Improvementalism:
The fanatical belief that remodeling doesn't need to cost you a fortune - or your sanity.

Beautifully Renovated Mid Century Home on the Market in Pasadena has Serious Interior Design and Landscape Appeal – 1580 Sierra Madre Villa

Mid Century appropriate landscaping with gorgeous views from every room

I have a feeling that this post might be unpopular with Moms everywhere.  Before you string me up with the Bjorn, follow me for a minute…

This is the best example I’ve seen of how your home should look at an Open House when the homeowner still lives in the home, and has a child and nursery.  It doesn’t hurt that the homeowner is a talented Interior Designer herself, using classy materials like Kitchen Aid appliances, Bisazza Tile, Kohler fixtures, and some knockout Osborne and Little custom wall coverings.  It still reads like a How-To primer for anyone showing a home in the current market conditions: Well designed, de-cluttered, impeccably landscaped, and while displaying an artistic personality – it’s still easy to see how a new owner might live/work/use the space.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

Offset concrete pads with California native plants add character without consuming a ton of water

The walkway, driveway, fountain, and entry to the home give you an idea of what you might expect when you walk through the door – but it’s still a pleasant surprise to see the foxy entry bench and accent wall.

Did you know that having a bench at the entrance of your home can get you LEED credits? Not sure if the faux sheepskin counts for anything but design love...

Did you know that having a bench at the entrance of your home can get you LEED credits? Based on the idea that having a Shoeless Home keeps dirt from outside… well… outside.  Not sure if the faux sheepskin fluffy bench covering counts for anything but design love points… (we love!)

The home has a working fireplace, doubling as extra seating for parties - and man could you party here!

Everything about this home was clean, tidy, striking, and well appointed.   I also loved how each of the outdoor spaces around the home were open, well thought out, and had color and texture visible from every window and door.

One of my favorite spots - name a character on the window sill in the comments below for extra points

The light in this home has a magical quality about it, moody in some places and sunny in others.  You could so film a movie here…

Spotted: Inexpensive Design Brilliance.  Where, you ask? See below.   The three light sources in the hallway aren’t fixtures – they’re round skylights that can be installed in your roof with little fuss.   Solatube makes a good one. They bounce all the light around the reflective tube until it spills into your hall, brightening formerly dreary spaces.  More on Daylighting from me in another post.

Solatubes cast a very clean, white light during daylight hours

Love the patio.

Mid Century outdoor living room - clean lines, minimal furniture

Must say – this home was Catnip for my inner interior design kitty.

Stay tuned at the bottom to see more images from this Mid Century stunner in Pasadena.  If you find yourself coveting this home – I know just the guy to tell you more about it.  Darrell Done, the listing agent, told us it was fun to show such a memorable home.  We can see why!

drought resistant plants survive hot California Summers with low water useage

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Sweet and quirky modern kids room has fun textures

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I think this child might be destined for the stage

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More magical light and subtle, small scale wallpaper make this Modern master bedroom a YES

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Improvemental Jobsite – Weatherizing Original Wood Windows in a Home In Echo Park Angeleno Heights

These windows were never properly sealed on the top and bottom

Thought I’d share some jobsite images from one of our clients in Echo Park doing some weatherizing on her 1926 weeping windows.  Read to the bottom and click on the link to see our client’s unvarnished thoughts on her personal blog about having my crews around!  (HINT: There is a little swearing involved… )

Many Los Angeles houses have beautiful wood windows that are original to their construction. That means they’re ancient!  As with my home, water damage and poor sealing over time have caused windows to swell, crack, get flimsy, become non-operable, leak profusely at odd times, and attract termites. EEK!

Oh, window. Soon you will be weatherproof again!

But what’s a homeowner to do?  Part of the value of a 20’s home here in Echo Park and Angeleno Heights is the history and great construction the homes were blessed with. The up and downside of ‘vintage’ windows and doors is that they’ve withstood earthquakes, Santa Ana winds, raging teenagers slamming doors, and big dogs battling the Mailman. (If you’ve got a dog and your mail comes in a mail slot, you get where I’m coming from about the abuse the front windows take…)

The outside didn't fare much better...

These windows are older than our parents! (erm… no Age-ism intended – hope I hold up half as well as these windows!)

As heating and air costs go up, quite a few of our clients have struggled with what to do with these beautiful old windows.  Truly, there are a lot of options. They can be weatherstripped, tuned up and touched up in many cases, if they’ve had attention over the years.

BB gun misfire?

Individual panes of glass can be replaced: especially ones that have suffered indignities like Christmas BB gun excitement, bad glazing, sand papering, and paint jobs, and becoming wavy over time with age.  But part of the problem with the glass is that we’ve advanced our technology to the point where we can stop the sun’s heat from cooking our homes – by replacing windows with low-e glass. Hmm…

Window muntins. I love that word...

For this specific spot at the front of the home, we chose to keep the original windows, sand them down to the bare wood, fill and repair all damage, and perhaps the most controversial decision – we are making them non-operable.  It is difficult to retrofit and successfully weatherstrip windows into these old out of plumb sashes, so to respect the front of the home’s appearance, and for safety, we are fixing the original windows in place.

Let's clean you up.

With several good coats of paint, inside and out, these windows will be a showstopper on the way into a beautiful home.  Do YOUR windows need some sweet love and attention before LA weather heats up?  I know just the guys to do the job… shoot me an email at laurie.march@gmail.com and let’s talk.

Ready to be stripped! (it's not as sexy as it sounds... trust me)

Here’s what 90 years of weathering Los Angeles life can do to a window!

Time warp

Check out our client’s blog post about living through a window update.

You're next, buddy...


Client Love for Improvemental

Laurie did a museum quality restoration of my 1921 Craftsman. She also managed my move, had the chimney rebuilt, supervised the installation of new rain gutters, a new hot water heater, and about fifty other things. She somehow did all of this on time and on budget. She's really good. She did such a good job on my house, I recommended her to my parents. That's not something you do unless you're really happy with a person's work.

- Adam, Hollywood Hills

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