A Los Angeles Home That Epitomizes California Cool

HGTV Magazine takes you inside a California cottage that was updated with a fresh, totally personalized look.

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: David Tsay; Styled By: Liz Strong

The Home

Leila Sayegh (above) was waffling about purchasing a Craftsman fixer-upper for sale in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. She loved the 1915 bungalow’s period details and wasn’t fazed by the neglected interiors  —  she had the know-how she needed from reno’ing a home with her former husband years before.

The potential deal killer? The property was more than 300 miles away from an old friend she had started dating. “But I knew I couldn’t plan my life around a man,” she says. “If I wanted this home, I had to buy it myself.” To tackle major issues, like replacing the foundation and roof, and pull off interiors with an easygoing Cali vibe, she worked with interior designer Karen Vidal. In eight months the 1,556-square-foot space was transformed, its laid-back interiors in sync with Leila’s single-gal lifestyle.

And that’s when she got engaged to her long-distance beau, Erik Abel. “I decorated the place just for me and  —  boom!  —  he’s moving in,” says Leila. But the bungalow has proven to be surprisingly couple-friendly, “maybe because I told Erik the only thing he could bring with him was his clothes!”  

Dining Room

The light and airy dining room includes a reclaimed Douglas fir table from Cisco Home and clean-lined Room & Board leather chairs. A weathered metal medical cabinet serves as a help-yourself bar. 

Living Room

A bold chevron jute rug from West Elm defines the TV-watching area of the living room. Leila snagged both the tufted sectional and the vintage glass-top coffee table at Living Room, one of her favorite local stores. The kilim-rug-covered lounge chair from Anthropologie was a smitten-at-first-sight purchase. “I bought it the instant I saw it,” she says. “I didn’t have any plans for it. I just had to have it.” The butterfly curtains are sewn from Les Indiennes fabric block-printed in India. 

Front Porch

Leila liked the celestial cutouts on the Craftsman door but not the transparent glass or the red stain applied by a previous homeowner. The solution: spray-on frost for the crescent moon and star and upbeat limoncello yellow paint (Mulholland Yellow by Benjamin Moore). The sky blue vinyl chair is from Potted in Los Feliz, CA.

Kitchen

Before the top-to-bottom rehab, the kitchen was a style mishmash, with an ancient stove and 1980s track lighting. For a timeless look, simple white cabinets were teamed with black soapstone countertops and a farmhouse sink. The vintage geometric-print Moroccan wool rug was bought on Etsy, and the ceiling fixtures are from Rejuvenation.  

Breakfast Nook

In the 11-foot-by-7 ½-foot breakfast area, a custom-built banquette with cubbies is a storage-rich space saver. Slim Anthropologie folding chairs and a compact 26 ½-inch-wide oak trestle table from Design Vidal don’t crowd the room. 

Master Bedroom

Leila’s big alteration to this room: replacing one large window with two smaller windows to give her an uninterrupted stretch of wall for the leather Cisco Home bed. Gauzy white IKEA curtains let in light while still providing privacy. The filigreed metal Moroccan nightstands are from Badia Design, and the capiz shell pendant is from Pottery Barn.  

Bathroom

Handcrafted cement floor tiles from Design Vidal bring color to the neutral bathroom, which was totally gutted. The claw-foot tub — “the only carryover from the original bathroom” — was relocated under a new window. Tiled wall niches hold toiletries and towels, and the crystal chandelier is from the 1940s.

Den

Removing the bottom two shelves of the bookcase made space for a custom daybed. Heaped with pillows that bring out the blue in the multi-hue World Market rug, “it’s cozy and an extra spot for an overnight guest,” says Leila. The walls are painted Wind Chime by Benjamin Moore, and the canary yellow wood mirror was a hand-me-down from a friend. The 1920s-style dropped-pan chandelier is from local lighting store Practical Props. 

Backyard

Painted the same happy yellow as the front door, the back door sets a playful tone for the patio. The teak Crate & Barrel sofa is 10 years old, but pattern-splashed Jonathan Adler and Lulu & Georgia all-weather pillows help camouflage its age. The outdoor rug is from Dash & Albert, and the woven-resin chairs are from Potted.