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LA Arts and Crafts: Handmade Detailing in a Topanga Canyon Update

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LA Arts and Crafts: Handmade Detailing in a Topanga Canyon Update

June 9, 2023

“They sold their big, modern house and bought a camper van that they traveled around in until they decided where they wanted to end up.” LA designer Gabrielle Aker of Aker Interiors is explaining how her clients—an engineer and a business consultant with a young daughter—took an unexpected journey in the early days of the pandemic. The adventure led them to Topanga Canyon, the artsy enclave in the Santa Monica Mountains, which, courtesy of twisty roads and lack of cell service, manages to hold onto some of its celebrated hippie vibe.

Nestled amid giant California oaks, the family’s new place, a 1992 stone house, was literally rock solid, if decidedly lacking in soul.”The finishes throughout were cheap and lacked intentionality and depth,” says Gabrielle whose mandate, in her words, was “to create an elevated, contemporary version of the classic Topanga Canyon hideaway using quality, sustainable materials.” Along the way, a new kitchen was hand built; windows and sliding doors were upgraded; the vast, single-bedroom upstairs got divided into parents’ and kid quarters; and lots of local artisans contributed. Join us for a look at the arts and crafts movement, LA 2023-style.

Photography by Michael Clifford, courtesy of Aker Interiors.

the house&#8\2\17;s new look starts at the enlarged front door: gabrielle a 17
Above: The house’s new look starts at the enlarged front door: Gabrielle added a design from Urban Doors of LA—”it was the last from a discontinued line and had a crack, but we loved the door and felt the crack gave it even more character.” The handle is the Sickle Grip from Rocky Mountain Hardware. The full side transom window replaced a small overhead transom.
the smart casual foyer has a bench made from a live edge panel supplied by ange 18
Above: The smart casual foyer has a bench made from a live-edge panel supplied by Angel City Lumber, which sources its raw materials exclusively from felled trees. According to the firm’s site, “when a tree comes down in LA County, our work is to retain the worth both of the wood and the living spirit of a part of our city.” Throughout the house, the Aker team used Roman Clay, a luminous plaster wall finish applied with a putty knife. Selected as a eco-friendly alternative to latex, it’s a speciality from LA’s Portola Paints; the shade shown here is Patagonia. The Cobble Wall Hooks are by Stahl + Band: see Luxury Crafts in Venice, CA.

The travertine tiles that now line the downstairs replaced laminate wood flooring. The curved wardrobe is by Aker Studio, a custom furniture workshop run by Gabrielle’s husband, Zack.

&#8\2\20;our biggest and most important window challenge was deciding on th 19
Above: “Our biggest and most important window challenge was deciding on the size, location, and design of the radius window in the living room,” says Gabrielle, noting that the ceiling is 26 feet tall. “The grove of oaks outside the living room is a focal point of the house; we wanted to highlight the trees as part of the overall space.” Here and elsewhere, she went with Low-E Weather Shield glazing sourced from Taylor Brothers. The windows are aluminum clad on the outside and painted wood on the interior.

The sofa is the Strato 80-Inch Boucle design from CB2. The fringed wool rug is the Malawi from Armadillo.

