Hillside Home Renovation: A Stunning Transformation


See the amazing makeover of a LA residence, where the once-dark and outdated interior has been transformed into a sepia-toned rustic chic beauty.

This Charming Hillside Home Features A Unique Blend Of Rustic And Modern Design Elements.

The “after” photos are what catch our attention when we read about a house makeover; we have to image for ourselves what the location looked like before and how much of a makeover it underwent.

However, in the instance of this 1950s hillside house in Glendale, Los Angeles, the entire process has been documented, and the revelation is startling: this is how you update an older building without losing its eccentric appeal.

The Vision Behind the Transformation

Leading the project was Gibson House’s Naomi Gibson, who collaborated with the new owners, described as “a young, creative couple who wanted a verdant escape from the city.” There were various problems with the three-bedroom, two-bathroom hillside property.

Old carpets, closed-off rooms, and an excessive number of shutters characterized its archaic decor, which made it feel gloomy, even if practically every window offered views.

The odd layout of the first floor bathroom isolated it from the main living area.

Finally, there were trapezoid-shaped rooms, which were typical of hillside houses and presented a problem when it came to picking furnishings.

But Gibson was able to see the house’s redeeming qualities right away. The double-height, exposed wood-beam ceilings are “the most striking part of the architecture,” the author claims.

“Over the decades, the previous owners had remodeled the house, adding cedar-lined closets and redwood paneling.”

The new look of the hillside house was inspired by the woodwork in the rural cabin style, but updated with a subdued color scheme and high-end materials.


Creating a Chic Chalet Vibe

The designer states, “We wanted the house to feel like a chic chalet with Laurel Canyon vibes.”

We went with an organic color scheme of creams, greens, and wood tones to create a peaceful vibe.

The hillside property felt opulent because of the inventive ways in which polished marble was incorporated.

Examples include the kitchen counters with their curved splashbacks, the main bathroom’s custom-made Calacatta Viola marble sink, and the marble thresholds that separated the rooms.

But first Gibson needed to improve the flow between the split-level rooms by fixing the boxy layout.

With the kitchen now open to the living and dining rooms and the door to the inaccessible bathroom moved to link with the hallway, the open kitchen feels more integrated.

Situated a short flight of steps from the living area, it currently accommodates two guest bedrooms and features a rolltop bath, double basins, and a damaged tile floor.


Embracing the Original Features

In order to connect the kitchen and bathroom with the rest of the hillside house, Gibson took down the drop ceilings and exposed the beautiful oak ceiling beams.

She continues, “The bathroom ceiling was limewashed to lighten the space.” For the house to appear both refined and minimalist, the finishes were crucial.

According to Gibson, “the walls of limewashed plaster have a humble energy.” “Light and airy materials were chosen, but they also had to look tumbled and worn.”

A range of textures draws the eye around, giving the small spaces of the hillside home a sense of spaciousness, and retro light fixtures and furnishings inject flair.

Gibson says, “I love mixing eras as it makes a home feel personal and collected.” She picked the vintage Danish dining chairs from Amsterdam Modern to go with the wooden paneling and give them a rustic character.

Her solution to the asymmetrical design of the living room was to pair a Moroccan rug with a cognac-leather curving de Sede DS-63 sofa from the 1970s.


The Principal Suite and Outdoor Spaces

The main bedroom suite on the top level has access to a private deck; of course, the outside has also been taken into consideration in this makeover of a LA hillside property.

Gibson kept the original wooden shingles but painted them with Sherwin-Williams Alabaster instead of the worn-out green color.

She exclaims, “I adore the serene, creamy hue against the undulating hills.”

We installed an antique tiered horse fountain as a bird bath because the hillside house is surrounded by a canyon that is home to a variety of wildlife.

Time spent in the garden is a sensory experience enhanced by drought-tolerant plants such as lemon and olive trees, lavender, jasmine, sage, and rosemary.

“Enjoying the outdoors indoors is the essence of living in Los Angeles,” says Gibson.

“This home feels like a slice of paradise, even though it’s in the middle of the city, when all the windows are open and you’re relaxing in the sun and listening to the birds sing.”


Blending Old and New

The hillside house is a seamless combination of the ancient and the new. Gibson states, “I wanted to recreate the beautiful mahogany woodwork, and the fireplaces all had to be restored.”

The home’s past is protected thanks to the meticulous restoration work, and contemporary additions add comfort and flair.

The historical characteristics of the hillside house were complemented by the addition of vintage light fixtures and furniture, which gave the room flair.

Gibson says, “I love mixing eras because it makes a home feel personal and collected.”

A distinctive and welcoming ambiance is created by the eclectic blend of modern paintings, Spanish carpets from the 1930s, and Venetian chandeliers.


A Family-Friendly Home

Even with its opulent interior design, the hillside house is nevertheless suitable for a family. In addition to preserving the building’s grandeur, Bendet explains, “I wanted a place that felt grown-up and was fun for friends and family.”

The family can unwind and spend quality time together in the living area, which features a Moroccan rug and a sage green velvet sofa.

The family found the home more functional once the layout was changed to improve the movement between the rooms.

The main suite provides a secluded haven, while the open-concept kitchen and living areas are ideal for hosting guests.

The garden offers a tranquil outside area that the family may enjoy thanks to its vintage fountain and drought-tolerant plants.


A Modern Makeover with Character

This 1950s hillside house in Glendale, Los Angeles, is the ideal illustration of how to update a historic building without losing its eccentric appeal.

It’s a magnificent, family-friendly home thanks to Gibson House’s Naomi Gibson, who turned the dilapidated interior into a trendy chalet with Laurel Canyon overtones.

This hillside home renovation, with its eclectic mix of old and new, exemplifies the value of keeping original elements while modernizing the layout.

The end product is a gorgeous, hospitable house that seems like a little piece of paradise right in the middle of the city.

Explore more renovation ideas and start your home transformation now!

Photos: Nils Timm and Sterling Reed
July 10, 2024
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