Before and After: From nondescript to storybook charm
When designer and house hunter Kishani Perera spied a rather charmless 1923 Mid-City home, she knew her first step: Set the home free of its jail bars and frame the entryway with stately columns.
“I could tell it had good bones, just a good feeling to it,” said Perera, who bought the two-bedroom, two-bathroom house for $640,000 in 2013. She’s now selling it for $1.1 million.
After nearly three years of work, the home now sports true cottage charm — and that includes the converted garage, tricked out with four skylights, new windows and a front arbor.
“This has been my passion project,” said Perera, who has designed homes for Harry Styles, Molly Sims, Rachel Bilson and Michael C. Hall, among others.
Perera replaced the home’s exterior paint (previously an all-business gray) with Benjamin Moore’s deeper Quarry Rock gray that harbors undertones of blue and green.
“The new color felt original to the house, kind of a vintage vibe to it,” said Perera.
Finished with new, white-trimmed Marvin windows, the revived home now snaps against its steep slope of synthetic turf — expertly matched to neighbors’ lawns by Calabasas-based New View Landscape.
A spray of pittosporum and olive bushes edge the home’s front, softening the look.
To help expand the smallish 1,038-square-foot interior, Perera connected the cramped kitchen, dining and laundry areas, opening them to the living room. Original American oak flooring is found throughout the home.
The kitchen’s new glossy black cabinetry is topped with white Calcutta marble — all paired with sleek appliances: an Electrolux dishwasher and refrigerator and a Bertazzoni range and oven. The faucet is by Perrin and Rowe.
The lighting, much of it refurbished vintage, was largely sourced from Perera’s Rummage boutique on Beverly Boulevard. Newer fixtures are by Cedar & Moss.
A Maria Theresa chandelier, its sleeves painted a chic gray, dominates the dining room, and an art deco fixture (a German skyscraper design) hangs in the master bath.
Perera’s interest in vintage was triggered during family visits to Sri Lanka when she was a young teenager.
“Shops there had these most amazing pieces from the 18th and 19th century,” she said. “I love the history and story behind vintage pieces; I can feel real soul in them.”
The master bath’s black vanity with brassy accents is of a newly minted vintage design, and the hall bathroom harbors a darkly handsome 1950s cabinet. Both rooms have Cement Tile floors.
Other hidden touches in the home include all new electrical and plumbing systems, a new slim line HVAC and a Nest thermostat. The house is also wired for alarm, camera and Sonos sound systems.
The former dirt patch that was the oversized backyard is now lined with bay leaf hedges that wreathe an inviting St. Augustine lawn. A recessed patio spread with pea gravel borders the house.
The most sensible backyard feature, however, may be the simplest: a seductive hammock strung between lemon and grapefruit trees.
Jacqueline Gunn of Westside Estate Agency has the listing.
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