It’s an elegant space with a lived-in feel.

Kitchen in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
Michael P.H. Clifford

When you think of a new build by a developer, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something that looks modern and functional, but also looks cookie cutter. That wasn’t the case for this home in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, designed by Kirsten Blazek of a1000xbetter for her developer client, Waleed Delawari, founder of Pacifica Ventures Group.

The home was originally a small two-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow that was on a long but narrow lot. It was in bad condition—“rundown, dilapidated, uncared for, with a weird layout,” Kirsten says. She and her team ended up taking down everything but the front wall and transforming it into a two-story, three-bedroom house with an ADU in the back.

Front Door in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
The circle window on the front door softens the vertical lines.

Michael P.H. Clifford

Because Kirsten had worked with this developer before, he gave her and her team a little bit more free rein when it came to the project, designing it to a higher standard than what some other developers might require. His only request was to add as much usable square footage as possible.

Entry Hallway in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
The shoji-inspired sliding door is on the left.

Michael P.H. Clifford

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For the design style, Kirsten went with a Japandi-inspired look, deliberately different from the modern farmhouse trend that is seen in a lot of new builds these days. The style, which is a mix of Scandinavian and Japanese design, includes a blend of warm wood tones, is modern, but clean, has a lot of vertical lines, and exudes warmth and an organic feel. “I like the cleanliness of it, but also obviously the Scandinavian influence brings in a lot of wood, which warms it up,” Kirsten explains. “Our leanings as a firm will never be in the contemporary or modern world. So if we do ever have to work in newer construction, I’m always very cognizant of trying to also bring it to a place that feels somewhat authentic to us as a firm within reason. I always design with the thought in mind, ‘Would I be happy to live here afterwards?’ That may be silly, but I always want to do something that I’m happy with at the end and it still feels as authentic to us as it can within the parameters of any given project, basically.”

Guest Bedroom in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
The guest bedroom gets plenty of light. All furniture in the home was provided by Pride of Place.

Michael P.H. Clifford

Powder Room in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
The walls in the powder room give dimension to the space.

Michael P.H. Clifford

For the layout, Kirsten and team worked with an architect to make sure that although it was on a long and narrow lot, the home wouldn’t become a railroad-style house. They did so by adding different layers. “The guest bedrooms are off the front door, but we wanted to make sure that they also felt private,” she says. “We were inspired by a shoji screen and did a beautiful vertical slat door that slid to close off the bedrooms at the front of the house so there was still privacy from the front door and then there was also a bathroom placed between the two bedrooms. We had a sitting room to the right of the front door as an additional entertaining area.”

Dining Room in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
The dining room light fixture is actually from Kirsten’s guest house and now has a permanent residence in this home.

Michael P.H. Clifford

They also layered in wood as much as they could, whether it was in the open shelving in the front room, in a built-in bench, on the ceiling, on the floors, and in the doors. Kirsten explains that adding the wood can help “warm up” a new construction that might feel too cold, making it feel more lived-in.

The larger living space near the back of the house features big French doors and is somewhat open to the kitchen and dining area. The dining room has big sliding doors and connects to a patio to emphasize indoor-outdoor living. 

Kitchen Island in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
The range hood adds some glamour to the kitchen. “[Range hoods] are functional but not the prettiest. So we just wanted to bring in the brass to add warmth to the space,” Kirsten says.

Michael P.H. Clifford

In the kitchen, the most eye-catching piece is probably the curved black fluted island, which Kirsten says was brought in as a way to soften some of the angles in the space, since there were a lot of rectangular shapes going on. A lot of that subtle softening technique was done throughout the house, too. “There’s a circle window in the front door and there’s also a circle window in the dining room and that was again, just another intent to soften all of these linear lines that we had in the house,” she adds.

Bathroom in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
Brass fixtures and a rug keep the bathroom from feeling too sterile or modern. All the rugs in the home are from Blue Parakeet Rugs.

Michael P.H. Clifford

And while the guest bedrooms are on the first floor, the primary bedroom, bathroom, and closet are located on the second floor. The stunning primary bathroom has more of a modern feel than anything else in the house, with a concrete tub, but it’s warmed up with brass fixtures.

ADU in Japandi House by Kirsten Blazek
The ADU design is similar to the main home’s, with a mix of wood tones and clean lines.

Michael P.H. Clifford

If you’re guessing that the house probably sold quickly because of its elegant and unique design, you’re right on the mark. “The house was really well received,” Kirsten says. “I prefer to work in a character home space, but when we have to do new construction, we try and be really thoughtful about the details that we put into the design and I do think that this house is really well detailed both on the interior and the exterior.”