In this stunning small-home makeover, see how a few smart strategies made the most of a mere 1,200 square feet
Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jess Chamberlain
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Raise the roof
When Mark Egerstrom and Brian Grosdidier bought their 600-square-foot cottage on a tiny West Hollywood lot, years of neglect had stripped away all its original 1920s charm. “There were aluminum windows, torn-off siding … there was literally a crack pipe in the closet,” says Mark, an interior architect. “But it was an amazing location”—near the Pacific Design Center—“and a great deal.” Mark, who oversaw the two-year remodel, opened up the formerly choppy floor plan, adding glass walls, a loft room, and a roof deck “backyard” on top of it all. With its square footage doubled to a still-modest 1,200 square feet, the two-bedroom house now feels more like a hunting lodge than a cottage, thanks to the warm wood-and-neutrals palette and a few design tricks Mark had up his sleeve.
How they expanded their space? Because of building setback rules in West Hollywood, “we couldn’t go out any farther,” Mark says. “So we went up.”
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Borrow from outside
Glass walls seem to bring the plants into the room itself. It’s a twist on the usual L.A. take on outdoor living: sliding doors opening onto patios. “We’re tricking the eye into feeling there’s more space than there is,” says Mark.
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Define your spaces
On the wall: A bright, geometric painting by Brian anchors the part of the great room that serves as the dining room. In a house this small, it gets plenty of use: Mark and Brian eat at the table nearly every night.
On the ceiling: Recessed light boxes create the illusion of skylights.
On the floor: Despite their dark color, a glass-topped table and spidery chairs keep the space light and airy.
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Think in three dimensions
In the living room, the ebony-stained cedar fireplace wall rises 20 feet to the ceiling. This view is looking down from Mark’s loft office.
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Use your light wells
A door in the far shower wall leads to a small patio bounded by the wooden fence that surrounds the property. In addition to letting lots of natural light into the bathroom, the space is a great place to bathe Mark and Brian’s dogs, Roxy and Buddy.
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Put your outdoor space upstairs
“We’ve got a backyard—it’s just on the roof,” says Mark. “It feels like a treehouse up there above it all.”