A 10-Year Remodel With Lofty Goal

This 1940s-era Colonial home remodel was ten years in the making, starting with the living room and ending with a new second-floor loft.
Pergola Bridges New & Old

Pergola Bridges New & Old

The painted wood pergola helps to connect the two-story addition to the original home, creating a lovely outdoor space overlooking the lawn and pool.

Photo by: Lee Manning Photography

Lee Manning Photography

What were the main items on your client's wish list for the remodel?

The main goal was to keep the original style and character of the old house but bring it up to date and make it usable. My clients bought the home because of its large, private backyard and existing pool. They wanted easy access to the exterior from any room, and they wanted a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors. The existing home had a beautiful front elevation, but an unsuccessful remodel from the '80s had left the interior a series of dark, choppy spaces.

We worked on this house in two phases over a period lasting more than ten years from start to finish! In the beginning we created a design for the entire house, then decided what could be done first and what needed to wait a few years. We ended up splitting the project in half, working on the living room and master renovation first, and tackling the kitchen and loft second.

Shady Front Yard With Trees

The manicured lawn enjoys the shade of towering trees, while lush tropical plantings line the walkway.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Colonial Refresher: Shutters & Lantern on Front of the House

The front of the house was revived with Colonial charm thanks to a new front door and black shutters.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Fireplace With Textured Stone Accent Wall

The fireplace wall features a dry-stacked stone facade with built-in shelves and lighting.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Open Kitchen With Blue Refrigerator & Cabinets

The dazzling kitchen has 12-foot ceilings with a combination of recessed, task and pendant lighting. The glazed brick backsplash has a heavy-duty quality that grounds the playful two-toned cabinetry.

Authentic Butcher Block Integrated Into Kitchen Island

The hunk of butcher block, discovered in a Michigan antique store, was integrated into the design of the oversized kitchen island.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Blue Wet Bar With Built-In Wine Rack

Beyond the kitchen, a new bar area keeps drinks easily on-hand thanks to a built-in wine rack and mini refrigerator. The colorful cabinetry and high-gloss backsplash energize the space.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Telescoping French Doors in Bright, White Kitchen

Telescoping French doors connect the kitchen to the covered patio, turning the open plan kitchen into an indoor-outdoor living space for seamless entertaining.

Kitchen Cabinets With Reclaimed Leaded Glass

The new pantry that adjoins the kitchen has custom cement tile on the floors and backsplash. The leaded glass panels on the cabinets were salvaged from the home's original front door.

Midcentury Modern Dining Room With Built-In Bookshelves

The dining room features a vaulted ceiling with painted boarding and battens. Less traditional in style, the built-in shelving is painted red. A midcentury modern dining set anchors the room.

Indoor-Outdoor Living Room With Sliding Glass Doors

Telescoping French doors transform this modern living room into an indoor-outdoor living space.

Covered Brick Patio With Pocket Doors

A new covered patio was added adjacent to the pool. French pocket doors open the patio to the pool bathroom for easy back and forth.

Second-Story Addition Overlooks Pool

A new two-story extension was added to the house. The ground floor comprises the new dining room, kitchen, bathroom and guest bedroom. The second floor is a bright loft space that is used as an office.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Pergola Bridges New & Old

The painted wood pergola helps to connect the two-story addition to the original home, creating a lovely outdoor space overlooking the lawn and pool.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Posh Contemporary Bedroom With Tray Ceiling

The eye is drawn upward in the master bedroom by a tray ceiling with painted wood battens. Warm and cool hues are held in visual tension to create a stylish but casual atmosphere. The mix of traditional textiles with contemporary furniture is spot-on.

Open Double Vanity in Gray and White Bathroom

The master bathroom has an open double vanity with a svelte marble countertop. Custom light boxes are housed between Robern medicine cabinets for polished modern look.

Walk-In Closet With Traditional Millwork

The master bedroom closet features custom-stained millwork and plenty of lighting. The space is large enough to double as a private yoga studio.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Custom Wallpaper Brightens Staircase

Custom-designed wallpaper transforms the staircase leading to the home office. Both youthful and smart, the multicolored stripes are affixed to the stair riser.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Hideaway Library With Built-In Shelves

The home office is lined with custom bookshelves that have uplighting hidden behind the crown. Complete with a vintage leather armchair, the space is a hideaway for book lovers.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Bright White Loft With Window Seat

The second-story addition houses a home office and relaxed loft. The new structural ceiling beams were exposed and painted a crisp white, giving the space a refreshing luminosity. The extra-long window seat and arched windows overlook the backyard pool.

Dove Gray Vanity With Beadboard Paneling

The vanity features custom millwork with beadboard inset panels. Marble tile and metallic fixtures complete the pristine look.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Porthole Window in Walk-In Shower

The bathroom was reworked to include a separate walk-in shower and tub. A porthole window was installed in the shower for natural light.

Photo By: Lee Manning Photography

Built-In Daybed in Guest Room Alcove

A built-in daybed was created for the guest bedroom, which has a nice view of the pool. Pull-out storage and wall-mounted lighting keep the floor free of extra furniture and clutter.

Basketweave Tile on Bathroom Floor

The pristine guest bathroom features beautiful tile in shades of gray. A subway tile backsplash continues around half of the room, while intricate basketweave tile is underfoot. The dark vanity with its beadboard-inspired front is dressed up with metallic hardware and an undermount sink.

