A Breezy Midcentury Renovation in the Hollywood Hills

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By Sarah Akkoush / Published by Dwell
For this 1957 Fickett, a closed off kitchen gets thoughtfully reimagined with the help of Dan Brunn Architecture and Bosch Home Appliances.

In Los Angeles’s Nichols Canyon, architect Dan Brunn was tasked with renovating a home rich in architectural history, but lacking in modern functionality. The post-and-beam structure, built in 1957, was the work of famed architect Edward Fickett, a designer of thousands of post-war modernist homes in Southern California. Fickett was a master of light, scale, and proportion, as well as a champion of cost-effective, quality building. Despite his skill and merit, he was largely underappreciated in his time.

The historical value of the home was important to honor as Brunn went about reimagining the space with his clients’ needs in mind. Original features, such as the concrete-and-brick fireplace and clerestory windows, were preserved and celebrated. The owners, New York transplants, wanted to optimize for enjoyment of the California climate in their new home. For Brunn, this meant opening up social spaces as much as possible to emphasize indoor-outdoor living. The existing kitchen, though simple and practical, was closed off from the rest of the living space. A major objective of the renovation would be to give the kitchen a visual and functional overhaul, while tying it into the rest of the home.

Brunn was careful to inject his aesthetic of "clean modernism" into the space in a way that would complement what was already special about the property. The choice to integrate Bosch home appliances into the new kitchen was a natural one, considering Brunn’s attraction to clean and balanced lines, and defined functional purpose. As the new design unfolded and developed, Bosch’s rich heritage of Bauhaus design proved a perfect fit for moving the midcentury charmer into the present age.

In the kitchen, the dividing wall was removed and a new island added. Integrated into the island is Bosch’s Benchmark Series 24" Panel Ready Dishwasher. In addition to being super quiet (boasting a 39 dBA rating), the clients loved the ease of loading made possible by the dishwasher’s functional third rack.

A Breezy Midcentury Renovation in the Hollywood Hills - Photo 1 of 2 - The panel ready dishwasher, with functional third rack, is tucked seamlessly into the kitchen island.

The panel ready dishwasher, with functional third rack, is tucked seamlessly into the kitchen island.

The appliances found their home on the wall beneath the existing clerestories, now visible from the open kitchen/living area. Dual ovens, emphasized on the clients’ wish list, were stacked on the wall beneath the clerestories. Bosch’s Benchmark Series 30" Speed Combination Oven is a perfectly balanced pair, offering clean lines and sitting flush against the kitchen cabinetry. In addition to the convection oven, the speed oven cooks faster than a traditional oven and can be used as a microwave.

A Breezy Midcentury Renovation in the Hollywood Hills - Photo 2 of 2 - The sleek oven duo, aligned beautifully with clerestories above, sits flush with kitchen cabinetry.

The sleek oven duo, aligned beautifully with clerestories above, sits flush with kitchen cabinetry.

Rounding out the appliance package is Bosch’s Benchmark Series 36" 5 Burner Gas Cooktop. The stainless steel cooktop marries an understated aesthetic with premium power, boasting a 20,000 BTU dual-stacked center burner. Accompanying the cooktop is Bosch’s 36" Downdraft. The downdraft rises over 13", and lowers out of view when not in use. Dan Brunn sings the praises of downdrafts, and wishes more homeowners would embrace their benefits. In addition to increasing usable storage space in the kitchen, downdrafts like this one from Bosch are quieter than regular vents, just as strong in terms of air circulation, and super easy to clean with dishwasher-safe filters.

Integrating Bosch home appliances into the project allowed Dan Brunn to transform his clients’ kitchen into an inviting and entertaining-ready space, packed with top-tier function. Through the renovation, the kitchen was tastefully modernized, all while honoring the original design intent of the historically significant dwelling.

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