For Randy and Debbie Hild, the journey to painstakingly remodel their new home in Laguna Niguel, California took four years. “We sold our [old] house and gave ourselves a 3-mile radius to find a single-story, flat-roof midcentury modern home,” says Randy. They eventually found one that had been designed by George Bissell, a lesser-known contemporary of Joseph Eichler’s.
The couple vowed to honor Bissell’s vision even while making changes to fit their needs. Randy took advantage of transitioning between jobs to devote six months to getting the remodel right. Randy told designer Mason St. Peter, “Don’t treat this like a museum. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to make it livable.”
St. Peter saw potential in the existing cathedral ceilings, impressive fireplace, and the number of windows already in place. He left the front of the house, bedrooms, and bathrooms alone, but removed the wall between the living room and kitchen, and extended the newly open room into the backyard, taking the house from 1,700 square feet to 2,000. He also convinced Randy to push the ceilings of the addition up to 13 feet to take advantage of the light from that side of the house.
As construction progressed, the family pored over inspiration photos from the 1960s decorating books they collect, including vintage Sunset titles. They made every design decision together. Randy’s adherence to his source material extended to the exteriors, as well, including the front yard fence and deck out back.
For the outdoor area surrounding those two features, Randy hired landscape architect Ann Christoph, who previously worked with George Bissell’s firm. He asked her to plant the garden she would have planted in the ’60s, but as low-water and native as possible. She filled the yard with structural foliage, bonsai junipers, and a black pine tree. “It’s super-classic midcentury modern,” Randy says of the results.