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This century-old cottage has been transformed from a cramped maze of rooms into a free-flowing contemporary home
Interior view of this traditional home interior design, living room, property, room, gray
Interior view of this traditional home

Located southwest of downtown Los Angeles, the district of Venice has enjoyed a chequered history since its inception in the 19th century. Its most widely known incarnation is that of resort town, drawing many thousands of visitors each weekend.

Built in 1910 for Abbot Kinney, the man who dreamed up the Venice of America project, and who later became its mayor, the featured property was stumbled upon 22 years ago by the current owners, who have used it as a base when in California, says architect Ralph Mechur.

"The house had not been renovated for a number of years and could best be described as run down, with uneven floors, a roof that sagged and worn exterior cladding.

"We undertook a complete remodel of the upstairs, removing all of the internal walls and reconfiguring the space into three bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom. Downstairs, the floor plan has remained essentially the same, but the kitchen has been updated and the wooden floors replaced," says Mechur.

"The house was typical of the area two storeys crammed with small rooms and low ceilings. It was a nightmare, but had good bones and was crying out to be made over," says the owner, who is also an interior designer.


Bottom of the stairway features timber railings & daylighting, floor, handrail, hardwood, home, house, property, stairs, wood, white
Bottom of the stairway features timber railings & steps

As the home is close to the beach, the owner says she wanted to create a light, seaside feel with the interior. A range of colours in shades of blue and green has been used in the bedrooms, while the mostly white living areas are augmented with black and a bold turquoise.

"The neutral palette of grey-blue and silver sage has been teamed with wide-planked, white-limed French walnut floors. This serves to evoke a romantic cottage-by-the-sea aesthetic."

Furniture and furnishings are pieces that have been collected over time as you would expect in a beach cottage but also reflect the owner's eco-consciousness.

"Having studied environmental interior design, I understand just how important sustainable design is and strive to incorporate it into every project."

"For this project, we recycled as much of the building material as was practical, and we used recycled wood for the flooring and beams. Low-VOC paints were selected, and natural materials such as hemp used for curtains and slipcovers," says the owner.

Bedroom with windows overlooking the gardens architecture, bed, bed frame, bedroom, ceiling, daylighting, floor, home, house, interior design, property, real estate, room, wall, window, gray, white
Bedroom with windows overlooking the gardens

Despite the building's historical aspect, it was not considered a landmark home, so the owners were allowed to make changes to the facade although these were minimal, says Mechur.

"Because the owners had no intention of altering the overall look of the property, externally we replaced cladding as needed which was milled to suit and enclosed the open veranda to provide an extra year-round living space. Otherwise, the house looks the same as it did in 1910."

As an ongoing project, the owner is planning on landscaping the side garden to include a swimming pool and outdoor entertaining area.

Oct 30, 2010
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