Before & After: Mandy Moore Rescues a Classic Pasadena Midcentury From a Jarring ’90s Remodel

This Pasadena residence was designed by modernist architect Harold B. Zook in 1950, but an ill-fitting ’90s renovation clashed with its midcentury spirit.

Mandy Moore and husband Taylor Goldsmith, a musician in the band Dawes, bought the property in early 2017, with an eye towards syncing the home with its original form. "We tried to imagine what Zook would have done if he were designing it today," Moore told Architectural Digest

The couple assembled a top-notch team for the overhaul, including interior architect Emily Farnham, interior designer Sarah Sherman Samuel, contractor Bronstruction, and Terremoto Landscape. According to Farnham, the process started with a "subtractive approach." 

"We surgically removed the circular volumes and ceiling complexity, brought the project back to its original grid, and opened it up to the sweeping views with new glazing," Farnham said. "The design challenge was consistently: ‘How can we do this with fewer moves, fewer materials?’"

After: The Front Door

The overhaul restored the home's exterior. Note the stepped cornice at the roofline, which had been previously squared off with stucco. The architect and contractor referenced historical photos in order to rebuild it with authenticity. Landscape designers Terremoto then created a defined entrance sequence that includes a custom bench and a concrete fountain.

Before: The Living Room and Entry

Much of the bones of the living room and dining room were kept intact, including the unique curved brick wall that partitions the front door from the seating area. Per Zook's original design, the wall appears to continue seamlessly on the other side of the window glass into the exterior entry court.

A statement fireplace with a copper hood separates the living room from the dining room.

After: The Living Room and Entry

Restored original brickwork and a built-in planter at the entry.

Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel sought to populate the living room with low-lying, sculptural furnishings that wouldn't block the views to the exterior and detract from Zook's seamless indoor/outdoor approach. Everything, from the curved couch to the metal coffee table with a rose gold finish, is from AllModern.

Moore and Goldsmith's priorities for the living room were to play music and listen to records. The piano and AllModern's Brixton sideboard, which holds the vinyl, serves their purposes well.

The design team restored the brickwork and copper fireplace hood to their former glory.

Before: The Dining Room

The dining room had lackluster carpeting and a run-of-the-mill chandelier.

After: The Dining Room

The renovation restored the built-in brick planter and exchanged the carpeting for sleek white terrazzo floors.

A burl dining table is surrounded by ivory chairs and topped with a distinct brass chandelier, all from AllModern. The large-scale landscape is by photographer Lou Mora.

Before: The Kitchen

The ’90s renovation had enlarged the kitchen and brought in an incompatible curved peninsula that chopped up the space.

A semi-circular addition clashed with the house's rectilinear lines.

The finishes and raised-panel cabinetry did not jive with the home's midcentury roots.

After: The Kitchen

Now, thick Calacatta marble counters wrap streamlined sage green flat-front cabinetry, painted in Farrow & Ball's "Mizzle." The island pendants are Cedar & Moss, and the Alfi Low-Back counter stools are by Jasper Morrison for Emeco.

Farnham squared off the ill-fitting addition and specified large-scale, sliding glass doors from Fleetwood that match the rest of the home and let the breakfast nook open to the exterior. A white Saarinen-style table is surrounded by wooden chairs with woven seats, which were intended to warm the scheme.

The ceiling plane is now simplified and the hood vent over the range melds seamlessly with it and the floating shelves. Farnham and Samuel also reimagined the adjacent hallway as a library alcove for Goldsmith, who loves to read.

After: The Library and Family Room

A custom built-in sofa upholstered in whiskey-colored velvet from Fabricut now makes for the perfect reading spot. The swing arm sconces are from Photonic Studio.

This view shows how the library alcove relates to the nearby family room, and beyond that, the front entry.

According to Samuel, "The family room was stripped down to its barest form in order to take it back to its midcentury roots, while simultaneously propelling it forward to the current century." The Rivera Sofa, from the Southern California-based Croft House, was chosen for its good looks from front and back, while the coffee table is Samuel's own design, fabricated by 4th Period Woodshop.

The showstopper in the family room is the fireplace feature wall, which now boasts a Fireclay Tile surround and a custom terrazzo bench designed by Farnham.

Before: The Guest Bedroom

The guest bedroom was uninspiring and dark.

After: The Guest Bedroom

The terrazzo floors help to lighten and brighten the space. For furnishings, Samuel deftly mixes custom pieces with mass-market finds, combining a solid brass sconce from Dylan Grey and the Simple Dresser from Kalon Studios with an Anthropologie bed and CB2 side table.

Before: The Jack & Jill Bathroom

The Jack and Jill bathroom is located between two guest bedrooms and needed more oomph. According to Samuel, the old vanity jutted too far into the space and made for visual clutter.

The existing shower was claustrophobic and dark.

After: The Jack & Jill Bathroom

A custom vanity topped with marble floats against a wall clad in Fireclay Tile. The mirrors are by Wayfair and the sconces from Allied Maker.

Samuel designed the unique brass inlay pattern for the terrazzo floors, and the new glass-enclosed shower is an airy reprieve. All of the fixtures and faucets are from Wayfair.

Before: The Principal Suite

The bones of the master bedroom were relatively untouched in the ’90s remodel, and the room just needed thoughtful detailing to get it in line with the rest of the house.

After: The Principal Suite

Samuel specified a custom velvet built-in headboard, then had it adorned with simple floating bedside shelves. Cedar & Moss lighting, the Safari Bench from Georgia-based Katy Skelton, and a custom weaving by Sally England finishes the cozy space.

The principal suite's bathroom features a custom white oak vanity topped with marble and decked with faucets from Rejuvenation. The CB2 mirrors are flanked by sconces from Foundry Lighting.

The marble continues into the shower, while a freestanding tub is set up to take in the view.

After: The Laundry Room

The laundry room off the kitchen also got a glam makeover. An Electolux washer and dryer set is tucked beneath a quartz counter for folding clothes. Black shower curtain rods provide space for hanging clothes to dry. They look sharp against statement wallpaper by Fornasetti. The cabinet hardware is by Sarah Sherman Samuel for Park Studio.

After: The Pool and Outdoor Kitchen

For the landscape and redesigned pool area, Terremoto kept "their movies simple and elemental," matching the subtractive approach taken in the house. The firm collaborated with Farnham on the design of the long-span pergola, which is cleverly engineered to only need four support posts.

The outdoor kitchen features Fire Magic outdoor appliances.

According to Farnham: "We selected outdoor furnishings that had elemental geometry and a sculptural quality. We worked with some of my favorite furniture fabricators to customize pieces for this special site: Croft House, James Perse, DWR, and Sutherland."

Project Credits:

Interior Architect: Emily Farnham / @emilyfarnhamarchitecture

Builder: Bronstruction

Structural Engineer: CPED, Craig Phillips

Landscape Design: Terremoto

Interior Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel, Inc / @sarahshermansamuel

Sound Engineer: Bri's Electronics, Brian Hubert

Cabinetry Design: Eaton Designs

Terrazzo Contractor: Cisneros Terrazzo

Landscape Builders: Johnston Vidal Projects

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