Just a few months after Mimi Choi and Brenden Schaefer purchased their Bronson Canyon, CA home, the couple approached ModOp Design to help prepare the residence for their next major life change — baby Mia’s arrival. Firm principals Alexandra Becket and Greg Steinberg, who focus on the architectural restoration and mindful updating of mid-century modern structures, were excited by the possibilities for the 1946 2,200-square-foot Hollywood Hills house. During the course of the job, the team fully overhauled a bonus room above the garage (affectionately nicknamed “the barn”) by exposing the pitched roof, and adding skylights and larger windows to create a spot brimming with sunshine. Additionally, custom seating was crafted with the utility of a built-in storage bench. They also covered a spiral stairwell in spirited wallpaper with help from the good folks at Hygge & West, who were kind enough to scale up a Julia Rothman wallcovering pattern to better suit the area’s generous height. Finally, the dirty work — three bathrooms were gutted and finished with Heath Ceramics subway tile in different colorways, giving each space a distinctive personality, but sharing a common thread throughout.
With a six-month timeline before the family’s newest member would arrive, the design duo’s biggest challenge was staying on top of the contractor and crew to get the project finished before her birth. They began the fast-paced task by proposing how best to reconfigure the bonus room and bathrooms to make use of their square footage and maximize available daylight. Pinterest was an essential tool in exchanging images amongst the group. Becket and Steinberg would use it to propose ideas, which they pulled from their inspiration boards, their own previous projects, and from online searches of visual stimuli. The designers created boards for each room that would include pins for layout suggestions, vanity options, tile schemes, and products from which to choose. They then sorted through collections with the homeowners and edited down to the final selections.
Once construction began, the upstairs bathrooms were remodeled first so that Choi and Schaefer could live downstairs temporarily. When that work was mostly finished, the downstairs guest bathroom took center stage, as did reviving the bonus room and stairwell. The designers were thankful to have clients who brought a lot of their own creative ideas to the table, and who were very collaborative in the project’s development and decision-making processes. This close partnership, along with the presence of a bubbly resident infant, compel the proud new parents to say, “What was once a house now feels like our home.” —Annie
“After” photography by Charmaine David