How an L.A. couple turned a gloomy cabin into a sunny oasis. Hint: Think sledgehammers
Design ideas from an inspiring remodel
When part-time design consultants Jon Leaver and Tyke O’Brien bought their 1,500-square-foot Topanga Canyon house in 2007, it was a dark hillside cabin. DIYing whenever possible, they spent more than a year transforming the space into a light-filled and spacious home.
“For us, every house has potential,” Tyke says. “We thought like we always think: Never look at the big picture, just take the project bit by bit.”
Click ahead to see what they did, mixing some old with the new along the way.
“For ages, we had a dotted line and scissors painted on the wall in the [former] garage that we wanted to replace with windows,”
After shopping for the best deal, they installed double French doors and windows there to create a light-filled living room and a more convenient entrance to the 1976 cabin.
Additionally, opening the opposite wall between the dining room and the old garage made the most of the downstairs living space. Jon and Tyke opted to grind and polish the concrete floor (previous page) for a smooth finish, giving the area a modern edge.
In addition to some big changes, Jon and Tyke focused on simple details that had a big impact.
Before, Arts and Crafts-style lighting throughout dated the house. Now, a combination of vintage, Ikea, and designer fixtures gives off a more current vibe.
The flagstone surrounding the pot-bellied stove looked tired and dark. The solution was, simply, a can of paint—a tool they
used all around the house.
With the stone painted white, the black stove becomes a focal point, and the room gets an easy dose of mod.
“This bedroom’s paneling was one of the first things we loved about the house,” says Tyke.
The pine was reclaimed from shipping pallets (some planks still have the stamped labels).
To counter its relative darkness, Jon and Tyke lightened the flooring, added white trim, and hung soft white curtains.
To make the new living room feel cozier, Jon built shelves to display the family’s collection of books and decorative objects.
Grouping the volumes by color adds graphic punch without costing a thing.