A Dark and Dated California House Got a Lovely and Light Refresh

published May 22, 2023

A Dark and Dated California House Got a Lovely and Light Refresh

published May 22, 2023
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Originally from Florida, where “square footage is easier to come by,” Brooke Abcarian admits she had some nerves about the size and location of this 1200-square-foot house in Redondo Beach when she and her husband, Scott, were looking for a home for their family. It felt far from where they had previously been living (West Hollywood), but ultimately with a baby on the way they were persuaded to give the area a chance since it’s close to the beach (Scott’s a surfer) and a great place to raise kids. “We have really fallen in love with the community down here,” she says.

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Brooke, who’s the principal designer of Carian Design, says this house was originally built in 1925 as a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home, but was added on to over the years. “The second bedroom was added in the ’40s and then the office (advertised as a third bedroom) within the last 20 years,” she explains. Something else that encouraged her to take a chance on this house? “I loved that the family that lived here before us raised their three boys here,” Brooke writes, also adding that she’s “always loved older buildings versus new construction, so for me that was a plus even though older houses have their issues.”

When the couple first purchased the house, Brooke says they had to tackle redoing the plumbing and electrical as well as add central air conditioning and heat, so “when it came time for the pretty stuff it felt like we were low on energy and money, so we just took our time,” she explains. “We were trying to do as much as possible while spending as little as possible.”

“A fresh coat of paint went a long way when we first moved in, but we knew eventually we would have to tackle the kitchen and bathroom. There was a clawfoot tub in the bathroom that had a crack in it, but we used it for the first two years anyway. The kitchen cabinets were just worn out, but it costs so much to paint cabinets that we figured we should just replace them and start fresh,” she continues. “It was definitely overwhelming when the project dragged on much longer than we anticipated and we couldn’t move back in until we had a working bathroom. We actually ended up moving back in before the kitchen cabinets were finished being installed, so we just made it work.” 

Brooke says that the total budget for the kitchen and bathroom renovation was around $40k, a mix of frugal buys and a few splurges, like the kitchen’s Heath tiles and the Waterstreet Brass cabinet hardware in both rooms. “Of course it was so hard for me to be on a budget since I look at pretty things all the time!” 



  • Kid’s Room — Benjamin Moore “Avon Green”
  • Kitchen cabinets — Farrow and Ball “Old White
  • Living room — Benjamin Moore “Simply White” 
  • Office — Benjamin Moore “Sonoma Clay”








Thanks Brooke!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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