Before & After: A Neglected 1924 Spanish Casita Got a Beautiful Budget Reno
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Name: Taylor Kitto, Philip Wahl, and our two dogs Rory and Alder
Location: Altadena, California
Size: 1200 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 year, owned
My fiancé and I have been remodeling our 1924 Spanish casita in Altadena, California, for almost a year and it’s finally finished! I live with Philip, who is a NASA aerospace engineer, our two dogs, Rory and Alder, and our four backyard chickens. I spend a majority of my day in the kitchen, testing out recipes and working on my site Whole Nourish. When I don’t have my nutritionist hat on, I love collecting and curating textiles and homewares for my shop, Arroyo Abode.
Our favorite way to end the day is dinner outside, sipping on natural wine, and watching the dogs play. This home has taught me to slow down and enjoy the simple things, from gardening, hanging clothing outside to dry, and being patient with our very old oven that can be a bit fickle. This home has an old world European charm, and even though we live in a very dense and populated area, it feels like an oasis.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I find it difficult to define my style, but I’d say it is very influenced by nature and romance. There is always music playing, and at night I love lighting candles and creating a cozy experience. In three words? Layered, inspired, and thoughtful.
Inspiration: A home in the countryside of Portugal.
Favorite Element: The old windows and how the breeze and light pass through them.
Biggest Challenge: One of the biggest challenges was restoring the home to her former glory. Over the years there have been some built-ins and add-ons that didn’t quite make sense to the home’s history, so we worked tirelessly to let her shine again. We spent all last summer going so hard on projects that we eventually got burnt out. We stepped back a bit, and are embracing the fact that we can chip away at projects, so now we can finally enjoy this home without feeling like there are piles of projects adding up.
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY moment would be gutting the entire kitchen and working within a tight budget to be a space I love being in. I painted the cabinets, replaced the sink and countertops, and put up shelving.
Biggest Indulgence: Having the saltillo tiled installed by professionals was the only time we hired out. I found half of the saltillo tiles in a salvage yard in Portland, Oregon and the rest we found in Mexico to match. When installing the tiles, they discovered that there were actually remnants of saltillo tiles that were original to the house! It made me so happy to see the home being restored to her former glory!
Best Advice: Don’t rush the process, only bring pieces into your home that have meaning or bring you joy. Choose quality over quantity, and have patience finding the right pieces.
What’s your best home secret? My best home secret is embracing what the existing architecture is and adding your favorite elements. It’s your home, after all! Most items in my home have been found at estate sales, flea markets, or Craigslist. Collecting things you love is the best way to create a home you love.
I think a lot of people are forced into thinking they “need” certain things because society says so, but I’ve found that my life is a lot easier when I simplify. We use painting rags to replace paper towels, only own a few kitchen appliances, and I try to repurpose many of the items in my home. While this doesn’t work for everyone, I think finding what works for you is the best thing you can do to create an intentional home.
PAINT & COLORS
- The entire house is “Chantilly Lace” by Benjamin Moore
- Kitchen cabinets are “Kingston” by Benjamin Moore
- Bench — IKEA
- Brass Rail Hook — Schoolhouse Electric
- The couch is from Restoration Hardware and was a major Craigslist score.
- Pillows and textiles are from my shop, Arroyo Abode.
- Coffee Table — Found at the Rose Bowl Flea
- Painting — Rose Bowl Flea Market find
- Mirror— Target
- Paint color — “Chantilly Lace” Benjamin Moore
- White Lamp — Schoolhouse Electric
- Vintage chair — Passed down from my grandparents
- Folding Rope Chair — Estate sale find
- Shelving — CB2
- Pottery — Thrifted and estate sale finds
- Rug — Arroyo Abode
- Chair — Rose Bowl flea find
- Shelving — IKEA
- Copper cookware — Thrifted throughout the years
- Brass Hooks — Schoolhouse Electric
- Rattan Pendant — Serena & Lily
Thanks Taylor and Philip!