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An overcrowded 1950s bungalow morphs into a sleek, spacious refuge

Almost everything about Alison and Jeff Goad’s longtime Manhattan Beach home seemed like an argument for moving.

To work, Jeff had to set up his desk and two computers in the kitchen because there was no room for a home office elsewhere. To play, the couple’s three children had to traipse through the master bedroom to get to the backyard. The cramped quarters also meant that entertaining wasn’t an option, plus there was the constant noise and lack of privacy that came with being on a corner lot near a busy intersection.

“We knew we couldn’t keep living in it the way it was,” Alison says.

So why did they stay and remodel? Three words: Alison’s younger brother. He happens to be Ed Ogosta, an L.A.-based architect who’d spent several years at three local firms overseeing office, multifamily and museum projects and who, at the time, had recently launched his own practice.

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Although Ogosta was eager to tackle the redo and present it as a future calling card, the Goads — she’s a dental hygienist and he’s a pharmacy professor — were initially cautious about hiring him. More accustomed to traditional design styles, they wondered if they would like his aesthetic, which skewed more modern. And, after having dealt with a laid-back contractor in the past, they were surprised by his exacting hands-on approach, down to deciding door knobs and drawer pulls.

Manhattan Beach remodel
Podocarpus hedge, fountain grass and a Desert Museum Palo Verde tree, far left, at the entrance of Alison and Jeff Goad's Manhattan Beach home.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“I knew this house had to be great if it was going to propel my career forward, so I think I cared about it even more than they did,” Ogosta jokes in his defense.

For their part, the Goads gradually came to trust Ogosta, reasoning that he was the experienced architect, after all. As Alison put it: “We decided to give him creative rights as long as he gave us the rooms we wanted.”

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Ogosta delivered what he promised, turning the couple’s overcrowded 1950s bungalow into a sleek, spacious refuge. This was no mere renovation, but a total transformation. Even so, it proved to be more practical and affordable for the Goads than trading up in Southern California’s real estate market.

Manhattan Beach remodel
Kitchen interior before the remodel of Alison and Jeff Goad's Manhattan Beach home.
(Edward Ogosta Architecture)

Receiving a sibling discount on Ogosta’s fee was nice, of course, but even more important was the cost-saving design strategy.

He planned the remodel so that he could demolish only the front of the 1,300-square-foot house and leave the existing master suite, two other bedrooms and the garage intact. This made way for a dramatic 1,000-square-foot, double-height addition to the common living areas. Under a flat roof, open living, cooking and dining areas flow enticingly from the entry toward a rear courtyard equipped with a grill, fire pit and fountain in the shade of a huge Italian stone pine.

Manhattan Beach remodel
After the remodel: Charlie pauses to see what homeowner Alison Goad is up to, while in the kitchen, where the island and dining table enhance the linear flow out to the back patio, which is shaded by a large Italian stone pine tree.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

By eliminating an old bay window along one street and relocating the front door along the other, Ogosta was able to line an inside wall with cabinets that provide much-needed storage as well as a visual and acoustical buffer from passing traffic. Clerestory windows wash the interiors with sunlight and frame the tops of neighborhood palm trees. A compartment built into cabinets behind the sofa conceals Jeff’s fold-out home office.

“I had never been in a house like this,” Jeff says, “it’s amazing.”

The nearby beach’s sea walls, coastal grasses and driftwood inspired the neutral palette of low-maintenance materials. The exterior is white plaster punctuated by vertical fins of cement board that wrap around a corner of the building. Low board-formed concrete garden walls set off the house from the sidewalk. Inside, polished concrete floors, white oak built-ins, white quartz counters and white marble tabletops make for a minimalist backdrop to the large parties and holiday gatherings Alison is able to host now that she has the extra space and an open floor plan.

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Manhattan Beach remodel
Glass doors by LaCantina fold together to create a completely unobstructed opening to the living room, at the front of Alison and Jeff Goad's remodeled home in Manhattan Beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

In addition to improving the home’s appearance and enlarging the space, Ogosta made it function more sustainably. Photovoltaic solar panels power energy-efficient appliances and recharge two electric cars in the net-zero project. Folding glass doors and skylights let in cool ocean breezes and natural light. Decomposed granite, gravel and drought-tolerant plants replaced lawn.

The house, which has won awards from the American Institute of Architects, continues to elicit compliments from visitors — and praise from the Goads.

“There was a lot of pressure on Eddie,” Alison quips about her kid brother. “If this didn’t go well, this house could have messed up the rest of our lives forever.”

More before and after photos »


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