ISSUE 41  |  California Creatives

Malibu Makeover: A 1970s Bungalow Reinvented by Lauren Soloff

October 12, 2015 9:00 AM

BY Margot Guralnick

With its knotty-pine interior and broken-down infrastructure, the single-story seventies beach house was considered a teardown. Instead, LA designer Lauren Soloff and her client, a bicoastal woman who works in finance, decided to transform it. Of course, a lot of the work is invisible, including all updated wiring and plumbing. But the powers of paint, restored concrete floors, bright rugs, and a new kitchen are on full display. Scroll down to see the Befores–from has-been to state-of-the-art Malibu modern.

Photography by Nancy Neil.

Above: The heart of the 1,625-square-foot bungalow is its open dining room and kitchen. “We didn’t increase the footprint or tear down many walls,” says Soloff. “The directive was to work with what was there and to keep an easy, beachy feel.” The rugs and the classic modern furniture came from the owner’s years of international living: “It was so exciting to go through her storage unit.”

The room’s exposed beams were already in place, but had to be reworked when the roof was raised to create a taller porch. “I was committed to having the barn ceiling,” says Soloff. The pine paneling throughout was sanded down and painted Benjamin Moore Cloud White. The floors are the original concrete: “I loved the idea of bright rugs on bare concrete, so we decided to keep them. Some areas had to be ground down and then stained and sealed.”

Avove: Saddle Leather Chairs by Remodelista favorite Garza Marfa surround a Restoration Hardware dining table. The owner bought the vintage fish pendant in Paris.

Above: Soloff designed the kitchen around a quartzite slab called Azul Mary that she found in an LA stone yard–”we were looking for something really special and liked quartzite for its durability.” The vintage rattan stools are from Amsterdam Modern in LA. The cabinetry is all custom; it’s faced with Metro Collection Lakeshore Oak, a laminate that “has the feeling of beach-weathered wood,” says Soloff. “I was very surprised by how real it looks.”

Above: The quartzite is paired with Heath tiles in a matte glaze called Fog. The range, hood, and refrigerator are by Viking.

Above: The cook can easily man the stove while chatting with guests. The white metal ceiling lights are Ivanhoe Esso Warehouse Porcelain Pendants from Barn Light Electric. (Thinking about a Viking range? Read our Remodeling 101: Viking vs. Wolf Debate.)

Above: The living room has a B&B Italia sofa and vintage iron and wood tables. The crystal table lamp is one of a pair by French designer Jacques Adnet from the 1930s.

Above: The room has its original fireplace and shelves, all newly painted and playing off well against the wall-hung TV. The leather butterfly chair is the Palermo from the Citizenry. (See more butterfly chair designs here.) The pale pink chair is a vintage Knoll design.

Above: The master suite has its own lounge furnished with a Ligne Roset loveseat/daybed and midcentury Marco Zanuso Lady chair in a Rogers & Goffigan fabric. The glass doors open to a private patio.

Above L: One of the storage unit finds, a classic bentwood chair stands outside the master bedroom. Above R: A vintage Saarinen side table with a vase that echoes the kitchen tiles.

Above: A Moroccan rug patterns the master bedroom. The window coverings throughout are Woven Wood Shades from 3 Day Blinds.

Above: A Robert Indiana print hangs over a luggage rack–the owner is based in New York.

Above: Ann Sacks subway tile, Waterworks plumbing fixtures, and a Duravit sink in one of the two baths–”the request was for a very simple and clean look.”

Above: A queen-size bed fit neatly into the guest room’s “super funky shape.” The tasseled bed cover is from Nicky Kehoe in LA and the ceiling fan is from Design Within Reach. (See more ceiling fans in 10 Easy Pieces.)

Above: “We added bricks to the columns and raised the roof to open up the feeling under the porch,” says Soloff. Admiring the lush, new hardscaping? Go to Gardenista for a tour of the grounds.

Above: The house’s original footprint was preserved. The main entrance opens to the dining area. The master suite is neatly sequestered at one end.


Above: A detail of the side of the house before the roof was raised.

Above: The knotty pine main room where the dining table now stands.

Above: The old kitchen.

Go to The Bohemian Good Life to see Lauren Soloff’s own LA house.

And when in Malibu, a good place to know about is Helene Henderson’s Malibu Farm Cafe.