Wishful ThinkingAuthor:Abigail Stone
Lori Gilder of Interior Makeovers overhauls a Beverly Hills cottage, elegantly ushering it from mid-century into the twenty-first century.
Birthday parties are designed to bestow gifts on the guest of honor. But at one celebration, it would be the person seated next to interior designer Lori Gilder who would have her wish granted. “She had been unsuccessful in finding the perfect place to call home,” Gilder remembers. Whether it was the magical, festive evening or the meeting with Gilder, that night her luck changed. She reached out a few weeks later, having recently put in an offer on a mid-century home nestled in the hills.
“Our approach to design is to create chic and classically modern interiors that are elegant and tranquil by blending organic and natural materials that integrate seamlessly with the surrounding architecture and landscape,” says Gilder “It’s about creating an environment that tells our client’s story with soul, sprit and style.”
“I knew that Lori was the right person to design my house,” the client shares. “I immediately trusted her aesthetic and felt that she understood my vision for the house and how I live,” says the client who works out of her house. “I wanted a home that was casual, chic, modern, easy, comfortable, California, feminine, soft, funky, classic, cozy, beautiful, contemporary and fresh.”
While the midcentury house was charming, it was immediately apparent to Gilder that the 1700 square foot home would need some work to reach the client’s milestones. “Walking into the home the first time was like entering a time capsule,” Gilder shares. “Our objective was to improve the layout and traffic flow by removing the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room and to create uninterrupted site lines out to the rear and side yard.” That meant bringing the house down to the studs and rethinking how the rooms would flow into each other.
It also meant redesigning the kitchen. While the original pink metal 1958 General Electric Kitchen was in pristine condition, with a wall oven that still worked, it didn’t fit with either the aesthetic or the layout that Gilder envisioned. “We said ‘so long’ to the pink metal General Electric kitchen and hello to more organic and natural materials,” says Gilder who sold the carefully dismantled pieces to a couple in the process of renovating their Palm Springs home.
The craftsmanship and durability of the GE appliances encouraged Gilder to look for their replacement in the company’s state-of-the-art Monogram line. “We partnered with Monogram to support the legacy of long-lasting American-made professional quality products,” says Gilder who expects that the new pieces will last just as long as their ancestors. Custom elm cabinetry that eliminates the need for upper shelving and honed bianco bello surfaces complete the new space.
A wall of black steel framed doors and windows marches across the wall that divides the kitchen from the backyard highlights the home’s lush view of the hillside. They also seamlessly connect the interior to the exterior, flooding the interior with light and improving flow from the living room, dining room and kitchen. “That indoor/outdoor feeling that is so much what Southern California living is all about!,” says Gilder.
The public rooms were not the only spaces that saw improvement under Gilder’s expertise. She also redesigned the master suite, enfolding a trio of spaces — bedroom, bath and closet — into a luxurious, peaceful retreat. “The bespoke closet’s rift oak interior are open and visible to the master,” Gilder explains. “We created an open walk-in closet as an extension of the master bedroom proving that, when a small space is well designed, customized and personalized, it functions large.”
“Lori checked all the boxes,” the client enthuses. Gilder laughs, “She calls regularly just to say, “Can I tell you how much I love my house?” And she means it from the bottom of her heart.