A Touch of Dark Glamour Transforms a Pasadena Ranch House
Alex Zarour of Virtually Here Studios
Other house-hunters saw a nondescript Ranch house with dated interiors. Interior designer Kirsten Blazek saw an opportunity to create her very own oasis of California cool.
“There’s no logical reason why I am so attracted to the American Southwest,” says Kirsten Blazek, who was born in Scotland and moved to the States in her early 20s when she was a self-described “fresh-faced know-nothing.” “It’s the opposite of where I grew up. Maybe that’s why I like it.”
Blazek tapped into her love of Western art, Aztec-inspired pattern, natural leather, and a dark neutral palette when she was furnishing the home for her own family. “I didn’t know how long I would live there, but I knew it would be a good investment,” she said.
When she first saw the house, just a couple of days before Thanksgiving 2017, it was a non-event in an otherwise chaotic real estate environment. The location was excellent, close to the Arroyo in a coveted Pasadena neighborhood near the Rose Bowl, but there were few takers.
“I guess no one could really see the potential,” she says. “It was kind of a mess, but I knew I could make it special.”
In a back-breaking five month remodel, which Blazek describes as “psychotic, and not something I would ever recommend to clients,” she opened up the ceilings, fixed the wood floors, knocked down a few walls to create an open living area, installed a new HVAC system, transformed the kitchen, and painted the exterior, along with the doors and window trim in Black Fox by Sherwin Williams.
The result of her efforts is house that’s both comfortable and visually sophisticated, and a master class in how to re-think a layout to make the most of your square footage.
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