Graphic Design Inspired This Handcrafted Canyon Hideaway
Lara and Chad Hogan had no idea how much a hike could change their life. But one day in 2014, the couple, recent transplants from the East Coast, set out to explore California's Topanga Canyon. That's when they stumbled upon a 1948 cabin with a 1960s addition with a sign that said "For Sale By Owner." They hadn't even thought about the budget for their future home, but knew that this was the place.
"We saw the view out the windows, and we were like, 'This is where we need to be,'" Lara recalls.
Though the house was dated, Chad and Lara immediately saw its potential. And with their creative backgrounds—she's a publicist, he's a creative director—they knew they could add their personal spin to the home.
"We didn’t want to live in somebody else’s house—someplace too perfect, too nice," Chad recalls. "This place was in good shape, it wasn’t dirty, it wasn’t a teardown—it just needed some love."
Their first challenge was uniting the spaces. Decades of piecemeal work had left the house feeling like a series of disconnected rooms, each with a different floor—terra cotta tile, old wood, newer wood, parquet—and all dominated with dark wood paneling dominated.
While the Hogans knew they'd need to update, the also wanted to stay true to the home's original architecture—and the Canyon's bohemian spirit."We wanted to go with the feel of the house and not disregard what it's all about," Chad says. "Luckily, a lot of what we had made sense."
"The way I look at design, it’s just a 3D graphic. Textures, the furniture—there are graphics in everything. When you go to a really interesting house there has to be something that’s beyond the typical furnishings. It brings the space to life." —Chad Hogan, resident and designer
The couple selected a crisp white backdrop to highlight their deeply personal selection of art, vintage finds, and custom furnishings. ("We’re such collectors; we like stuff," Lara says. "We’re definitely not minimalists by any stretch of the imagination.")
Together they developed a type of rustic modernism for the 1,800-square-foot house that's "has a very lived-in electric warm feel," Lara says, "but with very updated and modern touches."
Looking back to their experience in branding, the couple honed in on graphic design as a source of inspiration. Custom text touches abound, from the cement base of their fireplace to an inlaid tile mural in the guesthouse bathroom.
Throughout the process of creating a home for their young family, Lara and Chad, who grew up working on construction projects and had built furniture for many of his previous apartments, realized that interior design was their calling. "This really solidified it for me, this is what I want to do," Chad says.
Now, from their new home base in the canyon, the couple has embarked on a new collaborative career with their design firm, Chandler Farms.
Cover photo by Heather Culp.