Magazine article Sunset

Creating a Second Chance: A Tiny Santa Monica Cottage Gets a New, Right-Size Lease on Life

Magazine article Sunset

Creating a Second Chance: A Tiny Santa Monica Cottage Gets a New, Right-Size Lease on Life

Article excerpt

OFF TO A GOOD START Purchased in 2000, the charming "Monopoly house" (as its owners describe it) also came with a friendly, walkable neighborhood

UP FOR A REDO "The 1930s residence was billed as a teardown, and most people would have started over," says Julie Hart, an architectural designer. Instead, when she first saw the house, she climbed to the attic to make sure she could raise the ceiling to the rafters and open up the cramped rooms.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

PLANNING AHEAD After buying the 900-square-foot home with partner Monet LeMon, an executive recruiter for nonprofits, Hart worked out a budget-friendly scheme that scheduled critical renovations during the first six months (while the couple continued to live elsewhere) and chipped away at the rest of their wish list over several years.

OPENING UP With interior walls and the ceiling removed (and support beams installed), the living, cooking, and dining now take place in one large open area at the front of the house. From there, traffic flows easily out of sliding glass doors to a new entertaining deck at the rear.

MAXIMIZING LIGHT New oversize windows and skylights invite in the sunshine. Walls are painted a light-bouncing white, while white ceramic subway tiles brighten the kitchen and baths. For contrast, the wooden floors are stained in a custom mix of ebony and dark walnut shades; the high-gloss polyurethane top coat reflects even more light.

TEAR DOWN THOSE WALLS

Cramped, dark rooms became light-filled, loftlike spaces

BUMPING OUT By extending the master bedroom into the backyard, the couple gained 250 square feet, which they used for a walk-in closet and a second bath.

NEXT STEPS As funds allowed, the pair added a home office and a laundry to the garage and put in a garden with a bubbling fountain and a pint-size lawn for their Jack Russell terriers, Pearl and Buck. …

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