans to remove fireplace, since it was not centered in the room, and if it stayed the TV would go above it so is was not ideal. But the last two days here in LA we finally have had lots of rain and a fireplace suddenly feels so cozy.


    Then I started looking at these double sided fireplaces and that would then give us a fireplace in the kitchen area too.

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    We would have a wall dividing as well, but could be cozy with a double sided fireplace. I’ve never had installed one before.

    Have you?


    Could be really pretty with some kind of white tile fireplace in the kitchen.


    Here is another pretty double sided fireplace.


    And here is a modern one.

    Could work well with this inspiration picture for the TV room.

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    But then the bar idea is fun…


    There is something festive about bars.

    And by removing the fireplace it would allow us to do built ins on the opposing wall for TV, since we wouldn’t have to work a fireplace in to seating plan.

    Aaaarrgh… again.

    But it’s fun. Just need a few days where I don’t need to do anything else but work on this. But I know it will more likely be some late nights.

    What would you keep?

    Fire place or wine cellar?


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  • November 18, 2014

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    It took 14 months.  But the wait was worth it.

    After an exhausting LA house hunt, having bid on 5 houses we finally get the keys to our new house tomorrow.  Just last month we felt hopeless as the previous house we had in escrow turned out to have geological issues that could not be fixed.  Feeling exhausted and questioning this LA thing very briefly, this sweet ranch house came on the market on my birthday. What a perfect birthday present!

    It’s funny how life works out sometimes…when you are let down or loose out on something, it’s often just because something bigger and better is around the corner. You just don’t know it.

    We had to bid on the house without seeing it since we were away and competing with other buyers. When I finally saw it – it “had me at hello”.  And meeting the lovely Swedish neighbor that same evening I knew the house was meant for us.  It’s a charming ranch style house with amazing views in a magical mountain setting with a distinct European feel.

    While perfectly cared for, it has not been rebuilt since -67 so it’s just asking to be renovated!

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    This week I’ve spent  lot of time thinking about what homes really mean.

    We read a lot of stuff about style, design and interiors in design magazines and blogs. It’s all about looks and things and can sometimes feel shallow.  But in reality between those walls life will take place.   Those rooms is where a lot of your precious time on earth is spent. So the impact of a home is huge.

    While we say we “own” a home, we’re just really the caretakers for a while.  We fix them up, make them ours for a part of our lives.  Then “our” home sells and someone  else will create memories in it.

    Yesterday, I met the super sweet owners of this house to do the final walk through.

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    They moved here from Germany many, many years ago.  Wolfgang had been a busy cabinet maker in town.  They decided to get a smaller place closer to their kids.   It was so special meeting them knowing that they had lived here filling the house with good energy.

    And what good care they must have taken of it. Wolfgang cleaned the pool and fixed things even at the walk through!

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    The house is in a neighborhood, yet totally private on a hill.

    Starting tomorrow, design plans and major renovations await. I hope you’ll come along for the ride as I’ll be sharing the process every Wednesday here on the blog.

    I’m looking forward to what this new chapter may bring!


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