Name: Raimud Becker, Designer
Location: Hollywood Hills; Los Angeles, California
Size: 3,500 square feet
Years lived in: 39 years
I love discovering the city through walking the streets. I found Raimud's home when out with a friend who was walking his dog. When we stopped at this home, with the bold and graphic exterior and lush garden peaking through, I was determined to find out who lived here. The house definitely stood out, and reminded me of many of the homes I have seen in Mexico City.
The interior of the house is quite stunning, but it is the lush and expansive garden that is Raimud's love. He grew up in a very small town in Germany and lived in the forest. This upbringing is the reason for his connection to nature. As an interior designer, he's always running around the city, dealing with traffic and the deadlines, and the garden is his escape. He purchased the home and started planting the garden over 20 years ago, so it could grow and fill in to create a lush jungle in his own front yard. He wanted guests to feel like they are walking through a forest as they walk up the steps to the front door.
Raimud has many different types of plants that bloom at different times of the year. He loves the surprise element that a garden gives him. The garden has become Raimud's personal retreat, and once inside he sometimes forgets that he is not on vacation and has real world responsibilities.
The graphic paint colors on the exterior of the house/garden walls initially came about because he had leftover paint from a project, and couldn't bear to have it go to waste. He decided to have fun with graphics and bright colors on the walls. Since Raimud also studied architecture, there are many interesting architectural elements, such as all the look-through windows.
The property consists of the main house and a vacation rental unit. Raimud carries the natural aesthetic into the house with plants in many of the rooms, a Joshua tree in the living room, and a small waterfall and bath next to the master suite. He believes that once you're inside your home, the day's worries should disappear. His design philosophy is all about living in the moment and enjoying life's simple pleasures.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Playful contemporary.
Inspiration: Surrounding nature. For the exterior, leftover paints from a job inspired me to "gift-wrap" the house in paint. In the inside, I like to create a casual and natural feeling that allows the landscape to come through the house.
Favorite Element: My garden, which I created as a little oasis, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I like the sound of falling waters, the singing of birds, and lots of trees and plants to hug me.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge will always be to design within a given budget. One should always calculate 20% extra for unforeseen circumstances and last minute changes. Quality work is always very important to me; therefore, to have skilled craftsmanship is very essential. Of course, a well thought out design is the beginning of it all. It is much easier and less expensive to make changes on paper than it is to redo construction.
What Friends Say: My friends like the casualness and the warm feeling it projects. The practical approach is appealing to them. They don't have to be afraid to be extra careful and not damage anything. They enjoy the touch of natural materials and the use of daylight, as well as the garden that meanders through the house. I'm heavy handed with plants — I can't have enough of them.
Biggest Embarrassment: I am disappointed that it was not possible to create an entry that introduces visitors to the rest of the house.
Proudest DIY: For the first time in my life, I installed the tile floors for my house, paneling walls, and painting graphics on the outside. I improvised furnishings by shopping in the "as-is" corner of IKEA, junkyards, recycling places, garage sales, finding trashed pieces and elevating them to artwork.
Biggest Indulgence: My biggest indulgence is my garden — I am obsessed with plants and have become a collector of tropical specimens to the point that I am an addict.
Best Advice: A house is your biggest investment — do not neglect to keep improving it, and keep it current. Don't take it too seriously, have some fun with colors, and don't be afraid to incorporate plants. Understand that plants can act as insulation, protecting your house from warm and cold. A home should be comfortable and create excitement with a couple of items in every room. Do not leave accessories and art placed permanently, but once in a while move them to different locations if possible. It stimulates new emotional responses again.
Dream Sources: Go through your day with open eyes, let your fantasy be free, and see possibilities in everything. Nature can provide the most magnificent color palette you can ever wish for. Don't be afraid to create something crazy. Nobody but you has to like it.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- I use Benjamin Moore paints for the great yet subtle gradation of color charts.
- The wood paneling in the entry was matched to the wood paneling in the living room, which was existing when I bought the house.
- Living rooms should be rooms to live in, not set aside for special occasions. Guests should feel comfortable and welcome. Ikea had a new well priced corner sofa group, cushions are made out of collected kilim rug pieces, accesories like an old wagon wheel, Moroccan porcelain pieces come from Arte de Mexico, International imports, and Chinese wood pieces, coffee table and stools made out of ironwood and tree sculpture. Original butterfly chair frames found in garage sale and re-covered in cowhide, and my own creation of a trashed billboard sign and a blown-over tree turned into a 3-dimensional piece. The carpet from Brazil, made out of sheep's skin, has been holding up for 30 years now. Stair rails from neighbor's oak tree.
Seating group designed by myself, covered in antique vinyl, and kilim rug pillows. Pre-Colombian and African art pieces, and Chinese wood sculpture. Wall art created out of a sanding belt found in a cabinet shop. Credenza and bookshelf are from Ikea's "as-is" corner, slightly modified and cost about $100 each. Dining chairs from Ligne Roset, and hanging lamps from Ikea.
- Hidden wall storage for dishes and dining table accessories, table base made from a neighbor's dead tree, chairs, barstools, and credenzas by Ikea. Lighting recycled from a 1975 office interior.
- Recycled cabinets in shaker style, refurbished by applying stainless steel and mirrors on the doors. Granite on kitchen counter and walls, recessed appliance and spice garages
- Sliding door panels used to cover windows, graphics applied with architectural tape. Closet and TV hidden by sliding doors.
- Master bedroom - tatami mats floor covering, bed from Out Of The Closet, antique Chinese kimono, low bench made out of a door panel, modified Ikea bookshelf, tasso marble window frames, Chinese chest from Arte de Mexico.
Sitting room - sofa, folding out to queen size bed from Ligne Roset, coffee table also from Ligne Roset, leather chair from Italy (Milan furniture show), lamp from Ikea
- Peter Maly bed, chair and rug from Ikea, cabinets from Ikea's "as-is" corner, console table and other accessories from Arte de Mexico
(Images: Marcia Prentice)
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Re-edited from a tour originally published June 2013 -- AB