An 11-Year Renovation Helps a Couple Grow Simpatico With the Original Homeowner’s Quirky Vision

An inspired, if poorly constructed, Los Angeles home gets a proper retrofit that preserves its many idiosyncrasies.
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In 2009 on a quiet Los Angeles corner, then–The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf CEO Mel Elias found a severely water-damaged, crumbling 5,000-square-foot house hidden behind a tangle of overgrown vegetation. Its former owner, the late Hollywood acting coach Milton Katselas, had filled his property with industrial skylights and enormous, wood-burning fireplaces, with one in a central dining area oddly embellished with a singular red tile. The glass-and-concrete construction was framed by high ceilings, rusted steel beams, and varied elevations across the single-story plan. The floor-to-ceiling rectangular bookcases lining the sunlit dining room hid an unusual surprise: a secret doorway that led to the primary bedroom walk-in closet.

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