Name: Kathleen White-Almanza - former set decorator, designer, and co-owner of Eccola and Maurizio Almanza - co-owner of Eccola
Location: Miracle Mile — Los Angeles, California
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2½
Kathleen and Maurizio's home is my absolute dream house. When you enter through the front door into a courtyard with an outdoor fireplace and even a scooter in the driveway, how can you not feel like you are in a rural town in Italy? Even with two large dogs, Kathleen insisted on painting the original hardwood floors white and enjoying the space without worrying about keeping a perfect home.
There are a few rules when it pertains to the dogs — stay off the furniture! With antique furnishings and drooling dogs, I would have to agree on the rule.
Their daughter's bedroom makes me wish I was 10 years old again and enjoying the simplicity of life. Her personal space has so many whimsical elements perfect for a young creative mind, but also something that she can grow into as she approaches her pre-teenage years. The headboard, wallpaper, antique desk chair, and shelving — I love it all. Kathleen's next project is installing a flat screen TV and Wii in the guest house for Zoe and her friends.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Our style is an eclectic blend of European 19th c. antiques meet Italian 50s/60s modern, paired with loads of art and objects collected over our travels.
Inspiration: The inspiration for my home was always the idea of a modern barn and years and years of looking for a home that possessed its own innate character to serve as a clean palette that could become what I wanted it to be.
Favorite Element: The original high pitched beam living room ceiling, quirky small triangle window near living room fireplace, and last but not least, all the barn-like elements and beams in the courtyard that accent the outdoor fireplace.
Biggest Challenge: Finding it! Every home we looked at since we relocated from Rome had been painstakingly gutted and finished in my head after each walk through. The house (by American standards) is old — built in 1926. A far cry from Italy, but nonetheless important for us as we wanted to find something with a little bit of history. Our goal was to keep the old bones and modernize the rest. Had we found a modern mid-century home, for us it would have felt too modern and vintage. Missing the feeling of living in Europe, we found the perfect balance. Thus 95% of the doors and windows are original. We joke around that its original style is English Tudor meets Disneyland castle meets South of France barn, as it boasts two castle like turrets with barn-like accents.
What Friends Say: Warm, cozy, unique, and original!
Biggest Embarrassment: Thinking that the type of fridge I purchased was a built-in; however, it just meant you can use your own custom door (which I have) on it. So rather than be flush and disappear into the clean sleek wall of cabinetry, it sticks out. OOPS!
Proudest DIY: The design and decorating of our home. As far as literal DIY, I have to say nothing. After renting and repainting too many homes' floors, walls, etc. over the years, I leave all that work to the great painters and handymen that are more capable than I. I prefer coming up with the concepts and then finding the right people to implement them, such as coming up with the idea of making a wall of the porcelain foreign newspaper tiles in our master bathroom and guest house bath area.
Biggest Indulgence: Raising the roof so to speak. It cost a bundle to have all the ceilings raised; however, we were lucky the space was available to do so.
Best advice: Best advice, given, received and well paid for — always double what you think the remodel will cost and then some.
Dream source: The legendary Gio Ponti; if he were still alive.
Resources of Note:
RUGS & CARPETS
TILES & STONE
- Benjamin Moore: Raccoon Fur & Super White
- Headboard: Custom Made
- Kitchen Cabinetry & Shelving: Funtime Cabinetry Factory (our kitchen may be seen on the website under "WHITE")
- Courtyard: Outdoor furniture: CB2 (Cushions recovered in Silk Trading Company Striped Fabric), Zinc Planters & Cast Iron Oversized Lanterns from Restoration Hardware
- Daughter's Desk: West Elm
Thanks Kathleen & Maurizio!
Images: Bethany Nauert
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