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Daily House in Glendale: A ‘50s gem, newly polished

By Debra Prinzing

Christophe Burusco’s hunt for a modernist house took him to the hills of Glendale and a single-story, stone-and-glass box that opened up to the San Gabriel Mountains beyond. Called the Daily House after original owners Allan and Jean Daily, the 1,900-square-foot residence had strayed far from its 1954 roots — but the potential was undeniable. “Over time, it had become a traditional, all-American house with pink plaid wallpaper in the kitchen and swag drapes and gold shag carpeting in the living room,” says Burusco, a lawyer who paid just under $500,000 and in 2001 became the property’s second owner. “But I was blown away by the architecture, and I could see beyond all the bad cosmetic changes that had occurred.”

Read the full story on Christophe Burusco’s home. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Designed by Glendale architect Clair Earl, the house has since received a dramatic makeover that won it a place on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources. The design remains loyal to its origins yet has a 21st century sensibility. Burusco worked with Josephine DeSanto of Space Bank Design, a Pasadena interior design and restoration firm. “We wanted someone to walk into the house and almost be confused about what was old and what is new,” DeSanto says. “We didn’t want to go ‘time capsule’ but, instead, give a nod to the past and bring the interiors forward in new ways.”

Here, Burusco walks through the living room, which is shaped like a funnel opening to mountain views. The original grooved wood ceiling continues through the glass wall, reappearing as the patio overhang and helping the interior flow effortlessly outside. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The blue sofa is the Case Study Couch from Modernica in Los Angeles. The orange chair is a vintage piece by Jens Risom. Burusco purchased it at an estate sale warehouse and had it reupholstered with Alexander Girard fabric. The coffee table is a Warren Platner classic; Burusco thinks he purchased it from High Brow Furniture(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The 14,000-square-foot lot feels like a rustic retreat far from the city, and Burusco says he can have all that glass in the living room but still feels like he has plenty of privacy. “The design of this home was based on indoor-outdoor connections in every passageway,” designer DeSanto adds. “The interior restorations resonate with what’s already happening outside the house.” (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Layers of old carpeting and wallpaper were peeled away, but the original cream and tan Palos Verde stone surrounding the fireplace stayed. The same stone appears around a built-in wood-burning grill in the kitchen and on the house’s exterior, where it contrasts with the original board-and-batten façade painted moss green.

Burusco pulled out the dated shag carpeting throughout much of the house. Underneath, he discovered concrete floors, but because he wanted a warmer surface, he installed cork. “I had seen cork in other midcentury houses,” Burusco says. “It was used a lot in the period, plus it has a really nice texture that’s softer than wood or concrete and it’s an environmentally sensitive material.” The 12-by-12-inch yellow cork tile resembles the kind of flooring that often was used in the dens or offices of high-end midcentury homes for the “quiet factor,” DeSanto says. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The kitchen is small but period-perfect. Kitchen countertops received a fresh white Formica finish, and the original cabinet doors were repaired, cleaned and painted orange and gray. Burusco selected a mod 1950s pendant by Poul Henningsen to hang above a Saarinen table and Eames molded fiberglass chairs.

Before he bought the Daily House, while still living in a shared 1980s condo in Santa Monica, Burusco had been collecting midcentury furniture. The Saarinen and Eames pieces came from vintage dealers. A family friend sold him a rosewood Eames lounge chair and ottoman set that he had admired since he was a teenager. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
“For someone who eats out a lot like I do, its size doesn’t bother me,” Burusco says of the space. “On my watch, I needed to leave the kitchen the way it was.” That means a vintage oven rather than a modern high-end appliance. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
No Wolf range here. Instead, an electric Thermador stove. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Three bedrooms and two baths are connected to the home’s public areas by a long hallway off of the foyer. Sage-colored grass cloth accents the walls of the master bedroom, which the designer intended to exude luxury. “If you had grass cloth on your walls back then, you were a high roller,” she says. The material, now available in several colors, is from Astek in Van Nuys. Sand-colored grass cloth was deployed in other parts of the house. “I wanted the palette to be seamless between the grass cloth and the stone,” DeSanto says. “It makes the interior spaces feel larger and doesn’t jar the eye.” (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
When he purchased the house, Burusco inherited blueprints and original specifications from original owner Jean Russom Daily, with whom he later became friendly. The plans gave Burusco and his designer a roadmap for renovations. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The hall bathroom. [Corrected: A previous version of this caption incorrectly labeled the space as the master bathroom.] (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The guest bedroom. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A third bedroom was turned into a home office. The house’s abundant glass looks out onto a vibrant new succulent-and-cactus garden designed by Los Angeles landscape designer Kathleen Ferguson, who incorporated mature cactuses raised by the home’s original owner. A Southern California native, Burusco finds it ironic that he’s embraced the midcentury vibe as an adult. “Growing up, these houses were looked upon as dated,” he says.  (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The back patio off the living room. The X-chairs and ottomans as well as the table were purchased from California Living, a since-closed store on La Brea Avenue.  (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Burusco with his dog, Bruno. By agreeing to list the home on Glendale’s historical register, Burusco has helped to preserve its legacy. “My goal was to ensure that if I’m not the owner of this amazing house in the future, insensitive changes can’t be made, such as the addition of a second story or turning the carport into a garage,” he says. It’s especially gratifying that the original owner, Russom Daily, witnessed the results of Burusco’s efforts before she died in her 90s. “I saw that she approved and was happy that I was the steward of the house,” he says. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The vibrant new garden incorporates new succulents and cactuses as well as decades-old mature specimens. “Chris is the ideal owner of the Daily House,” says John LoCascio, president of the Glendale Historical Society. “He’s managed to respect the original style while also putting his own stamp on it, making the house functional for the new century without altering its original character.” (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The home is part of a growing preservation movement in Glendale. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
When Burusco purchased the house, its exterior had not been altered except for the addition of a greenhouse next to the carport. Burusco removed that structure and its concrete foundation. Landscape designer Ferguson added a poured-in-place walkway that provides a visual cue for entering the front garden, a pretty mix of drought-tolerant succulents and ornamental grasses. With the greenhouse gone, light now pours into the house.

Read the full story on Christophe Burusco’s home.

For a steady stream of Southern California home tours, bookmark our Homes of the Times gallery. For daily updates on the home design scene and California gardening advice, read our L.A. at Home blog(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)