When a ranch-style home nestled in the Hollywood Hills was listed for sale by its original owner and builder, Ryan Brown, head of the Brown Design Group, and partner Diego Monchamp, also a designer, jumped at the chance to transform the classic space. “The original owners had lovingly kept it in its original condition for over 60 years,” Brown says of the three-bedroom home.
Though the couple appreciated the home’s midcentury pedigree, a major renovation was necessary to suit their lifestyle and make the home livable for the couple and their eight-year-old daughter. By creating an open-plan space and reconfiguring the homes private rooms, the family created a modern home furnished with period pieces, which honours the house’s origins while meeting their needs.
The home’s renovation was a quick and dramatic one—completed in only five months! Ultimately, nothing but the original roof and exterior framing remained. “We tore everything else out,” says Brown. “We’d come home from work and stay up late working on plans and designs, then I’d be at the house at six in the morning to meet with the contractors.”
“A big part of the project was raising all the ceilings—from under eight feet to 12 feet high,” the designer tells us. To warm up the newly lofty space, the pair opted to install slatted-wood paneling on the new ceilings.
The designers also enlarged and opened the kitchen, dining, and living rooms to create an open-concept plan; modified an office to make it into a den; and transformed an existing bedroom into the master closet.
To create separation between the living and dining spaces, the designers utilised a second-hand find they scored. “We wanted the great room to feel open, but we entertain a lot, so we wanted some division between the kitchen and dining space,” Brown tells us. “Ultimately we developed the concept to use a pair of vintage glass-and-steel factory windows as a divider.”
Thin steel shelves soldered to the windows created floating shelves for display and storage.
In the kitchen, a wall of statement tile extends to the new, lofty ceilings. “We wanted the kitchen wall to be really dramatic,” says Brown. “This was actually a big leap for us—we thought long and hard about it. We were worried we would get tired of it, but it turned out amazing and we're really happy we did it.”
To connect the bold kitchen wall with the fireplace wall on the other side of the large space, the designers opted to install another feature tile wall, but in a less graphic colour palette.
“The ring tile on the fireplace is made from the same material and is one of the same colours in the kitchen wall tile,” the designer shares. “It enables the spaces to relate.”
“Being designers, we wanted a house that was stylish and chic, but we also have an 8-year-old and a ton of neighbourhood kids that traipse through our house regularly,” Brown says. “We needed to make kid-friendly choices that still looked good.”
In the master bedroom, a custom walnut bed with inset leather tiles and integrated side tables was designed by Brown and Monchamp.
“We wanted a home that embodied the southern California indoor/outdoor lifestyle,” shares the designer. To maximise this, the pair installed walls of glass along the back of the house, including in the bedroom, which opens to the private pool and views of the hills.
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The master bathroom is separated from the bedroom in a similar manner as the living room, dining room, and kitchen, to emphasise the size of the space.
When designing an open-plan space, Brown recommends refining your décor choices. “I think sticking to neutral colour palettes in our designs helps make spaces look more cohesive and allows us to mix styles,” he says.
“Because of the weather in L.A., we leave the large glass doors open most of the year,” says Brown. “It’s a January evening and they are open now. It’s quite wonderful having the yard as an extension of the house and the view of the hills as an extension of our backyard.”
What do you think of this home’s open spaces? Share your thoughts in the comments!