This 1953 California Classic Found a Second Life Thanks to a Design-Loving Young Couple

Seven years ago, a New York transplant was walking along Los Feliz Boulevard in Los Angeles when she saw an open house sign and decided to pop in. After spending most of her life on the East Coast, in both Miami and New York (and three years in a long-distance relationship with a man who lived in LA), she had sold her business and relocated to the West Coast to be closer to that boyfriend (now husband). At the time the couple lived in Beachwood Canyon, but had been on the hunt to buy a home for a while. “We would go out and see all of these houses and take tours,” the wife says, “but nothing felt quite right.” That afternoon in Los Feliz, she recalls: “The house was beautiful, but it was out of our price range. We didn’t find our home that day, but [it] brought me to this neighborhood.”

A small community that feels slightly off the beaten path, Los Feliz quickly became the epicenter for the couple’s real estate hunt—and not long after, another home in the area came up for sale. Designed by Johnston & D’Agostino Architects and built in 1953 for the Los Feliz Estates, the one-story home had the potential to be a midcentury charmer.

“You could already see the potential based on the shape, even though it was fully carpeted and covered in about 5,000 yards of fabric,” the wife recalls. “The couple before us had lived in the house since it was built. The wife’s name was Evelina—and the neighbors always referenced how wonderful they were and how much they loved to entertain.”

Determined to channel some of Evelina’s 1960s glamour into the much-needed renovation—in addition to an interiors overhaul, the home’s layout needed tweaking—the couple hired Daniel Rabin and Annie Ritz of Los Angeles–based And And And Studio to help them transform the dated structure into a warm, family-friendly abode. While the dated interior treatments stood out, “There was an amazing sawtooth living room ceiling with clerestory glass,” Rabin says. “The proportions, size, and flow needed a little nudging, but what we had to work with was a great place to start.”

After initial meetings with the homeowners, it was clear that everyone was on the same page when about the design approach. “Collectively, we set out with the goal of a renovation that would result in someone walking into the house and not necessarily being able to tell what’s new and what’s not,” Rabin notes. The homeowner adds: “It’s a personal pet peeve when someone renovates in a way that doesn’t feel right for the house.”

To create a blank slate, Rabin and Ritz took things down to the studs. “You could see through the entire house at one point,” Ritz says. Doors, windows, the exterior stucco, and the roof were all replaced using new materials. The flooring in the public spaces—living room, dining area, and kitchen—is poured terrazzo, which harkens back to the home’s original era. White oak was used for shelving, bedroom flooring, and other details to add warmth and cohesiveness, while Rabin and Ritz opted for a selection of finishes throughout the home to create depth and visual interest.

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