As a television host and interior design firm owner, Jennifer Farrell found her most exciting design challenge to be her own dramatic home renovation. When she purchased a neglected 1950s eyesore on a huge Los Angeles hillside, it was faded pink, water-logged, and dilapidated. But she transformed it into Diablo Ranch: a modern farmhouse in the heart of the city. It was a top-to-bottom remodel of interior, exterior, and gardens, featuring Jennifer's signature contemporary design flair. She wanted to keep the new space as environmentally friendly as possible, using reclaimed fencing for the exterior siding, recycled plumbing and lighting fixtures from her previous home, and even the dated fireplace rock wall found new life as modern hardscape in the garden. "The design has a playful spirit," Jennifer says. "We have a swing in the den, a technicolor cow painting in the kitchen, and a putting green in the front yard, so you feel that sense of fun as soon as you walk through the gate." Diablo Ranch is now a one-of-a-kind farmhouse retreat in the middle of Los Angeles.
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A peek inside Diablo Ranch with interior designer Jennifer Farrell.
Diablo Ranch was a neglected, dilapidated 1950s house with faded pink stucco and major water intrusion. Now it's a fully remodeled modern farmhouse, with reclaimed fence wood as siding.
The front porch offers a view through the house to the back yard, and keeps light passing through the main rooms throughout the day.
The front walkway of this 1950s home was resurfaced with Pebble Stone, a modern textural surface that nods to the original mid-century modern structure.
A grass green front door draws from the verdant foliage blanketing the 38,000 sq. ft. hillside property. Its earthy tone complements the rich warmth of reclaimed fence wood that finds new life as siding.
Instead of a traditional front yard, a playful putting green welcomes guests at the entry gate.
This room was water damaged and moldy from years of neglect. After dry rot and mold removal, the wall that separated the living and dining rooms was also removed. That allowed the overscale parquet pattern of the faux wood tile floors to continue in one uninterrupted expanse.
Green, navy, gold, and gray are the foundational colors for this modern farmhouse, carried throughout the open floorplan.
The original fireplace was a rugged rock monolith that extended all the way to the exterior wall and several feet closer to the front windows. The stone facade was stripped away, which opened up a walkway to the den. The two-sided fireplace column was wrapped with crisp white drywall.
The original rear wall of the house had one small sliding glass door, and several fixed windows that had been broken and water damaged. Two NanaWall bifold glass walls replaced the windows, opening the entire back wall to indoor-outdoor living.
The dining room was previously hidden by a wall with a peekaboo opening. Removing the wall not only made the space feel larger, but provided a great spot for a punch of deep charcoal accent color and modern art.
Many older homes suffer from a history of odd remodels, and this 60-year old home had its own peculiarity - there was a strange window in the kitchen that looked into the garage. Deleting the window gave new space for a long counter with more upper and lower cabinet space. Adding glass doors to the adjoining laundry room and rear exterior door brought fresh light into the space.
The kitchen fireplace is one of three original to the house, and its traditional staggered brick design became the inspiration for the stagger-set undulating gray porcelain subway tile backsplash.
To keep this farmhouse modern, familiar items in new colors make the design exciting. Navy cabinets, gold tree trunks, a technicolor cow painting, and pinstripe marble counters add surprise and a touch of whimsy.
Matte gold hardware and fixtures add a touch of luxury to balance out the colorful farmhouse art, like this oversized cow portrait.
NanaWall bifold glass doors open to the living room and den, allowing views from the back lawn to the front courtyard.
The painting is a Jennifer Farrell original, and keeps with the scale of the soaring wood beam ceilings. The 60-year old wood ceilings were faux finished to simulate aged barn wood.
A swing hanging from the rafters isn't standard farmhouse fare, but quickly became the favorite lounge spot for family and visitors alike. Like many of the lighting and plumbing fixtures, the ceiling fan was recycled from Jennifer's last home.
A gold-antlered ceramic deer head hangs above a flea market Chinoiserie chair in the master bedroom.
The master bed floats in the middle of the room, so the waking view is of the gardens and fountain.