Before and After: A Tudor revival cavern becomes a light and airy contemporary home

Despite its dark interiors and chopped-up spaces, a Tudor revival on Benedict Canyon was said to be a favorite of Elton John, who neighbors say was a frequent visitor to the Sherman Oaks home in the 1980s.

Rumor has it the singer spent hours playing darts with a former owner of the four-bedroom, four-bathroom property, a friend of his who was also in the music business.


More than three decades later, the old-fashioned dwelling was calling for a makeover. It hadn't had one since 1978.

"It had beautiful bones, soaring ceilings, but it really felt dark and dated," said interior designer Lisa Vergeer, who purchased the property with her husband for $1.239 million in 2015. "I wanted to brighten it and create a cheerful, family home."

Four months and $300,000 in renovations later, she did just that.

Her first priority was to eliminate the 3,466-square-foot property's cramped feel. So Vergeer, the principal of design firm Azul Interiors, opened up the first floor by getting rid of the coat closet near the entrance, removing a wall separating the kitchen from the dining room and replacing the claustrophobic wall on either side of the staircase with glass stair railings.

In the kitchen, the wood cabinetry, dark hardware and tile countertops gave way to light gray cabinets, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. She also added a kitchen island for extra storage and counter space. Delicate crystal chandeliers and crystal cabinet pulls add a hint of glamour to the space.

Vergeer infused a romantic feel in the master bedroom, where dated gold fixtures were switched out for shaded sconces. The bulky rectangular bathtub was replaced with a more compact soaking tub. Light, white and airy became the home's new theme.

Instead of beige and brown, Vergeer redid the interior in a more modern gray and white color scheme. She also added wainscoting throughout to complement the home's architecture.

Now, only a few colorful stained windows of the home's antiquated past remain.

"When I walked in, I couldn't even believe it was the same house," said neighbor Rochelle Shields, a Benedict Canyon resident since 1970 who had seen the original home being constructed.

Vergeer and her husband, Oscar Marquez, recently put the house on the market for $1.725 million.

Then "the search begins again for a new fixer," Vergeer said. She and her family have lived in three self-renovated properties over the last six years.