Hot dog-ish home transformed into midcentury-modern standout


Not many Beverly Hills homes have been compared to a Wienerschnitzel hot dog franchise.

That’s what owner Carol Surface termed her four-bedroom, four-bathroom 1964 home before a remodel that concluded in 2008. The artist also spent the last decade updating the 2,773-square-foot home, now listed for $2.6335 million.

Surface and husband Hank bought the home in 2004 for $1.36 million after she spied potential beyond a stingy entry and an A-shaped roofline flanked by fake brick. Surface’s belief in the home ran deep — she made an offer within hours of her first look.


The home’s pedigree perhaps helped. Late singer O.C. Smith used royalties from his Grammy hit “Little Green Apples” to purchase the home in a previous decade. Hollywood director and writer Philip Rapp, (“Baby Snooks” and “The Bickersons” radio comedies) was also a homeowner.

Architectural designer Peter Moyer mastered the remodel of what he called the “A-frame birdhouse-looking thing.” Surface declined to say how much the renovation cost.

Moyer expunged the home’s pedestrian facade, installing a central towering box wreathed with flying eaves — “midcentury modern with a Frank Lloyd Wright twist,” as Moyer described it. Soaring beams frame the entry’s new clerestory windows, with Douglas firs warming the commanding look on the soffit that extends to the entry’s vaulted ceiling.

A low wall that severed the sunken living room from the dining area was replaced with three steps, creating a new sense of flow. Gazing past the dining room, the eye formerly smashed into the kitchen wall, but now a rectangular shaped cutout showcases some of the kitchen’s intrigue.

And the multi-tone kitchen is indeed intriguing.

Ash cabinets, some faced with textured pewter-colored Italian laminate, are topped with charcoal-ish Italian porcelain tile. A variant of that tile covers the floors, but in smoky tones.

“They feel like silk beneath your feet,” said Surface, who for 13 years rented an art studio in nearby Venice.

Surface added a dash of her own artistry to the kitchen: nine square ceiling insets fit with her art transparencies.

She also transformed a guest bath’s garish 1970s padded fabric wall into a work of art: She applied masking tape in the shape of branches onto the fabric, then spray-painted the wall a pale shell color. Lifting the tape revealed a radiant network of trees.

The living room’s former fireplace was a towering 120-square-foot behemoth of fake stone, which was torn off to reveal a brick face and cantilevered hearth. That was faced with drywall and painted Surface’s favorite color: purple.

After eight years of living with the color, “even I got purpled out,” said Surface, explaining her recent campaign to de-purple her home, which included covering that living room fireplace with a marble mosaic. The master bedroom’s hearth was recently fit with a glass mosaic. It once glowed an iridescent violet.

Zach Goldsmith of Hilton and Hyland has the listing.


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