Before & After: A Hollywood Hills Makeover

Having grown up in a household filled with preservationists, I was raised to believe that there is no house or building too far gone for a little TLC. Because of this, it always warms my heart when I hear stories of people who have taken it upon themselves to refurbish a home that would otherwise be deemed unsalvageable. One of these stories recently dropped into our inbox, courtesy of interior designer and artist Alexandra Becket. When Alexandra and her husband stumbled upon this cottage in the Nichols Canyon neighborhood of Hollywood Hills, they fell immediately in love with the home’s vaulted ceilings with original hand-chiseled wood beams. Although the 1949 home was in serious disrepair and most landowners would have simply demoed it, the couple decided to give it a second go at glory and revive its charming “storybook cabin” feeling—with a modern twist, of course. Check out all of the photos of this amazing renovation and more information about its process after the jump! —Max

Although the exterior of the cottage was in very poor condition when Alexandra and her husband purchased the home, the couple wanted to maintain its overall feeling. They did so by replacing the former Shaker-style wooden siding with HardieShingle Staggered Edge Shinges in their “Evening Blue” color. Although not actually cedar wood, the new shingles are weather and fire resistant—a definite plus. The front door is painted Benjamin Moore’s Merlot Red, a striking compliment to the cottage’s blue shingles.

To open up the main space and bring more light in, the couple tore down the wall separating the living room and the kitchen. The living room’s fireplace was rebuilt using brick salvaged from the previous patio. The interior paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Acadia White. The schoolhouse pendant lights in the main living area came from Rejuvination. Kitchen cabinets and sink from IKEA, kitchen island and dining table set from West Elm. Vintage kilim rug in the living room from Amadi Carpets.

Bathroom faucets from Grohe, shower hardware from Hansgrohe. Bathroom sconces from West Elm.

The furniture throughout the house is mostly vintage, collected by the couple over the past few years. A few of the items (namely the screen-printed pillows in the office and the Joshua Tree painting in the bedroom), though, were made by Alexandra herself! Check out more of her work here.


Amazing transformation. The house turned out beautifully!


My house has those same “before” shingles in the same color and state of disrepair! I’m going to check out those HardieShingles!


Kudos to the preservation and reusing existing elements (patio brick to fireplace) – looks like a jewel of a home now.


So bright and welcoming now! I’m curious about details, though: square footage and no. of bedrooms and baths (just the one each shown, or more?).

Dana O.

Love how you went rustic and manly instead of the easier shabby chic. The black tile and the master bedroom’s bed legs are amazing!


Definitely a huge improvement, though I wish they had painted at least some of the walls something other than white.


Wow! I’m just blown away by this renovation! I know how quirky the houses and lots in the Hollywood Hills can be, and this one just oozes creativity and fun!


Wow! This place is stunning. I shed a single tear when I saw that they didn’t re-use the cool blue toilet and bathtub, but I got over it. They did a wonderful job.


Wow! I had to inspect really closely to even figure out how the before and after were the same space. Making it so open was an excellent choice, and is especially complimented by the high ceilings!


Stunning renovation, the owners must be very proud of themselves ! It just sings and I would love it to be mine ! Well done for up cycling and redoing, quality and finesse.




So gorgeous! I love everything about it, but especially how they opened the walls to take advantage of the vaulted ceiling. It looks like it was worth the effort!

Patty Rumaker

Amazing transformation! I especially appreciate the difference in that bathroom. Hahaha!! This home really does look so lovely now. It is so great to be able to restore!
Thanks, Patty


This house was a flip. It was bought on 6/22/12 and sold on 5/03/13. I think they did a great job but this isn’t a home that someone lovingly fixed up to live in for a long time.


Nice. But what a shame to have lost all of the original exterior timber window and door surrounds that would have identified the house architecturally.

Deb Baker

Always warms my heart to see an old home restored rather than demolished. Superb job! Although I have to agree with Martini-Girl about the loss of the exterior window and door features.

Alex / Office Supplies

Lovely, very impressive work here. I feel quite ashamed as in my dinky flat I can’t even be bothered making it look good. White walls everywhere. Lots of books on my shelf unit, though, so at least this makes me look smart! Congratulations on a tremendous job well done.


Although removing the central wall in the main space was a stellar idea, I was really sad to see that they replaced the storybook trim and cedar siding that really gave the house its character. I commend them for keeping the house instead of tearing it down, which others might have done, but it’s soul has been compromised!


Oh wow, I preferred the whimsy of the window, roofline detail in the ‘before’ pics. Now it looks too ordinary for me. It’s more salable though so if a ‘flip’ was the intention, that transformation was the ticket.

Sarah Reiss

I love the after and agree, somewhat, about the window and door casings. I like them in theory, but they wouldn’t have matched the new interior. As a flip, this was a smart investment for the buyers. They did a great job on the reno, and a quick check on property sales in CA shows they received a handsome profit for their work. Good job, them!


I want a one-story house like this! The outside area is so inviting. Modern simple lines on the furniture also help.


Wow! Such a great call on the dark cabinets for the kitchen. Are we spotting a new design trend blooming over here? A return to darker kitchens? There’s been a few recently that have been REALLY well done…

Amber Janel

Congrats on your beautifully designed home! You should be soo proud:o)

M. A. Moore

One of the best I’ve seen! LOVE what they did to the house – especially the living room. When I tackle my kitchen, I think I’m going to go with a darker wood too! Thanks for the story, Maxwell Tielman!


Really love this! I was wondering if there is a photographer credit for the “After” photos or if the team shot this themselves. Would love any info on that front! Thanks!


This is one of my favorite before/after project, something interesting to see in every room.


Kind of like the before. Except the toilet but that’s an easy fix.


They did a great job and all… but I would NOT have gotten rid of those scallops! And the window frames in the back were adorable!


This is really well done! However, like Rachel said above, golly do I miss those charming storybook-style scalloped window and door frames on the exterior of the house!!!

Sweet Vintage Seats

I was looking at this place and thinking, “This has ModOp written all over it.” So it turns out it that it was! ModOp does house flips in LA. I’m impressed like always, and while something other than white walls is generally more interesting, for a flip, I think it’s a smart choice. It’s the easiest thing a potential buyer can change and provides a “blank canvas”.


Gosh, I wish I was this talented. Great job! By the way, I have driven across town for a little blue toilet like that. It’s a cutie.


I agree with Laura…”I was really sad to see that they replaced the storybook trim and cedar siding that really gave the house its character.”


Did I miss the name of the wood flooring??? Beautiful…I want those!


Love how the removed the wall by the fireplace and the cement with brick trim on porch.


Wow! Bought for $450k; sold for $789k a year later! Great job. The add says it’s hardwood maple flooring.

Dahlia Mathews

Really, really loved your siding choice. The before and after photos are dramatically different. My husband and I are doing something similar to our home using James Hardy fiber cement siding. Look forward to your other posts!