Most home transformation articles begin like a horror story, something along the lines of: “It was dark, dank and dreary…” But the tale of how Los Angeles architect Linda Taalman remodeled a 2,000-square-foot midcentury home has a more upbeat beginning. The house, located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, was carefully considered when it was built in the 1950s. Only two families have lived there, and both have loved and cared for it. But nothing lasts forever, and the materials were simply worn out. Since she had something good to begin with, and because the budget wasn’t limitless, the architect relied on color and texture when reimagining the home.
"The house had nice, big architectural spaces," says Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture. "But it needed a better connection to the garden." She removed walls to strengthen the relationship between the two. The garden was designed by Laura Cooper.
"We didn't have a huge budget, so we decided to use color and texture to make a big impact," says Taalman. "One of our clients is from Colombia, and was totally on board with big planes of strong color." The architect used yellow and pink on the interior and the exterior of the house, further reinforcing their relationship between indoors and out. A humble length of rope is recast as a stair rail, giving the humble material a hip new life.
"Stucco is one of the most banal building materials available, and I wondered how I could make it interesting," says Taalman. "We had the contractors rake it. Generally, this is the rough coat that's the first layer applied to a surface so the stucco can adhere. Here, it's the last."
In the kitchen, a long bank of white cabinets runs into a Douglas Fir banquette that turns into shelves that flow into the living room. Douglas Fir handles on the cabinets relate to the banquette. "It's about establishing a connection between the spaces," says Taalman. "We want them to relate and read as one piece."