Before & After: A Bill Mack Midcentury Gem Gets a Gorgeous Remodel in Three Months Flat
Interior designer and artist Christa Martin and her husband, TV executive and creative director Geoff Katz, were looking for a house with open ceilings, natural light, privacy, views, and a commute within 30 minutes for Katz. After seeing more a dozen properties, they finally found their dream house on the edge of Bel Air—a 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom, post-and-beam, midcentury house designed by well-known architect Bill Mack.
Christa began working on the redesign while the property was in escrow. The structure and foundation were sound, but the house had been neglected for 40 years—and the kitchen and baths were no longer functioning. They kept the property's original footprint, but improved the flow and function by relocating the closets and some of the doors.
Before: Entrance Door
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After: Entrance Door
The old kitchen and baths were stripped down to the studs and reworked to create larger, more contemporary spaces.
Before: Living Room
After: Living Room
"I always start with the architecture, the landscape, and the character of the house. I wanted to enhance what was already in existence – it’s more sustainable, and I think a little age and patina makes a house feel homey. For this house, I wanted a casual, lived-in, and comfortable space that would be easy to maintain. Nothing too precious or complicated. We were determined to be living in the house within three months, so we needed to select stock fixtures and finishes. My mantra became ‘do the simple thing’—if I thought of a solution that worked, we did it and moved on," says Martin.
They left the building’s envelope intact, preserved most of the existing windows (including the reeded glass along the entry atrium), and retained the open ceilings and the wood-burning fireplace.
The couple also sanded and sealed the wood ceilings, removed posts and window frames, relocated the closets and cabinets for better circulation, modernized the kitchen and bathrooms, and gave the exterior and interior walls a fresh coat of white paint.
The couple replaced the old aluminum windows with wood-framed fixed glass, and they swapped the old water heater with an on-demand unit. They removed the washer and dryer from the second bedroom and installed a stacked set behind flush walnut panels in the hallway. The site where the washer and dryer used to sit now features large windows that look out upon the patio.
"My goal was to bring this house back to life and make it a home. I wanted to strip away the damage that had happened over the years and make the architecture sing again. I created a palette of natural wood, soft white walls, and concrete floors with accents of blue. The finished house is open, light-filled, and private, with patio doors coaxing everyone out into the sunny backyard," says Martin.