"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Character Building: ReInhabit (part two in a series)

The first thing you notice about the cheerful 1941 home for sale ($649k) at 3147 Atwater in Los Angeles is the sweet, scalloped fence out front.

Built to mimic the original fencing that still encloses the back yard, it's the kind of detail that sets a fixer (restored by the ReInhabit team) apart from the rest.

Unofficially dubbed the hipster flippers of Los Angeles, the princes of preservation, aka Rudy Dvorak, John Douglas and Zerik Scales, trade on their passion for restoration and re-use to renovate old homes for modern lifestyles.

In a city famous for its facelifts, why not?

Nip. Tuck. It's all in the details.

The wallpaper stays in the picture.

Walking through the 1164 square-foot cottage (previously owned by a lady named Eunice), it's the little things -a horse shoe hung over the front door, an antique telephone in the hallway and a milk-delivery chute off the kitchen--that conjur up vintage charm. 

Original wood floors, vintage (working!) kitchen appliances, built-in cabinets, paneled doors, decorative window ledges with potted flowers, and a built-in ironing board --happily coexist with updates (electrical wiring) and improvements such as a checkerboard kitchen floor, new drought-tolerant landscape and a stylin' master bath addition.  

The original house plans along with Eunice's old travel notes from family vacations were found in the garage (now alternate living space) and are framed in shadow boxes on the living room wall.

The furnishings and decor, staged by sister company, L.A. Salvage, are also available for negotiation if you can't imagine living without them!

Mickey Rapkin in Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about the trend, "The hipster-flipper aesthetic, in addition to kitschy, semi-ironic d├ęcor, is more about stripping away than adding square footage."

It's an interesting approach to thinking about what we value and where and how we live.

It strikes me that maybe I haven't been appreciating the quirks around my own fixer-upper as much as I should. Maybe I'm hipper than I think? (fyi, Magic 8 Ball says: No...)

 If the ingredients for Dwell-worthy, soulful style are, authenticity and integrity with a dash of DIY creativity and old-fashioned ingenuity, we stand on the shoulders of those before us. 

Go, Eunice. 

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