Carlos Naude and Whitney Brown of Working Holiday Studio, who previously transformed a humdrum home in Joshua Tree into a chic rental called Casa Mami, came to us with another project, documented through the stages. This time, they teamed up with real estate developer Zach Leigh and his wife Lourdes Hernández (who you might know as singer-songwriter Russian Red).
Leigh and Hernández are no strangers to renovations. Leigh’s a Los Angeles native who’s been working on properties in the area for 18 years; in 2016, he and Hernández converted a 4,000-square-foot church into an indoor/outdoor event space called The Ruby Street—and their Los Feliz home is currently for sale.
Below, read Naude’s account of how they joined forces to work on the remodel, interior design, and branding of the Silver Lake home, which is now on the market.
1. Finding the Perfect House to "Flip"
Truth be told, we really dislike the word "flip" because it connotes "cheap," but seeing the care and attention to detail with which Zach approaches his projects is truly inspiring.
When it comes to finding the ideal property, three things come to mind— location, location, location. This house is nestled in the heart of the hip L.A. neighborhood of Silver Lake (and we couldn’t have found it without the help of our friend Juan Longfellow at Deasy Penner Podley).
The house also checked all the boxes for a young family in terms of square footage, outdoor space, and even potential for an accessory dwelling unit in the form of a garage—meaning additional income for the new owners, or a place to host in the in-laws.
2. Defining the Vibe
The house had amazing bones and character with its round archways, craftsman windows and doors, and plenty of natural light, so we wanted to embrace its inherent charm, modernizing it while keeping things simple and timeless. We landed on a mix of midcentury modern, Scandinavian, and Mediterranean influences for a look that’s clean, but also warm and inviting. It seems to be a style we keep coming back to.
3. The Transformation
One of the most attractive aspects of this house was that the majority of the required updates were cosmetic: the foundation, structure, and roof were in great condition. Most of the heavy lifting for Zach and his team involved updating the plumbing, electrical, HVAC—and replacing the floors with beautiful, white oak floors from ADM Flooring.
The floor plan of the house features an open-concept living room, dining room, and kitchen to create a perfect gathering space.
The most extreme transformations took place in the bathrooms and the kitchen, where everything was redesigned from the ground up. In the bathrooms, we went for hexagonal tiles from CLE Tile with black hardware accents from Signature Hardware.
In the kitchen, honed Calacatta marble countertops and backsplash, a CAFE stove and hood, a white SMEG fridge, and a farm-style sink and black faucet keep the look consistent with the bathrooms.
4. Creating a Retail Experience
Similar to what we did with Casa Mami, we saw an opportunity to bring some of our favorite designers and brands together not only to elevate the overall project, but also to create a shoppable experience for potential buyers visiting the property.
We worked with Emtek, who provided all the door hardware—we’ve learned to realize that even the smallest details matter.
The majority of the lighting throughout the residence is by Rich Brilliant Willing—their designs are simple, but still make a statement: the Mori pendant over the dining table paired with the photograph from Ward & Kweskin is definitely one of our favorite combos.
The linens in the bedrooms are by Morrow Soft Goods, a company who works with collectives in Peru and India to create unique and ethically sourced goods.
Even the paint brand we used was carefully selected—we worked with our friends at Backdrop, a husband-and-wife team whose direct-to-consumer business has been called the Warby Parker of the paint world.
5. The Final Touches
For us, the process of furnishing is what really helps bring the project to life. While the pieces in the house are not there to stay, rather than going with a traditional stager, we partnered with California-based design brand Lawson Fenning to outfit the house.
We hope that people will enjoy this passion project and come visit our modern Spanish Craftsman.
700 Micheltorena St. in Los Angeles is listed at $1,649,000 and accepting backup offers. The next open house is Sunday, November 10.
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