Name: Minh and Ted
Location: Miracle Mile — Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,700 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years
When Minh and Ted received an unexpected offer on their West Hollywood place, within days they were on the hunt for a new place to call home. Their realtor found them a distressed house that required a lot of work - you never really know the scope of what you are getting into until you are deep in renovation. Minh and Ted shared their experience taking on a major renovation project…
Minh and Ted's new home needed more than a little TLC. It needed a complete renovation including re-glazing the windows, stripping/staining the floors, gutting the kitchen, gutting the bathrooms, replacing the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roof, exterior stucco walls and major repairs to the original plaster on the interior walls.
Ted explains how they were efficient with finishing the renovation on a reasonable time schedule.
"Minh took two months off of work to dedicate to the project. He created a plan that allowed many of the tradesmen to be working on the house in an overlapping schedule, which significantly shortened the time it took to complete the project. His goal was to retain the integrity of the home and to use fixtures and finishes that enhanced the existing architectural details, but were also still supremely functional."
Renovating a home always comes with a few unexpected surprises.
"This house was no exception. Sourcing fixtures and appliances always takes more lead time than you think. The plumber, for example, had never installed a ladylux faucet before, so he had difficulty with that. The kitchen cabinets were built by one contractor and the stone top by another, so fitting them together became an issue that had to be resolved.
You need to coordinate your inspections with the city and the electrical/plumbing contractors, so you can continue to move forward on schedule. Planning is king and having an accurate floor plan to work from will save you an immense amount of headaches later. Nothing is worse than ordering a bathtub that won't fit, a sofa that sticks out into the hallway or a lamp shade that hits you in the head every time you walk under it."
Minh and Ted relied on Los Angeles' wealth of design resources.
"There aren't many cities in the US with such an abundance of stores solely focused on kitchens, tiles, flooring, faucets and furniture. That is part of the beauty of Los Angeles, if you are looking for something different or unique for your house you are likely to find it here. Melrose, Beverly, Craigslist are all great resources and deep in the San Fernando valley you'll find tons of sources for countertops, flooring, and gardening."
Their renovation didn't stop at their interior space.
"The previous owner had clearly loved the outdoor space, but had not been able to tend to it or enjoy it for years. We had to go through the entire yard and rip out all of the dead underbrush and also clear out the existing foliage before we could start from scratch again. Additionally, there was a large glass wall sunroom off the master bedroom that had rotted through and had to be completely removed. We kept the cement footprint and turned it into an outdoor patio, which currently houses the large daybed and has a trellis over it to protect you from the sun."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Relaxed California Modern
Inspiration: A desire to create a vibrant and cozy space for living and working centered around a lush outdoor garden.
Favorite Element: The oversized daybed in the lazy hours of the late afternoon.
Biggest Challenge: To take a home that was built 80 years ago and blend the architectural elements with the needs of a modern life.
What Friends Say: That the home is constantly changing and that they always feel that they can kick back when they're here.
Biggest Embarrassment: We've never used the fireplaces in the eight years that we've lived here. Our Wheaten Terrier uses one of the fireplaces (it's level and clean) as her favorite spot to hang out.
Proudest DIY: Creating a drought tolerant landscape in the front yard
Biggest Indulgence: Being able to enjoy a bath in the studio space, while looking out into the garden.
Best Advice: Cover your fence in a fast-growing ivy for an instant lush view
Dream Source: Ralph Pucci and Craigslist
Resources of Note:
- KitchenAid: Refrigerator, stove
- Bosch: Dishwasher
Besides shopping at some of our favorite stores in LA, many items were purchased through Craigslist. LA is a great market for Craigslist, where you can find the most high-end items if you have the persistence to look and the speediness to get to the sellers first.
- Sofa: roomonline.com
- Thebes Stool: Blackman Cruz
- Coffee Table: Kenneth Corbonpue
- Slipper Chairs: Thomas O'Brien for Hickory Chair
- Steel Cabinet: Ikea
- Copper African Chair, Winston Side Table: Downtown
- Cork stool: Vitra
- Sofa: Crate&Barrel
- Cofee Table: Peter Sandback
- Vintage from Room107 (now Lawson Fenning)
- Bed: West Elm frame with custom headboard
- Dresser: Shelter
- Credenza: Vintage from Room107
- Sidetables: Thomas O'brien for Target
- Sofa: DWR
- Desks: West Elm
- Chairs: Philip Starck for Kartell
- Round Glass Table: Ross Lovegrove
- Vintage Bleached Oak Chairs: Downtown
- Small stool: Vitra
- Dedon through Janus et Cie
- Living room: Pillow (fabrics from Madeline Weinrib, Celerie Kemble), African wooden vessels from Blackman Cruz
- Study: Pillow (Madeline Weinrib, Judy Ross, Nate Berkus)
- Bedroom: Bedding from Hotel Collection at Macy's
- Studio: Vintage polo balls from Downtown, pottery by Andrew Dewitt, geodesic wooden object from Blackman Cruz
- Hardwood in most of the house
- Kitchen is ceramic tile because of its durability
- Studio space is Ardex (an engineered concrete material)
RUGS & CARPET
- Living Room: Williams-Sonoma
- Den: Cowhide via Craigslist
- Study: Ikea
TILES & STONE
- Bourget Bros. in Santa Monica
- CaesarStone in Kitchen
- Most rooms: Old Prairie by Benjamin More
- Most bathrooms: Gray Mirage by Benjamin Moore
- Studio: Decorator's White by Benjamin Moore
- Kitchen cabinets: Grey Stone (lower) and Bone (upper) from Farrow & Ball
- Minh's sister's sewed most of the draperies
- Solar Shades for most windows, great for blocking heat, great investment
- Blackout shades in the studio created from fabric bought in the garment district downtown
- Living room: Chandelier: Ziyi by Thomas O'Brien: Circa Lighting, Industrial lamp from Obsolete, Blue vintage lamp: Ebay. Floor lamp: Santa & Cole
- Study lamp collection: Panton lamp, Jonathan Adler, Flos, Roost, Fontana Arte, David Weeks, Blake Simpson
- Dining Room: Sconces from Obsolete">Obsolete
- Bedroom: Flos, Jonathan Adler
- Studio: Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen, Studioilse table lamp, Panthella Panton lamp, Moooi pendant lamp
- Living Room: Green circles: Weidman Gallery, Antique marble hand sculpture: Obsolete, Wood stones: Eric Singley
- Dining Room: Renee Norman
- Study: Collage by Kate & Laura Mulleavy for Rodarte, Beach photograph by Tim Roller
- TV Room: Paintings: Goran Djurovic from Obsolete">Obsolete, Vintage metal forms and wooden man-hole cover: Obsolete">Obsolete
Thanks Minh and Ted!
Images: Bethany Nauert
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