A Vaulted & Vibrant Home in Los Angeles

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Name: Alison Gilbert, Jon Polikowski (+ kids Ruby and Noah and dog Baxter St. James)
Location: Mount Washington — Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,456 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 4 years

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With two 5-year-old twins and a peppy pupster (Mr. Baxter St. James, if you please), it’s a wonder how Alison and Jon flawlessly renovated their Los Angeles post & beam home in just two years. The bright and inviting home is tucked in the hills of Mount Washington and boasts a colorful, yet streamlined interior that pops against the golden rolling hills just beyond the first floor balcony.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Alison is a local real estate agent who has seen her share of successful renovations. She opted to extend the vaulted ceilings into the upstairs which, coupled with an efficient layout, makes this home feel extremely open and spacious. However, even though Alison opted to keep it minimal and streamlined for an open feel, she did not skimp on whimsy and color. The home is full of personality and has just the right amount of quirky knick-knacks.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Inspiration: My paternal grandmother was incredibly stylish—even though her style was not exactly my taste (I would characterize hers as more “Chinoiserie Glam”)—she really had a point of view and loved decorating and acquiring special things. I feel like I have to incorporate something special of hers in every room. The red wood etched vessel set in my bedroom was hers, the Persian rug in the den and fruit bowl in the kitchen were all hers. Also my childhood home on Long Island — it was a mid-century and my parents re-imagined the interior into a real architectural modern – lots of contrasting angles and curves, streamlined furniture, abstract modern artwork and sculpture, etc. There are so many elements of this house and ideas I had in designing the renovation that came straight from my childhood home—my parents have great taste!

Favorite Element:
Alison: High ceilings and my houseplants!
Jon: Phillips Hue lighting

Biggest Challenge: Size – particularly the size of our bathrooms!

What Friends Say: “Wow,” love the high ceilings and the view. People also really love our dining room light — we have had a lot of neighbors mention that they are drawn to it from the street when walking by in the evening.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Biggest Embarrassment: We still have to deal with the backyard — build another set of steps (which we had to tear down when we built the addition) and finish some landscaping — used to have grass, but let it all die because of the drought and construction.

Proudest DIY: Outdoor room — we had the bench built a few years before we did the big renovation and I was adamant about making sure it stayed put! Everything out there is something I slapped together from what we had lying around…the table used to be our dining room table years ago and we painted it and I stenciled it; I used to be really into mosaic art (before the kiddos) and made a ton of mirrors and pieces that I used to have hanging in the house, but after the renovation I wanted a different kind of look and I clustered them all outside—I love the way they look out there!

The tassel wall hanging was something I decided to do with the tons of leftover yarn I had from various knitting projects. I saw something like it in an image on Pinterest and kind of just went with it. Also — refinishing/restuffing the vintage Westnofa chair and ottoman in the living room — I had been eyeing one on 1stDibs that was completely gorgeous and in perfect condition but it was over $3,000. Then randomly I was checking Craigslist one day and found the exact one I wanted for $400 in Hancock Park — I literally dropped everything and drove over there. The leather was really worn out and there were stains on it and the stuffing was really ancient. I found this leather stain product online and watched the tutorials over and over again and started to restore the leather. I then decided to take on the stuffing which wasn’t as easy — I ended up emailing back and forth with this woman who I found online who lives in Indianapolis and has a blog called ModHomeEc. Her name is Shelly Leer and she is sort of known for reupholstering mid-century modern furniture—she helped me SO much and I am eternally grateful for her!

Biggest Indulgence: Custom built-ins in den and master bedroom closet.

Best Advice: Start collecting things you love no matter where you live now or where you are in your life — you will eventually find a place for it and it will create a sense of history in your style.

Dream Sources: Design Within Reach, flea markets in places like India, Morocco

Get the look! Shopping Resources for this home → Global Mid-Century Modern in Los Angeles

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Thanks, Alison and Jon!

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