Before and After: Groovy 1970s party house turns Japanese-rustic

Terra cotta tiled floors, a sunken living room and a semicircular sofa — Ricci Dedola’s 1979 Seal Beach home existed in a disparate 1970s-1980s design divide.

“It looked kind of museum-y but also had a movie star home kind of feel,” said Dedola, who bought the home with her husband in 2001 for $706,000.

The pair lived with the quirky style until 2007, when they hired Santa Monica designer Christopher Scott.

“We wanted to have the feeling of a Victorian family living in a rustic Japanese farmhouse — in the middle of Seal Beach,” said Dedola, 54, a theater actor and director.


The $500,000, six-month renovation of the 2,481-square-foot home was launched by demolishing two walls, opening the kitchen to the living room.

The design is now awash with dark wood backed by banks of Eldorado stone veneer, contrasted by Venetian plasterwork.

The sunken living room’s built-in mod sofa was tossed, but with some reluctance; the couple wanted to save it. The ruby 1970s Herman Miller piece, backed with a stainless-steel ledge, was stuffed with foam that had turned toxic. Scott said four upholsterers refused to update it, “not for any price.”

The replacement: a curved leather sectional sofa that retains a groovy vibe. The room’s existing fireplace was opened to the outside patio, doubling the flame power.

New kitchen cabinets and millwork were fashioned by Basque craftsmen using reclaimed wood from Victorian homes in Pasadena; Japanese-inspired drawer handles resemble “old iron railway tie spikes,” Scott said. Hammered copper sinks are surrounded by raw granite tops and Viking, Subzero and Bosch appliances.

The multilevel roof deck was re-coated with a laminate, and the angular home’s gray exterior was re-stuccoed a warm terra cotta.

Upstairs, a former bedroom was turned into a walk-in closet, and the master bedroom was paneled with dark-stained alder.

The new master bath’s hammered copper tub is set near wood shower pillars fitted with jets and Japanese motifs. A rock wall is inset with fossils.


“I use a trilobite, the big bug-looking one, as a soap dish,” Dedola said of the relic.

Dedola’s favorite master bath addition: a Japanese Toto toilet with bells and whistles. “When you walk in the bathroom, the toilet lid pop opens and kind of says ‘hello’ to you,” Dedola said. The commode flushes upon a user’s exit.

Not everything was replaced: Dedola kept two 1980s tower fountains built of stacked slabs of bottle green glass that were installed by the previous owner.

Scott thought the foyer fountains were “too reminiscent of the old style,” but Dedola treasured how light played on the cascading water.


Instead, Scott removed a low glass wall that bordered the fountains, replacing the pool’s edge with boulders. A meditation platform was added to a side alcove that faces the fountains.

The couple are now selling the redesigned three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence — four blocks from the ocean — for $1.995 million.



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