(Courtesy of Reza Farahan)
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
In the remodel of their North Hollywood home, Reza and Adam Farahan set aside one bedroom solely for special members of their family — Miss Moo, Peet, Smokey, Woody and Bugsy, the couple’s five cats, who now have an exclusive spot for their scratching posts and exercise wheel.
The feline-friendly space was one of the things on the Farahan manifesto when the duo gutted their 1,600-square-foot Toluca Woods house. They added several hundred square feet and transformed it from a traditional cottage-style home into a modern and contemporary residence, complete with an outdoor living room with a black marble water feature.
Chihuahua mix Marty did not get his own room — he gets to share the master bed and has the backyard to himself.
The Farahans — Reza is a real estate agent and one of the stars of the Bravo reality series “Shahs of Sunset,” and husband Adam works in film post-production — bought the house in 2017, wanting to move from their Hancock Park condo into a more suburban area.
The house had just fallen out of escrow after a bidding war with 40 offers. When Reza saw it, many aspects appealed to him, including an apple tree in the backyard that was identical to the one at his childhood home in Beverly Hills.
“It was a sign,” he said. “I called Adam and said, ‘You need to get here right now.’ By the time we left, we had negotiated a deal and were in escrow in two days.”
The Farahans loved the charming, storybook feel of the 1940s home, but it hadn’t been updated in decades.
“It wasn’t terrible,” Reza said. “Visually it looked OK. But the layout was very choppy. You walked into a tiny vestibule, but the living room was the master bedroom. There was a small kitchen with one window and a beehive fireplace in one corner, which we nicknamed ‘the pizza oven.’ The bathroom floor was giving out; if you jumped up and down in there, you’d end up in the crawl space.”
Reza said that the teardown-worthy condition of the property was one of the things that drew him. Before finding it, he and Adam would look at homes in the $1.8-million range, newly remodeled, yet Reza found himself wanting to rip out new kitchens and redo them.
“Adam said to me, ‘Cool your jets. Crazy people buy houses that are totally done and rip kitchens out. We’re not crazy.’ But this house needed everything redone. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.”
The yearlong, $400,000 revamp, which involved taking the house down to its studs, now includes an open plan living-dining-kitchen space filled with natural light, and allows for an easy flow whether the couple is entertaining or at home alone.
“We wanted a modern open space, where we could really entertain and live and have a lot of communication,” Reza said. “If Adam is in the living room and I am in the kitchen, I want to be fully engaged with him. These public parts of the house had to be open, and the private portion to be private and away from everything else.”
Reza installed pale wood floors — he acted as interior designer on the project — and dark velvet furniture. In the living room, the walls are covered with Hicks’ Hexagon, a signature wallpaper from the late interior designer David Hicks for British wallpaper purveyor Cole & Son; the geometric print is in cream, gold and dark blue.
“I lean towards a more modern aesthetic,” Reza said.
The master bedroom features a hefty, burnished gold ceiling light and pieces that the Farahans brought from their previous homes, such as a Midcentury bench from their Palm Springs house and furniture by Knoll and Restoration Hardware that used to be in their Hancock Park condo. The master bathroom has lots of black marble and a little goldfish bowl. The entire master suite was added on, replacing what used to be a deck and a backyard. Outdoors, Adam tends an abundant fruit and vegetable garden, growing watermelons, tomatoes, berries and Swiss chard.
Reza will occasionally step in and work with clients to renovate their homes, partly to indulge his interest in design.
“I’m always seeking out the newest stone and faucet, and bookmarking pages on every design website. I love change, design and construction. And now, there’s not a lot left to do here,” he said. “I’m always thinking about the next house, and what I’d do differently.”