A move from New York brought Galit Ptalis and her husband back to their native California just in time for their daughter’s birth. At first, the couple never dreamed they would find an affordable home in Marina del Rey, the seaside enclave not far from Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
They eventually stumbled across an unassuming listing, one with a lofty interior atrium hidden behind an austere facade. Although the home was dated, the couple envisioned more for the space. With their offer accepted, second thoughts initially led them to back out of the deal. Later, when they regretted letting go of their dream house, it was almost too late.
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"We called our agent and the home was already in escrow with someone else," says Ptalis. "I agonized over our decision to let it go. Three months passed and we just kept following up. Then, we heard the other buyers were unable to close, so we jumped back in and got the house."
The home was originally built by local architect Frederick Fisher, who worked as an apprentice at Frank Gehry’s Venice Beach office earlier in his career. Although not always widely recognized, Fisher’s 40-year career has spanned a variety of projects, including most recently several large public commissions around Los Angeles.
Ptalis reflects on the renovation process: "The house is more modern than our previous homes, so the biggest challenge was bringing my own style into the space. For the kitchen specifically, I wanted a bold design that would contrast with the high ceilings and stark, white walls."
"The bedrooms are oddly shaped and sized, but we figured out how to work with them, adds Ptalis. "It was important for me to have a clean slate and rethink the way each space could accommodate our furniture. Our changes to the bedrooms were minimal, with more work done in the bathroom."
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For each of the bedrooms, the couple decided to go with an organic Avocado Mattress. "I’ve recommended the brand to everyone I know, and I’m not just saying that. I’ve had problems with my back in the past, but I don’t experience as many issues anymore," says Ptalis. "It also gives me comfort to know the place where my family and guests sleep every night is free of toxins."
In a 1989 LA Times article discussing the home’s design, Fred Levine, Adam Levine’s father, was quoted as saying to Fisher before beginning the project, "I just want you to have a good time." This creative latitude led Fisher to explore different uses of space and light within the home—features that Ptalis and her family embraced during the renovation.
"Fisher so thoughtfully designed the home, and I love how light reflects differently throughout the day. It’s such a special experience for us," says Ptalis. "It’s also cool that Adam signed his name on the garage floor," she adds.
Interior Design: Galit Ptalis / @interiorenvy