Designers Ondine Karady and Susan Davis Taylor worked with architect Barbara Bestor on updating a historic Hancock Park abode with colorful, contemporary flourishes.
A 1920S SPANISH GEM IN HANCOCK PARK GETS A COLORFUL CONTEMPORARY UPGRADE—WITHOUT EVER LOSING ITS CHARACTER AND CHARM.
“The challenge was: How do we make this 1920 Spanish Revival work for contemporary living while also keeping in step with its roots?” –SUSAN DAVIS TAYLOR
A primary bedroom nook houses a custom daybed upholstered in Larsen fabric—and dotted with Judy Ross pillows—is one of the homeowner’s favorite spots.
There’s a lot to love about L.A.’s iconic Spanish architecture. The red tile roofs, white stucco exteriors and arched doorways are still desirable now, about 100 years since the style first became popular in California. But the original interiors are often dark and filled with lots of small rooms—a far cry from the light-filled open spaces most homeowners crave today.
A B&B Italia table, vintage bentwood dining chairs in Edelman leather and a light by Lindsey Adelman coexist beautifully in the dining room.
This exact issue came into play for a bicoastal couple in the entertainment industry—he’s a writer-director; she’s an actress—who found a 1920s gem in L.A.’s stately Hancock Park neighborhood after searching for five long years. “They were apartment dweller types who moved to L.A. and had a beautiful apartment close by at the El Royale,” explains L.A.-based architect Barbara Bestor, who oversaw the project with interior designers Susan Davis Taylor (also from L.A.) and New York-based Ondine Karady. “They wanted to give themselves and their daughter more space but were afraid to commit to a house.” The roomy home they landed on—walkable to shops, restaurants and other city-dweller conveniences in Larchmont Village—fit the bill perfectly in terms of location, but needed quite a bit of work to bring it up to the living standards they required.
In the kitchen, a dining banquette covered in sunny Maharam fabric surrounds a Saarinen table.
Bestor—who serves as a director at the Los Angeles Conservancy and has restored homes by Lautner, Schindler and Paul Williams—is well-versed in updating historic spaces in a way that preserves integrity while making them more livable. “This house had lots of wonderful rooms but some parts that weren’t as usable or family-friendly,” she says. “It’s an architectural gem,” adds Davis Taylor. “But they really wanted to make it more contemporary to suit their style. The challenge was: How do we make this 1920s Spanish Revival work for contemporary living while also keeping in step with its roots?”
The open kitchen’s Beso bar stools invite guests to hang out around the soapstone island.
The team worked together to open up the kitchen and dining spaces, connect the downstairs living space to the outdoors, reformat the multiple bedrooms into two large apartmentlike suites (one for the husband and wife; one for the daughter) and more. “We spent a lot of time figuring out what the family’s needs were and making the house very specific to them,” says Davis Taylor, who calls out details like a playroom connected to the daughter’s bedroom, and an arts and crafts room located off the kitchen. “That’s her space to be creative when her parents are cooking,” she adds. All the while, the home’s wide archways, fireplace, staircase tile and most of the original windows were preserved, keeping the architectural integrity intact. “There were all of these tributes the homeowners wanted to leave to the original architect,” says Davis Taylor.
Benjamin Moore paint in Lawn Green transforms a dated closet.
Color played a big part in the overall design scheme. “The strategy was to go bold with color in the private, smaller places but not in the larger public ones because that can get a little overwhelming,” explains Bestor, who looked to artist Alexander Girard’s Santa Fe home for inspiration. A Jack-and-Jill closet upstairs was painted in Benjamin Moore’s Lawn Green shade, while the kitchen pantry was coated in a lively pumpkin color. “Color is a good transformer when you have an older house,” says Bestor. “If you paint antique cabinets in a different color—a rich, glossy enamel—they’re suddenly this whole new thing.” A custom dining booth (formerly a phone booth), upholstered in a sunny Maharam fabric, brightens up the kitchen. “They’re definitely not afraid of color, which is so refreshing in a world where everything is neutral right now,” says Davis Taylor.
The living room—which contains a De Padova sofa, vintage Milo Baughman armchairs and a settee sourced from The Future Perfect—exudes an air of laid-back sophistication.
The primary bedroom—complete with a gorgeous nook for reading, drinking wine and hanging out—sings with dashes of color here and there, as seen in Judy Ross curtains and fabric, and the bed, custom by Ondine Karady Design. The powder room, covered in a deep violet, red and pink patterned wallpaper designed by Karady—formerly a set designer on Sex and the City—and anchored by a custom vanity by Bestor, makes it a small yet mighty standout space.
Designer Ondine Karady’s wallpaper lines the powder room.
Meanwhile, public spaces like the living room—decorated with vintage Milo Baughman armchairs upholstered in a deep-red Maharam fabric, a settee and sconces from The Future Perfect, a De Padova Square 16 sofa and a custom coffee table by Karady and Davis Taylor—are more subdued and timeless, but far from boring due to the curated mix of vintage and custom-made furniture, and the couple’s carefully considered art collection. The dining room’s classic B&B Italia dining table and vintage bentwood dining chairs are topped off with a sculptural chandelier by Lindsey Adelman, furthering the overall classic-with-a-twist aesthetic.
All in all, the yearlong project was a huge success, with all parties pleased as punch at the outcome. “The clients were elated and super grateful,” says Davis Taylor. “It was the perfect combination of clients that trust the process—it really was the perfect project.”
The daughter has several places to herself in the home, including this color-coordinated custom bookshelf-desk. Photographed by Trevor Tondro
Hancock Park, Los Angeles
Luis Chavez, LC Construction
Michael Kirchmann, Anigo Garden Design
Primary bedroom nook sconces
Dining room table
Living room sofa
JUDY ROSS TEXTILES
Primary bedroom pillow and curtain fabric
Dining room light
Living room armchair and kitchen banquette fabric
THE FUTURE PERFECT
Living room settee and sconces
Photography by: Trevor Tondro