Designer Kirsten Blazek looked to Ojai and the Southwest for inspiration when creating her own Pasadena abode.
The fireplace nook features a piece sourced from Saatchi Art. “The striking, bold color of the fireplace ties in nicely with the black window trim,” says designer Kirsten Blazek. “The white oak mantel beautifully offsets the dark paint.”
Kirsten Blazek may have been born and raised in Scotland, but you wouldn't know it from her aesthetic. "Even though I'm from Scotland, my personal aesthetic is very influenced by the West. I'm drawn to all things Native American and Southwestern," she explains. "I must have lived here in a previous life."
House of Hackney’s Artemis wallpaper brings the powder room to life.
When the designer—principal of the firm A 1000 x Better—was looking for a new house for herself and her family, she landed on a run-down California ranch-style home in Linda Vista, a quiet, green area in Pasadena located close to the Rose Bowl stadium, overlooking the San Gabriel Mountains. "I was craving getting back to a [greener] part of Los Angeles with less traffic," says Blazek, who lived in the Hollywood Hills before moving.
Rejuvenation pendants hover over the kitchen lined with cabinets by Semihandmade.
Besides the great location, the house itself didn't have much to offer. "It was super plain Jane, all cream and owned by the same family since the '40s," Blazek explains. "I think it went through one remodel in the '80s, so was very dated inside, and the yard was not in great shape." One redeeming factor in addition to the location was the layout. "It was naturally good, a California ranch in an L shape, which was perfect," she says. "I saw the potential and knew I could make it super cool."
“I love how the fireplace complements the black-and-white Cole & Son wallpaper,” says Blazek, “which provides a neutral backdrop for the art and decor to shine”
To make the home what she wanted it to be, a major overhaul was needed, something that forced Blazek and co. to move into less-than-ideal temporary accommodations. The upside—in hindsight—was that the cramped home encouraged Blazek to complete the remodel in four and a half months. "I still don't really understand how we did it," she says with a laugh.
The dining room houses a table from MidcenturyLA, chairs from Pacific Green and a pendant from The California Workshop.
Inspiration for the home's design was sparked by Blazek's love of Ojai, the magical mountain town northeast of L.A, and the American Southwest at large. "I generally work very organically—I like to get a feel for the house and go with that," she says. "To me, being a classic California ranch, this house spoke of Ojai. It had high vibes from the beginning, so that was my natural, first instinct about the house." As she does for most projects, Blazek started the design process by working off one item and jumping off from there. This time it was a graphic tile from Cle's New West collection used in the kitchen. "It really spoke to me," she says. The board and batten at the front of the house also informed the design direction that ended up including mixed woods, whimsical patterns, natural materials and vintage pieces throughout.
Milton & King’s cactus wallpaper lines Blazek’s daughter’s room. The bed is by Pacific Green.
After taking the entire home pretty much down to the studs, Blazek and team reworked the home's layout, taking away the formal dining room and converting it into an additional bedroom and bathroom. Instead of replacing the flooring, Blazek decided to match the original skinny plank red oak wood floors, ultimately leveling and bleaching all of the flooring, new and old, for consistency.
The serene primary bathroom
The kitchen—now filled with Semihandmade cabinetry and handles, an AGA fridge, Rejuvenation pendants and more—was a complete teardown, and the ceilings in what's now the main family room were raised from 8 feet to about 12 feet. Doorways were widened, new plumbing and electrical was installed—pretty much everything was reworked.
The space features fixtures by Kohler Purist and hardware by Schoolhouse.
Inside, most walls were given fresh coats of Benjamin Moore's White Dove paint, while others were enhanced by shiplap or whimsical wallpaper from Cole & Son, Milton & King, Lulu and Georgia, and House of Hackney. "I'm very much about not overdecorating, but adding texture through wall treatments," Blazek says. "I love wallpaper, and liked using shiplap here because it felt authentic to the house."
The living room houses an Article sofa, artwork by Mark Maggiori and a pendant light by Andrew Neyer
Furniture-wise, Blazek went with new larger pieces like the Article sofa in the living room and the Pacific Green bed in her daughter's bedroom, then accented with vintage pieces (many from MidcenturyLA, others from thrifting in Palm Springs, Santa Ynez and other places Blazek loves to travel to) and artwork from some of her favorites, including Mark Maggiori, Gabriel Rivera and Heather Levine. "I don't like to live formally or like formal things," she says. "The house is comfortable to live in. It looks pulled together and sophisticated, but it's also very casual and not precious." When can we come over?
Blazek completely redid the California ranch’s exterior.
Article dining chairs surround a table from Living Spaces.
INTERIOR & LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Kristen Blazek, A 1000 x Better a1000xbetter.com
Bayside Builders baysidebuildersca.com
Living room pendant andrewneyer.com
Living room sofa, daughter’s room table lamps, outdoor dining chairs article.com
Interior paint throughout benjaminmoore.com
Formal living room sofa, daughter’s room table lamps cb2.com
COLE & SON
Formal living room wallpaper cole-and-son.com
HOUSE OF HACKNEY
Powder room wallpaper houseofhackney.com
Formal living room coffee table industrywest.com
Rugs throughout mehraban.com
Dining room table midcenturyla.com
Daughter’s room bed, dining room chairs pacificgreen.net
Kitchen pendant lights rejuvenation.com
Photography by: Alex Zarour, Virtually Here Studios