Madeline Tolle

You’ll want an all-black kitchen and bathroom after seeing this gorgeous gut-and-reno project

Nena Farrell  – November 19, 2019 | Updated December 16, 2019

When design studio Transition State first took on this home project, it was supposed to be a minor, two-month renovation. The new owners were looking for a simple reworking of the floor plan of the three-bedroom Venice house, but after meeting with the design team and its three co-founders, the project transformed into a gut-and-reno across the entire home with a full redesign and custom elements, completed in just ten months.

“The vision of the space was mix of an Australian modern beach house with a touch of Venice Beach vibes,” says Transition State co-founder Lauren Schneider. The homeowners, originally from Australia and Venice, are both inspired by surf culture and natural elements while being drawn to modern architecture and design, and the team took those concepts into consideration when designing their new home.

“Ultimately, we decided to keep the bones of the space neutral with clean, crisp lines, but balanced it out with moments of warmth, texture, and drama through furnishings and accents to seamlessly blend the home,” says Kelli Riley, another Transition State co-founder. “We love a moody moment so we took dramatic finishes to the fireplace surround, kitchen, and powder room to create unique elements of surprise.”

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 The home was originally built in 1953, and the team took it down to the studs to recreate the floor plan, reinforce the foundation, and even install new windows and doors. The scope also included a brand-new kitchen with a moody, black stone waterfall edges and backsplash against black cabinets, balanced by the natural tones of the bar stools and hanging pendant light. “The juxtaposition with hints of white and wood elements for warmth provided a statement kitchen that isn’t too dark. It feels livable,” says Jenna Rochon, the third Transition State co-founder.

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The beautiful living room packs a surprise—a hidden television. “We designed a custom panel on tracks to hide the television and placed a piece a large piece of art over it, so unless you look closely, the TV disappears,” says Scheinder.

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The matte black framing around the built-in bookshelves adds minimalist flair to the living room.

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“As a team, we accounted for the smaller space by having a continuous neutral palette throughout the home, but still added small moments of impact like matte black doors and hardware with a pop of brass,” says Riley. “These tiny details really stand out and make the space feel methodical yet artistic.”

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The change to a gut-and-reno project had its hurdles, especially when grappling with the mid-century original build. “The biggest challenge we faced in this project was retrofitting the space to meet current code standards,” says Rochon. “We discovered several structural imperfections which led our team, along with the builder, to retrofit several aspects, from replacing plumbing lines, increased footings ridge beams, and more changes for structural reinforcement,” she said.

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Upstairs, the team decided to pitch the ceilings in the guest bedroom to tie it in with the exterior of the home. “[It also] added significant height and overall increased the size of the rooms,” says Schneider. Here, the office features a lounging chaise and a beautifully neutral palette to complement the black tones throughout the room.

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The all-black powder room is a complete show-stopper, using the small space for ultimate dramatic impact. “We wanted a moody bathroom moment that would complement the open, white space for the guest bath,” says Riley. “We designed the space with clerestory windows that frame two walls so light was still coming in from the exterior, but then went tonal with the paint on the walls, ceiling, tile floor, and concrete vanity. A burnished brass faucet moment rounds out the modern with a touch of vintage experience.”

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“We love the entrance to the master bedroom,” says Rochon. “The black set of mini doors are a total statement.”

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The master bed’s deep purple bedding and matching velvet lumbar pillow brings a bolder touch into the space, contrasting with the overall softer palette, as seen in the tufted headboard and minimalist walls.

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The light-filled master bath includes both a soaking tub and a glass shower, with black paneling to tie in with the rest of the home’s aesthetic. The scalloped tile from Arto Brick adds a whimsical twist to the room.

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The master bath gains light from the doorway to a second-floor deck, giving the bathroom a feel of an outdoor shower and embracing the home’s modern beach house aesthetic. The balcony includes a high wall for total privacy.

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“Our team’s favorite part of the home is how the interior and exterior seamlessly blend together to create a cohesive oasis for the owners,” says Scheinder. The team designed exterior living spaces off the main dining room, perfect for al fresco dinner parties and enjoying the Los Angeles weather.

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