House Tour: Steve's Beach Bungalow and Garden Retreat

Los Angeles

Name: Steve Prestemon
Location: Venice, CA
Size: 1340 sq/ft house on a 5000 sq/ft lot
Years lived in: Owned for 6 years

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When Steve bought his Venice bungalow six years ago, he knew that he wanted to preserve the integrity of the original architecture. Keeping the original hardwood floors, lighting fixtures and open floor plan, Steve's only big departure from the original design was to redo the large backyard space. Steve created a true garden oasis by personally landscape designing the area and creating defined outdoor rooms with sitting areas. This extended the length of Steve's space as the outdoor rooms feel cohesive with the rest of the house flow. Steve's breezy bungalow is the perfect home to entertain friends as well as relax with some quiet time while enjoying the sunny California weather.

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AT Survey:

My style: I would describe it as a mash up of Asian with American and Danish Modern with a touch of California.

Inspiration: The aesthetics of clean modern lines while still making it comfortable and warm.

Favorite Element: Backyard.

Biggest Challenge: Working within a budget and inexperience. This was my first attempt at designing a complete home. The fence was a real challenge to get across my vision to the contractor while still letting him help me realize within the budget.

What Friends Say: My friends like to hang out at my house because they think it has a nice “vibe” – which I worked hard at developing.

Biggest Embarrassment: The closets I guess. I really need a walk-in.

Proudest DIY: Probably the design of the backyard which happened in 3 stages. I didn’t actually do the construction, but I designed the layout and chose almost all the materials and plants.

Biggest Indulgence: The fence. It was a difficult design to pull off (the contractor said he would never build it again for someone else) and it is difficult to maintain because of it’s proximity to the beach. The salt in the air is tough on wood and it requires refinishing every couple of years which is extremely expenisive and time consuming.

Best advice: Do a lot of research and know what you want before you involve other people and start construction. It is very expensive to change your mind or find out something is not going to work for the money, or that you can’t use a type of material or plant you wanted to use.

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Resources:

Appliances: Not sure – they came with the house. They're not the ones I would choose but they are expensive to replace.

Hardware: I really only replace the doorknobs (which were cheap, round aluminum) with an inexpensive but more aesthetically pleasing handle-type.

Furniture: Much of the furniture is vintage. In the living room, the Dining set is vintage Danish Modern I found at the Long Beach Antique market. I recovered the chairs with re-issued Danish Modern fabric I think from Maharam that was actually more expensive to do than the cost of the whole dining set. The sectional is brand new that I had designed and made at Viesso in Santa Monica. I had them do custom legs to match the Danish Modern style of the other furniture in the room. The entertainment center I designed and had custom made to match a 50’s postcard I found at Urban Outfitters. I gave him the dimensions, the picture and he did a fantastic job of mimicking the piece. I designed a fake speaker at the bottom which I covered with Fender Amplifier fabric I found at an amp repair shop. The pull hardware is actually 50’s “dead stock” I found at Liz’s Antique hardware, in Los Angeles. In the bedroom, the platform bed and the side tables I found at Room Service. In the Guest bedroom the bed is Ikea, and the other pieces are vintage. The outdoor couch and love seat is from Modernica, and the others are Brown/Jordan.

Accessories: The Wood Screen is Herman Miller/Eames. The clocks in all the rooms are George Nelson re-issues.

Lighting: In the living room, the ball light is vintage, the wall and low-voltage wire lights are Ikea. The flat lights on the wall in both bedrooms is Ikea.

Rugs and Carpets: The area rug in front of the couch is from Crate and Barrel.

Tiles and Stone: All the tile and stone was original to the house.

Window Treatments: The blinds I installed were quite pricey – probably $2000 for the whole house. The bedroom has opaque shades, the rest let the light in and still allow privacy

Beds: The bed was a platform floor model from Room Service. The mattress is Temperpedic to maintain the sleek style of the frame.

Artwork: The photography is Ronnie Darling who is a friend. Many of his photos were seen in the set design of “Six Feet Under”.

Paint: I chose all the colors from Benjamin Moore. Each room has 3 to 4 colors. Usually two cream colored walls, with individual walls painted either a light blue, a light yellow, or a green. The doors I painted a darker green. I like the subtle color changes that it brings to each view of the house.

Flooring: The wood floors were there when I bought the house – I liked the way they chose a 45 degree angle to the walls. The other tile I am not wild about and would love ot change to cement.

(Thanks, Steve!)

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Photos by Rebecca Orlov

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