Before and After: An LA Townhouse’s Elegant Refresh Will Make You Rethink Open-Concept

published Jul 25, 2023
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loft stairs, multi floor, wood floors, cut out window in wall, chandelier, shutters
Credit: Ome Dezin

In design, the setting often influences the style. When Joelle Kutner and Jesse Rudolph, co-founders of Ome Dezin studio, first looked upon this home in Santa Monica, California, it was clear which direction their creativity would go. 

Quick Overview

A Year-Long Renovation of a Santa Monica Townhouse

Joelle Kutner and Jesse Rudolph, co-founders of Ome Dezin studio, renovated a townhouse that once had all-over carpeting into a stylish haven of natural woods and soft creams.

Credit: Ome Dezin

“The home is so close to the beach and had a great interior orientation, which is what initially drew us in,” Kutner says.

Natural light illuminated nearly all corners of the 1,900-square-foot townhouse, and palm trees could be viewed from generous windows. A sliver of ocean could be seen from a living room and adjoining balcony, and it was just a short walk to the shore. But, as is always the case with too-good-to-be-true address descriptions (at least at the beginning of a story, anyway), is that every inch was dated — like, an episode of Brady Bunch dated. 

Credit: Ome Dezin

“The home had a great ’70s vibe with shag carpets in every room, even in the bathrooms,” Kutner continues. “Although the home was outdated, it still had charm and character. We could envision what it could become.”

The pair wanted a renovation to underscore a “quiet elegance,” Rudolph says, where a future family would feel comfortable and calm. And because of the home’s proximity to the beach, Kutner and Rudolph also sought to highlight the area’s surrounding beauty and culture, too. 

“The neighborhood is quiet and energetic at the same time,” Rudolph says. “It is well-suited to people who enjoy long walks or biking along the boardwalk and summer dips in the ocean.”

Credit: Virtually Here Studios

The all-over carpeting in the two bedrooms and bathrooms (plus a den and powder room) had to go, as did the yellow-tinted walls and brown tiles around the fireplace. They landed on a neutral palette of soft creams and warm woods, which spoke to California’s famous casual-cool aesthetic. But they punctuated that with black accents that would mostly frame the windows, and details of green and gold that would glitter in the sun. In other words, the home would feel more streamlined without losing its warmth. 

Credit: Virtually Here Studios

“The marble we chose for the kitchen has beautiful natural tones, and the lines of it move like subtle ocean waves,” Rudolph says. “We kept the garden window above the sink, as it’s original and brought in so much light.” 

Speaking of important details worth holding on to, here’s something to remember for your own reno dreams: Instead of knocking down walls to satisfy the open-concept trend, many were kept during the year-long project. The one between the kitchen and dining space was removed and glass replaced the half-wall in the living room, as two prominent examples of change, but most of the structure stayed intact. Seeing as the materials repeated throughout the home, and natural light was at a premium, the walls feel more cozy than constricting. 

Credit: Virtually Here Studios

“It was important for us to design the home to mirror its surroundings,” Kutner says. “Your interior should be an extension of what you see outside your window.”

The year-long project was recently finished, and after briefly enjoying the place to themselves, they’re looking forward to handing it over to a family soon. For now, Kutner and Rudolph are happy they were able to set this home on a new path. 

“Renovations are always fun for us,” Rudolph says. “We love seeing the potential, the evolution, and the final product of each project.”