Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
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Fung & Blatt house: Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny

Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
By Emily Young
When an electrical fire destroyed her L.A. home, Bobby Blatt, 76, didn’t downsize to a condo. She chose to rebuild. She asked her son, Michael, and his wife, Alice Fung, partners in Fung & Blatt Architects, to design a spacious modern house that meets her current needs but also is flexible enough to change as she grows older. Pictured here: The more traditional front door opens to an airy living room, where Bobby passes through a modern glass door to a patio area. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
The new house is a far cry from the 1920s Tudor-style house that Bobby and her late husband, Jonathan, bought in 1965. “I didn’t want to design an old person’s house, which is typically smaller and static,” son Michael says. “It needed to feel alive and full of energy.” The 2,600-square-foot new is centered on living, cooking and dining where Bobby can entertain large crowds. Ceilings soar 24 feet, drawing the eye toward structural beams and David Trubridge light fixtures. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
The new kitchen opens to a dining deck through glass doors on the right. Bobby still hosts between 30 and 50 people for holidays and birthdays and wanted the house to function as a gathering place, just as her old house did. “Everybody came to our house. We had an open-door policy,” she says. “If anyone needed help or a place to stay, they could find it here. It was our center, our core.” (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
Reverse view of the kitchen. Note the dining deck on the left and, on the far wall, the open shelves and windows. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
Display shelves in the kitchen and some windows for more natural light. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
A family room on the ground floor doubles as a guest room today but can become the master bedroom if stairs ever become too hard for Bobby to climb. The room also could serve as a caregiver’s bedroom. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
Bobby Blatt on the deck ringing her house. Abundant connections to her yard help to create a sense of indoor-outdoor living. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
Michael Blatt looks down from the second floor of the house. Sunlight pours in through multiple sources, accentuating the warmth of solid cherry floors and maple plywood cabinets. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
A hallway office between the master suite and two other bedrooms gives Bobby and house guests ample work space with a view of the neighborhood. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
The master bedroom: Like the downstairs rooms, it’s spacious and airy. Glass doors bring in plenty of natural light. Translucent fiberglass doors to the closet and bathroom provide privacy without darkening those spaces. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
A bedroom fireplace. Built-ins throughout the house provide places to display artwork that neighbors and firefighters rescued when the old house burned, including the figurative statues by Noel Osheroff pictured here. Bobby also displays tribal sculpture and, most precious of all, watercolors and ceramics by her late husband, Jonathan. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
The bathroom: No granny style here. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
The master bathroom contains a traditional tub. But downstairs, where the family room could be converted into a new master bedroom if Bobby develops mobility problems, the bathroom has a walk-in shower large enough for a seat. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
“The house had to be a desirable destination so people would want to visit,” Michael Blatt says. That meant incorporating bells and whistles for Bobby’s four grandchildren. A pool and spa provides a place where the kids can play. One guest room sports a loft accessible by way of a staircase disguised as a bookshelf and another secret passageway consisting of a ladder hidden inside cabinets. “The kids aren’t so little anymore, but they climb all over like monkeys,” Bobby says. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
To help the house blend in on the street: a stucco exterior, a pitched slate roof and wood-framed doors and windows. Less obvious are environmentally friendly details such as passive cooling, rooftop photovoltaic panels and hookups for a gray-water irrigation system to come. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
Using items salvaged from the ruins of the old house, Michael Blatt and Alice Fung installed a leaded-glass window, its stained-glass windmill intact, in the dining area. They also recycled the front door. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Owner may be 76, but design is anything but granny
“I was thrilled,” Bobby says of the salvaged door from her old house. “The grandkids and I voted to paint it dark purple. It was bright purple before, and we always told people that if they forgot our address to just look for the purple door.”

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