Chris & Damian’s Updated 1898 Echo Park Home

published May 15, 2014
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(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

Name: Christopher Rodriguez, Entertainment Attorney, and Damian Pelliccione, Host/Producer/Event Coordinator, New Media Vault & Boys in Tech
Location: Echo Park; Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,350 square feet
Years lived in: 1 1/2 years

Chris and Damian had been living in a loft and wanted to move into a house, so they purchased this small home as a fixer-upper. Because of it’s condition and perceived lack of curb appeal, they were able to snatch up the place at a great price, leaving plenty of budget for renovations.

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(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

And, they did renovations aplenty. There were a few happy surprises, such as finding original hardwood floors under layers of carpet and discovering a time capsule of sorts when they discovered newspaper clippings from the year the house was built when they opened up the wall. One of them most dramatic changes took place in the bedroom, where they opened up the ceilings to expose the beautiful beams and really give the room a cozy cabin feel.

(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our style is an amalgam of modern color, design and art, within the historical architecture and aesthetic. We focused on retaining the original elements of the house’s 1898 charm (original redwood floors, unique molding around the doors and windows, and wood framing) while giving the house an updated, almost loft-like feel with the stark white walls and ceiling, exposed venting, and bright and colorful artwork and lighting fixtures.

Inspiration: The inspiration for our home is a combination of the modern design of Los Feliz and Silver Lake style bungalows with a downtown LA modern flair.

Favorite Element: Our favorite element of the house is the exposed vaulted ceiling in the bedroom. While we were lucky to find that, unlike most homes made in the late 1800s, ours inexplicably had very high ceilings, the upstairs bedroom did not. We decided to get rid of the ceiling and go for an exposed concept. We even replaced the various small beams in the ceiling with larger, more dramatic beams. This was perfect, as it gave the relatively small room a much grander and more open feel. Staining the beams a dark color which matched the floors added a degree of drama that is accentuated by the white walls and ceiling.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge in the design department was making compromises between what I wanted to accomplish (design-wise) and what needed to be done (construction-wide). For instance, I had a lot of ideas of how I wanted the basement/laundry room to be organized and configured. Unfortunately, with the plumbing for the second bathroom addition (including the headache of having to install two sump pumps) and limitations having to do with the height of the ceiling in the basement, I found that I couldn’t achieve exactly what I wanted. Other than that, the overall age of the house was a challenge, as things like electrical and plumbing were not necessarily where you’d expect them to be, and this required extra effort and imagination to get it all to work.

What Friends Say: We are the envy of all our friends! No, not really, but they do love our home and we are constantly congratulated on what we were able to achieve with it. This is especially true for those of our friends who saw the mess that we originally had to work with. Much like we always wanted, our house has become the go-to pre and post party location and, thanks to our guest bedroom and bathroom, it’s the perfect place for friends to spend the night if they partied a little too much the night before.

Biggest Embarrassment: The basement. Unfinished staining on some of the beams in the bathroom and kitchen.

Proudest DIY: Well, I did singlehandedly decorate the house and most of the backyard. I would say, though, that my biggest source of pride in the house is the landing and stairs leading out of the kitchen. When we found the house, there was only a treacherously steep stairway that went immediately down from the kitchen into the lower deck; it was dangerous, unsightly, and provided no privacy from or for our neighbors (it basically required that we look down into the neighbors’ exposed yard every time we went into the backyard). I personally designed and drew up plans for the landing/stairway on my iPad and gave them to the contractor. This resulted in my entire vision coming into being and the achievement of privacy in our uniquely configured backyard.

Biggest Indulgence: While we tried to do most of the improvements and design as affordably as we could, we did set aside money for certain special features. For example, most of the prominent lighting fixtures, including the wall sconces and chandelier, are top notch.

Best Advice: Always account for at least an additional 15% on any calculations made for the costs of improvements. Things will always go wrong and you will need that buffer!

(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

Resources of Note:


  • Walls – Bridal Veil (W-D-600), Behr – Home Depot




(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

Thanks, Chris & Damian!

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