The housing market in Los Angeles, California, can defy comprehension. Last year, home prices in the Los Angeles metro area were up 15.2 percent year-over-year, while prices in Southern California overall rose 15.4 percent, according to a report by Norada Real Estate Investments. So, when Stephanie Wong and her partner, Daniel Watson, found a house they loved, they watched it rack up more than 50 offers and sell for half a million dollars above the list price.
Undeterred, the couple found a charming 1920s Spanish-style home in the Atwater Village neighborhood that was within their budget, but needed some love in the kitchen. And maybe a better layout.
The thing they loved in the first house, Stephanie says, was an amazing indoor-outdoor flow from the kitchen to outside. So they decided to bring that element to their new home.
It was no small undertaking, with a wall separating the dated kitchen and the laundry room, which opened to the backyard. So down came the wall, and in went French doors opening to the back, where the couple also added a deck. Opposite that end of the kitchen, they opened up the entranceway to the dining room with a dramatic arch to match the architectural style echoed throughout the rest of the house.
The change completely transformed the space, flooding it with natural light, and lending an open, inviting feel that allowed them to design the warm and modern space they envisioned.
But what about the washer and dryer in the now-demolished laundry room? The couple opted for European-style (read: smaller) under-counter versions that they placed at the end of the kitchen counter. Having a laundry within the kitchen is much more common in European homes than they are here, so how has that worked out?
While the washer and dryer don’t hold as much in the way of clothing, that’s not been an issue for their small family of two, she says. “I think it’s great,” she says. “They fit well, and it still feels very clean, and there’s a really nice countertop space to fold.”
In fact, she says, being able to clear the way to expand the kitchen and have that open flow to the yard was the best decision they made in the renovation. “We love it,” Stephanie says.
See Stephanie’s Full Reno Diary