a pair of \1970s leather falcon chairs by sigurd ressell stand by aker studio c 20
Above: A pair of 1970s leather Falcon chairs by Sigurd Ressell stand by Aker Studio custom book shelves. The Claude throw blanket is by Morrow. The floor lamp is an Entler design of cast stoneware: see more of the studio’s tendril-like lighting in Block Shop’s Mod LA Headquarters.
gabrielle worked with topanga carpenter designer john de la rionda on the custo 21
Above: Gabrielle worked with Topanga carpenter-designer John De La Rionda on the custom kitchen cabinets., which are made of salvaged coastal live oak from Angel City Lumber. The countertop of Taj Mahal Quartzite extends into a breakfast counter. The range and induction cooktop are by Thermador. The Portola Roman Clay wall finish is in a shade called Coda.
gabrielle reupholstered her clients&#8\2\17; existing dwr bar stools in a k 22
Above: Gabrielle reupholstered her clients’ existing DWR bar stools in a Kelly Wearstler’s District Fabric that picks up the kitchen’s warm tones. The ceramic Cadmus Surface Mount Ceiling Lights are by Remodelista favorite In Common With.
the sink has a deck mounted vola faucet and spray attachment in a surprise shad 23
Above: The sink has a deck-mounted Vola faucet and spray attachment in a surprise shade: see Vola’s 15 available colors here. The brass light switches throughout are from Forbes & Lomax.
gabrielle&#8\2\17;s clients found the metal doors in a salvage yard and she 24
Above: Gabrielle’s clients found the metal doors in a salvage yard and she put them to use for the pantry: “solid doors would have created a heavy imbalance on that side of the room, so the airiness of the gate was perfect.”
the kitchen opens to a dining area with a jøtul gas fireplace and a terrac 25
Above: The kitchen opens to a dining area with a Jøtul gas fireplace and a terrace. The stitched armchairs are made of bamboo and date from the seventies.
the carpeted stair was reconstructed as a winding, sculptural design of sugar g 26
Above: The carpeted stair was reconstructed as a winding, sculptural design of sugar gum eucalyptus from Angel City Lumber.
an unlaquered brass railing lines the catwalk between the two upstairs bedrooms. 27
Above: An unlaquered brass railing lines the catwalk between the two upstairs bedrooms.
the parents&#8\2\17; room is designed to double as a sitting room: &#8\ 28
Above: The parents’ room is designed to double as a sitting room: “my client wanted it to be a sanctuary where she could lounge, work, and sleep,” says Gabrielle. The Portola Roman Clay on the walls is in a shade called Rock Store. The sofa is a vintage design reupholstered in House of Hackney’s dragon-patterned Phantasia Velvet.

The vintage marble-topped table from Hollywood At Home has become the morning coffee spot. It gets used during the day as a desk. The floor-to-ceiling curtains are Kelly Wearstler’s cotton-linen Graffito Fabric and the rugs are from Armadillo.

the romantic en suite bath has mine and yours onyx sinks found on etsy from gem 29
Above: The romantic en suite bath has mine and yours onyx sinks found on Etsy from Gem Look Design. The brass faucets are by California Faucets. The rococo Amelie Floor Mirror is an Arhaus design.
the salvage yard claw footed tub came with an interior that eventually scrubbed 30
Above: The salvage yard claw-footed tub came with an interior that eventually scrubbed clean. It stands on Cotto terracotta tiles from Zia. The antique drop-front desk serves as a medicine cabinet.

A wax sealer was applied to the Portola Roman Clay wall finish—”it’s not fully waterproof but protects enough for the room.” The sconces are Allied Maker’s Mini Orbs in alabaster. What do you think: would Topanga’s original hippie settlers approve?

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Frequently asked questions

What is the article about?

The article is about an interior remodel project that features handmade house finishes in a Los Angeles artisanal interior.

Where can I find more information about the project?

You can find more information about the project on the Remodelista website, specifically in the post titled 'Handmade House Finishes in an LA Artisanal Interior Remodel'.

What are some of the special features of the remodel?

Some of the special features of the remodel include handmade finishes such as plaster walls, pigmented lime washes, hand-carved wood details, and custom tiles.

Who was responsible for the remodel project?

The remodel project was executed by the interior designer who specializes in artisanal interiors. The specific details about the designer can be found in the article.

Are there any specific recommendations or tips mentioned in the article?

Yes, the article provides tips on sourcing handmade finishes, maintaining pigmented lime washes, and incorporating unique textures and materials for a personalized artisanal interior.

Can I see images of the remodel?

Yes, the article includes a gallery of images showcasing the interior remodel. You can refer to that to see the finished result.

Is this project applicable to a small space or only larger homes?

The project showcased in the article can serve as inspiration for both small spaces and larger homes. The handmade finishes and artisanal details can be adapted to various sizes and layouts.

Are there any budget considerations mentioned in the article?

While the article doesn't explicitly mention budget considerations, it does provide insights into the types of materials and finishes used. Depending on your budget, you can explore similar options or find affordable alternatives.

Product summary  Item 6 175Item 7 176

g10112 bm   1 376x282
Doors & Door Hardware

Sickle Grip

$629.00 USD from Rocky Mountain Hardware
screen shot 2021 03 18 at 10450 pm   acf cropped 376x282
Hooks & Rails

Cobble Hook

$250.00 USD from Stahland Band

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