What spaces were most important to your client?

The living room and kitchen were both really important. We designed them to be separate spaces that would be tied together outside when all the doors are open. The outdoor pergola is an extension of both rooms.

When my clients bought the house, the living room was in two sections: a small living space and an outdoor patio that had suffered an unsuccessful attempt at conversion into a TV room. The former kitchen wing included a kitchen, dining room, maid's room and a small bath. We removed all the walls to create a large family kitchen with an open floor plan.

Outside, an old pergola was replaced with a larger one set on brick plinths that can double as seating. This new outdoor space now serves as the main dining room for my clients.

One of my clients works from home, so the new second story loft was another important space. I wanted it to look like an original part of the house. Our goal was to make the exterior look like a large dormer window, but to have a sense of space on the inside. Guests are surprised at how lofty the second floor feels.

How well was the original space working for your clients, and what changes did you make to help it fit their lifestyle?

These clients are very colorful people, but the old house did not reflect that at all. We worked together to create a really fun, vibrant space. I presented some rather bold color schemes, and the clients were agreeable to them from the start.

The striped stairs were a late addition that I really love. We were thinking of adding some colorful tiles to the risers, but we hadn't found anything that had the "wow" factor we were looking for. Then one of the homeowners brought a beautiful striped shirt to one of our meetings and asked if the stairs could match the shirt, and the rest is history! We adapted the concept to the wallpaper as well.

My clients often entertain large groups. The house now easily accommodates groups of 100 or more without feeling crowded. Because of the mild southern California weather, parties can easily flow inside and out.

What were your biggest obstacles in the remodel, and how did you address them?

The new second floor loft is my favorite space and was the most challenging to design. I was especially concerned about keeping the exterior roofline low, so it looked like a large dormer, while creating a lofty feel inside. This was not easy! I ended up exposing all of the interior roof framing to open things up as much as we could. There is a lot of "stuff" that usually goes in between those roof joists—insulation, lighting, electrical conduits—and we had to figure out a place for it all to go. We ended up putting the required amount of rigid insulation on top of the roof, and then used uplighting and a central pendant to light the space. Two of the beams are slightly larger than the rest to hide some electrical conduit. But don't tell anyone…

The kitchen island was another big challenge. We had a particular size in mind for the island, and my clients wanted to use a single slab of soapstone for the entire countertop. We would find what we thought was the perfect piece, only to learn that the vendor didn't have enough to meet our needs. It took weeks to find the stone, but we finally managed. The island cabinetry was then built to fit the slab. My clients found the kitchen's antique chopping block while on vacation in Michigan. It was easy to design it to fit, but supporting it was another story. That thing weighs a ton! So the island was easy to draw but quite a challenge to make a reality.

How did you make transitions from room to room without losing the individuality of each space?

One trick I used for easing transitions from one space to another is to use a consistent threshold. In this case, we used a chunky cased opening at the transition from foyer to living room, living room to kitchen, and kitchen to stair hall. The spaces all have different ceiling heights, but this unifying element draws them all together. The hand-scraped hickory floor is continuous throughout the space as well.

Was there a specific piece of furniture, fabric, color, texture or piece of art that was essential to bringing the design together? Is there a pattern, material or color that's repeated throughout the home?

We started with a subtle nautical theme, which can be seen throughout the house. At one of our first design meetings my clients showed me an antique porthole window that they had in storage. We found a home for it in the guest bathroom shower. From there, I added shiplap boarding to several rooms, and we chose nautical light fixtures as well. The blues used in the kitchen were also ocean-inspired.

What's the best thing about this home, in your opinion?

What I love most is that this home is unique to my clients. It was a true collaboration, perfectly balancing my design sense with their personalities.

The addition of the loft space on the second floor is packed full of beautiful architectural elements with the beams, arched windows and built-ins. What was the inspiration behind this space? How did you work with the existing structure to create the addition?

What a lot of visitors won't realize is that most of this wing of the house is new, and to me that's a huge compliment! When designing additions to older homes my main goal is to make it look original. I did a lot of research on French-inspired homes like this one, and I found several beautiful images of arched windows. The idea of a built-in daybed along a wall of arched windows seemed perfect, and the view of the pool from that space is beautiful.

As the addition took shape, I had to figure out how to maximize the interior volume while keeping the "dormer" feel on the exterior (as explained before). The last thing I wanted was a huge box looming over the backyard. I wanted the second floor to feel quiet on the exterior.

What makes this project uniquely yours? How did you use integrate your style into this project?

My work takes inspiration from beach houses, with lots of painted wall and ceiling boards, as well as basic flat moldings. I like to use simple, clean lines and then inject color. I love when clients are willing to use colors that aren't typically used, such as the bold red in the dining room shelving or the striped stairs.

I guess colorful kitchens are becoming my trademark! We chose the blue cabinet colors in the kitchen, and then my clients picked out that red Viking range which was the final pop.

What are the "hidden gems" that helped make your design a success?

I like to add cozy nooks wherever possible. In this house they have the daybed in the second floor loft as well as another daybed in the guest bedroom overlooking the pool. It's large enough for an adult (or a few kids) to sleep there. We added a TV on one wall so it doubles as a great place to watch a movie. It's also the favorite spot for their two dogs.

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Jeff Troyer Associates

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Jeff W Troyer Associates
www.jefftroyer.com AIA 3523 Beverly RIdge Drive Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 310-800-2930