The Woman Who Grew Up in This L.A. Home Returned to Give it a Stunning Renovation

This 2,272-square-foot house may be part of the owner's past, but its upgraded features make it entirely present.
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At first, Rosalie MacInnis was hesitant about repeating the past. She's a landscape designer who had grown up in the Pacific Palisades, a self-described close community near the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles, and she planned to return to her childhood home with her own two kids and father. MacInnis had happy memories of the one-story property that was built in the 1930s—it’s close to hiking trails and the beach—but she left the area after her mother and sister had passed away. She didn’t know if her neighbors would welcome them again, or what to do with the house itself. Like everything else, it had changed.  

Benjamin Moore's "Universal Black" distinguishes the exterior from the unfinished spruce fence. 

"It had a streamlined modern curvature to the front facade, but sadly it was completely dilapidated," architect Chris McCullough says, who MacInnis hired alongside his partner Peggy Hsu. "The roof had caved in a number of places with water damage." 

Benjamin Moore's "Swiss Coffee" was used in the entryway, which features a custom bench and shelf made of unfinished oak by Anderson Plywood. 

The architects’ namesake firm Hsu McCullough had to make some necessary repairs to the original structure, but the duo also had to alter it. MacInnis envisioned a space where her kids and their grandfather could have equal privacy and camaraderie, as well as enough room to entertain the frequent guests bound to stop by. "I have a circus walking through the house with kids and dogs, and a lot of activities and noise," MacInnis notes. "I need a calming place." 

Custom white oak by Contempo Floor Coverings spreads across the floor in the open living area.  Malibu Market and Design supplied the metal coffee table, and the rug was purchased from Restoration Hardware. 

In order to make the new layout feel as cozy as it could be accommodating, McCullough kept the natural surroundings in mind. "We worked with Rosalie to create a material palette inspired by beach homes: light colors [made] bright with skylights, and many large aluminum-framed glass doors and windows." They even used a natural shade of stone on the original fireplace—the sole relic of the previous structure—as "a nod to the past," McCullough says.

A custom Viesso sofa is accessorized with a West Elm throw and mudcloth pillows sourced from Etsy.


Blu Dot stools line up against Calacatta Gold Extra countertops. The custom cabinetry was outfitted by Semihandmade with Ikea cabinet bodies. 

The original fireplace was resurfaced using Colorado Buff Ledge stone, which offsets the black-and-white shades of the custom bench and Stilnovo sconce. 

In the breakfast nook, an Ikea table is surrounded by a bench made specifically for the corner by CJS Custom Woodworking & Design. A Moooi pendant light and custom concrete floors distinguish the area. 

Outside, however, was a different story. MacInnis requested overhangs for the front and back of the home to shade it from the L.A. sun, and she and McCullough agreed on an unconventional design that mimics the light patterns cast by the open ceiling in the living room. "We came up with a wood-framed diamond pattern that offered intriguing shadows throughout the day," McCullough says. 

"My bedroom is located in the same area of the property where my childhood bedroom was," MacInnis says.

The specific look, which was achieved with help from multiple mockups by the contractor, is heightened by a coat of jet-black paint to match the rest of the moody address. And although it’s quite a color shift from the airy inside, the many windows and doors between the two keep them connected. 

The wraparound porch is enclosed in custom unfinished spruce, and match the slated look of the World Market chairs. MacInnis is a landscape designer who oversaw what was done in her own outdoor space. 

In fact, MacInnis feels connected, too. The hesitations she once had about returning to her childhood home have given way to a fresh start with familiar surroundings. Her children have been embraced by the neighbors she grew up with, and everyone is happy that they can call this place home once again. "I feel very lucky," MacInnis says. "The kids can learn the past and build the future together." 

A steel-and-redwood fabrication makes up the diamond shape of the trellis. 

The wraparound porch leads to a sunken backyard with a pool and outdoor shower where the kids can rinse off their surfboards. "We're an extremely active family," MacInnis says. 

Project Credits:

-Architecture: Hsu McCullough

-Builder: Dynamic Builders of Southern California

-Structural Engineer: Parker Resnick Structural Engineering

-Interior Design: Westhoven Design

-Cabinetry Installation: Semihandmade

-Landscape Design: Rosalie MacInnis


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