Aleks & Anne's Converted 1875 Church

House Tour

Name: Aleks Istanbullu & Anne Troutman
Location: Santa Monica, California
Size: 2400 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years

Not only is the church that Aleks and Anne call home a historical landmark, it was actually the first church in Santa Monica. It is hard to believe that it only took two weeks and $684 to construct the building. It has gone through many transformations over the years - relocation, bell tower added, social hall added, enlarged, reused as a secular meeting hall, and was eventually bought by artist Helen Sheats who claimed it for her residence.

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Aleks and Anne planned the move from their multi-level home with a great view of the ocean due to the lack of an open floor plan - they were searching for something more suitable for their lifestyle. By the time they found and purchased the church in 2003, it needed a few updates to restore its architectural character and best utilize the space to fit their needs for both a private and work space. They fell in love with the history behind the converted church and were dedicated to restoring its original character.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Contemporary intervention into a historic house

Inspiration: A place with history and soul in which to live and work

Favorite Elements: The character of an old church, a large open space that we could shape freely, an urban garden in the rear yard

Biggest Challenge: Balancing public and private spaces without loosing the openness

What Friends Say: It is so very warm and cozy

Biggest Embarrassment: Hard to keep the dust balls out of sight

Proudest DIY: All of it

Biggest Indulgence: The mahogany counter and teak rails, the 8 Liquidambar Rotunda Lona trees which could grow to a height of 80 feet

Best Advice: Nobody gave us any advice - we probably would not have listened anyway

Dream Source: Book stores, Sur La Table, Diamond Foam & Fabric, and Williams-Sonoma

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Resources of Note:


  • Viking Fridge and Range
  • Miele Dishwasher
  • Kohler




  • Swap Meets



  • Existing Douglas Fir



  • Random Oriental in family


  • Classic Tile on Wilshire and Santa Monica


  • None, except for Venetian Lace from Burano

Anne Troutman, Jasper Johns, Chuck Arnoldi, Laddy John Dill, Astrid Preston, William Teresa, and Ali Acerol

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Thanks Aleks & Anne!

Images: Evan Koester

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Marcia is an interior, portrait, and travel photographer and has photographed over 50 homes of creatives. Her photographic style is capturing her subject in the most natural state and creating an emotional response.