Before and After: Small 1940s condo remodel


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A small, cramped apartment from the 1940s is now light and airy, courtesy of architect Deborah Teltscher, who took down a wall between the kitchen and dining room to create a sense of spaciousness. The project is the latest installment of Pro Portfolio, our Monday feature that looks at recently built, remodeled orredecorated spaces with commentary from the designers.

Project: To update a 650-square-foot apartment turned into a condominium.

Location: Santa Monica.

Architect: Deborah Teltscher. Contractors: Rob and Jan Vandermeer, Vandermeer General Contractors, (818) 708-2181.

Designer’s statement: My client, a close friend, bought a condominium in Santa Monica that is part of a complex of small garden apartments built in the 1940s and recently turned into condominiums. The condos have large windows opening onto pleasant courtyards in the front and back, but my friend’s unit had barely been touched since the 1940s. The kitchen, photographed above before the remodel, was tiny and had a small stove squeezed into in an alcove, old-style 18-inch-deep counters and few cabinets. There was virtually no storage, and the lighting was poor. The biggest issue for the owner, a serious and gregarious cook, was the small opening between the kitchen and the dining room and the lack of connection between the kitchen and the living room.The bathroom was cramped as well.


We removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room and raised the cabinets to create an opening between the kitchen and the living room, so my friend can talk to guests while cooking. The cabinets go all the way to the ceiling to create as much storage as possible. Energy-efficient LED lighting under the cabinets makes the kitchen glow at night. We added a tall pullout rack to the left of the refrigerator (see photo at top) to house a huge collection of spices. We replaced the kitchen’s linoleum floor with oak to match the living room. Additional storage in the living room includes a new built-in desk, bookshelves and TV cabinet.

To see more of the remodel, including the transformation of the bathroom, keep reading ...

Another view of the the cramped kitchen before the remodel.

The small stove had been squeezed into in a corner.

Now the wall between the kitchen and dining area is gone, and the cabinets were raised to create an opening between the kitchen and the living room. The stove is in the peninsula, so if the owner is cooking, she is facing the living room.

The old bathroom was cramped. An oversized bathtub and shower enclosure took up most of the space.

And now: A Santa Monica beach theme. The wall tile pattern, designed by the owner, is a quilt of sea colors. The shower enclosure was replaced with a 2-foot-wide glass panel. The shower floor is pebble tile. As in the kitchen, we incorporated as much storage as possible, creating a large niche for shampoo bottles and installing two mirrored medicine cabinets — one behind the sink and one on the opposite wall. The bead board under the window is reminiscent of classic beach cottages.

The bench looks like wood but actually is ceramic tile.



Industrial loft redecorated

Family friendly loft remodel

A 1950s Venice bungalow remodeled

Mar Vista garden as green testing ground

New look for a 100-year-old Craftsman house

A very small bathroom gets a modern makeover

-- Lisa Boone

Pro Portfolio appears every Monday. Submit projects to

Photos of completed remodel: Pete Bleyer

Photos before remodel: Deborah Teltscher