August 9, 2022

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My Sweeten Story: Renovating Our Los Angeles House on the Hill

Returning expats create an eye-grabbing lavatory and french doorways to the deck

“After” photographs by Madeline Tolle for Sweeten

  • Householders: Cory + Andrew posted their undertaking on Sweeten
  • The place: Glassell Park neighborhood in Los Angeles, California
  • Main renovation: A intestine lavatory rework is impressed by New York and Yves Klein blue whereas a pair of recent entry doorways open to the deck
  • Sweeten basic contractor
  • Sweeten’s position: Sweeten matches house renovation tasks with vetted basic contractors, providing recommendation, help, and as much as $50,000 in renovation monetary safety—at no cost.

Visitor weblog submit written by Sweeten home-owner Cory Quailes

Image of LA homeowners who used Sweeten(Above) Household portrait courtesy of Sweeten owners

A homecoming for Individuals overseas

Earlier than the phrase “Covid” entered our collective consciousness, Andrew and I lived as American expats in Hong Kong. As educators, we labored lengthy and lively phrases, which have been usually fulfilling, however typically thankless. We cherished our lengthy breaks.

In our first few years collectively, we traveled throughout Asia and Europe. Nonetheless, we knew sooner or later we’d settle again house in California, near household, each given and chosen.

Buying the right-size bungalow house

2018 was our 12 months. After I returned from a visiting professor position within the South of France, Andrew and I married within the south of California. Proper after we stated “I do,” we began in search of a house, for dwelling in after we visited Los Angeles, and for renting out the remainder of the 12 months. Our aim was to discover a modest, move-in-ready home in a central location, with a spectacular view.


We quickly found, although, that the availability out there assembly each our wants and our finances was enormously restricted. Ultimately, we selected the hillside of Glassell Park. Our 650 square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bathroom bungalow was nonetheless practically double the dimensions of our house in Hong Kong. It was extra space than we’d had in a very long time, and we knew that it could be the proper place to welcome us again to this aspect of the Pacific. Better of all, our southwest-facing view meant we might watch the solar rise and set with out transferring from our perch.

Image of a renovated deck entrance from living room

Image of new French doors leading to deck

Working from house throughout Covid

Then Covid occurred. In the summertime of 2020, we left Hong Kong, our cat Velcro in tow. Shifting throughout a pandemic was not straightforward, however a bigger area and the LA climate made working from house extra manageable. We determined to take pleasure in really dwelling in our house earlier than renovating. When the time was proper, we began with the lavatory, after which added one thing particular for our out of doors area.

The overall renovation time, from demolition to portray, took about six weeks. The small lavatory was the most important problem. We needed an area that was up to date, however timeless. Which meant every thing needed to go!

Impressed by a basic vibrant blue

We’re not afraid of coloration however choose to inject it as an accent. I selected black-and-white as the bottom with 3” x 6” white subway tile. (It reminded us of our years in New York). So as to add some whimsy, we determined to combine geometric shapes—herringbone within the bathe and a brick structure for the remainder of the lavatory. The tile installer ended up laying the herringbone horizontally as a substitute of the basic vertical configuration, however this added to the quirkiness we had envisioned.

Image of a renovated bathroom with blue accent wall, white sink and subway tile

Image of a gut remodel bathroom with walk-in shower and herringbone shower

The bath was eliminated and changed with a freestanding bathe. Andrew is 6’3”, and was thrilled when he found the ceiling might be transfer up by a foot, permitting the showerhead to be mounted a number of inches above his purple curls. For the bathe ground, I selected a easy porcelain penny tile, attempting to match certainly one of my favorites hues: Yves Klein blue. To tie this wealthy coloration again to the remainder of the lavatory, we painted the partitions with custom-matched semi-gloss paint.

Making a small area really feel open

I sourced all the lavatory parts myself. The pre-fabricated glass bathe door performs with the geometric theme utilizing various sizes of rectangles. Its frosted glass helps to diffuse the sunshine whereas offering a modest cowl. I carried this into the blocky console sink with uncovered legs. Above it, the spherical self-importance mirror with a medication cupboard ties again to the spherical penny tiles. Because of the small measurement of the lavatory, it was essential to open it up as a lot as attainable. So we prevented closed cupboards. This additionally compelled us to be extra aware of our muddle.

Image of a blue bathroom accent wall with sink and mirror

For essentially the most half, I used to be acutely aware of not over-spending on the ornamental parts. We did splurge with the items for the sink and bathe. And with the pièce de résistance: a Japanese-style rest room and bidet with seat hotter, air dryer, and heat water setting. Andrew doubted the need of this however now can’t think about life with out it.

The tile installer ended up laying the herringbone horizontally as a substitute of the basic vertical configuration, but it surely solely added to the quirkiness we had envisioned.


The of entirety was the porcelain basketweave ground tiles in black and white. I assumed this might be a pleasant method to floor the complexity of the inflexible and natural shapes with one final factor.

Image of a shower niche

Bringing the deck inside

After we’re house, we discover essentially the most pleasure watching the sundown from our deck that appears over the neighborhood. Our aim was to convey that view into the house itself, so we determined to exchange the 2 front room home windows with a set of prehung French doorways. One of the best function of the doorways is that the blinds are set between two panes of glass, making it very best for thwarting a mischievous, climbing cat. Velcro likes to play! Now all three of us can lie on our rugs and pillows on the ground, watching the sunbeams stream into our house. We even acquired a retractable display door in order that Velcro, too, can benefit from the recent air from inside.

We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made on the house thus far. It feels extra like ours day-after-day! That being stated, we’re nonetheless not accomplished. Subsequent undertaking: kitchen redo! As a house chef, that is my most sacred area. Keep tuned for extra!

Thanks, Cory and Andrew, for sharing your hillside house with us!

Renovation Supplies

BATHROOM RESOURCES: Bathe tile, penny porcelain ground tile, basketweave porcelain ground tile, and toilet wall tile: LA Tile and Stone. Sink faucet and bathe fixture: Home equipment Connection. Vivid Showers rain bathe head in oil rubbed bronze: Amazon. DreamLine French Linea Avignon bathe glass door in satin black; Swiss Madison Claire 24″ console sink; Woodbridge Revel Good Washlet rest room bidet; Golden Lighting Hines black and seeded glass lights; Pegasus drugs cupboard; Steves & Sons fiberglass mini blind patio doorways: The House Depot. Customized paint: Sherwin Williams.

ADUs or accent dwelling models can rework into house workplaces, dwelling area for household or as a rental, or a retreat.

Sweeten handpicks the perfect basic contractors to match every undertaking’s location, finances, scope, and elegance. Comply with the weblog, Sweeten Tales, for renovation concepts and inspiration and if you’re able to renovate, begin your renovation with Sweeten.