The Designers Are In: Expert Tips from Remodeling Pros by

Issue 55 · Roman Holiday · January 19, 2013

The Designers Are In: Expert Tips from Remodeling Pros

Issue 55 · Roman Holiday · January 19, 2013

In two years, Sam Gnatovich and Alexi Rennalls of LA firm Simo Design have completed 11 remodels (including five that they purchased, renovated, and resold). This week, they tell us why this California Craftsman bungalow remodel was one of their favorites. For the next 48 hours, they are available to answer any and all questions. Ask away!

With a background in architecture (him) and fashion (her), the founding partners of Simo Design (a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) are very selective when it comes to purchasing houses for remodel. For them, it’s about good bones and character. “We’re not interested in gutting a house and starting over; we want to feel like the house has always been there,” says Gnatovich. “We like to draw out its personality, enhancing what already exists while updating it for 21st-century living.”

Photography by Joe Schmelzer.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, dining room with white walls and gray painted trim, cabinets and underside of beams

Above: "With our limited remodel budget, paint was our solution for making the most dramatic impact in a small house," says Rennalls.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, kitchen with blue and white glazed tiles

Above: Glazed tiles are in keeping with the California Craftsman style.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, deep blue green painted fireplace surround

Above: "Color can make a small house feel more grand," says Rennalls.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, white covered porch, gray stone floor

Above: The dining room and the office open up onto the covered porch. The brick wall and wood panels have been painted white to keep the room open and light.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, white bedroom with dark blue ceiling

Above: The small bedrooms were devoid of character. "We felt that there was nowhere for the eye to go, so we decided to put contrast into the room by painting the ceiling," says Rennalls. The ceilings originally had a stucco plaster finish, which the designers covered with a quarter-inch thin dry wall board.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, white bedroom with pink ceiling

Above: Built-in storage was added to all the bedrooms.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, turquoise bathroom, black accents, black fixtures

Above: The small bathroom benefits from Rennall's dramatic impact color theory.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, master bathroom, two pedestal sinks, two medicine cabinet with mirrors, white tile floor with black and white decorative trim

Above: Rennalls uses black as a contrasting accent to good effect.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, master bedroom, 100 year old quarter sawn oak floor

Above: All finishes were new, except the 100-year-old quarter sawn red oak floors.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, outdoor room, brick walls, vines and white painted roof

Above: The designers tidied up an outdoor room, original to the house, by trimming the overgrown vines, repairing and painting the roof. "It's dark and cool back here in the heat of the summer," says Gnatovich.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, before photo of entry hall

Above: The entry hall of the house before the remodel.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, before photo of living room

Above: "It's difficult to put character back into a house once it's gone," says Gnatovich.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, gray bungalow with pitched roof and porch

Above: The California Craftsman bungalow was built in 1920 and is located in a Historical Preservation Overlay Zone in Hollwood Groves.

Simo Design, California Craftsman, Bungalow, plans

Above: The 'Before' and 'After' floor plans illustrate the good bones of the house. The minor changes that were made included combining the dining room and living room spaces by removing a wall, using existing closet space to add an additional bathroom, enlarging the original master bathroom, updating the appliances in the utility room and in the kitchen and adding a rear deck.

N.B.: Inspired by Rennalls' creative use of paint? See 338 back posts of Paint.



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