Interiorssneak peeks

A 1920s Spanish-style home in Los Angeles

by Amy Azzarito

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Just six months ago, after a nine-month-long renovation, graphic designer Megan Garrett moved into this 1924 Spanish-style home in Altadena, California (just 14 miles from downtown Los Angeles). When it came time to decorate, Megan had just returned from an amazing trip through Africa (including Morocco) and came back with lots of inspiration (and a few goodies). She had completely gutted the kitchen and bathrooms and outfitted the home with lots of modern amenities but she still wanted to keep things looking light, bright and relatively 1924 period-appropriate with a little Moorish/Moroccan thrown in. So she rehabbed and reinstalled as much of the hardware and woodwork that could be reused and made tile and fixture choices that would have looked at home in the 1920s. Her furniture is a mixture of antiques, hand-me-downs, repurposed, designer and inexpensive stuff. She operates under the “buy what you like and it will go together” principle. Her overall goal is to keep things comfortable. She doesn’t want anything to feel so precious that you’re afraid to put your feet up or help yourself to the fridge. And since she’s only been the in house six months, Megan has plenty of plans for its future. In fact, there’s still a bedroom waiting to be decorated. Megan says that sometimes she gets a little impatient, just wishing for it to be perfect. But she tries to remind herself that awesome spaces take time and for that, she’s super excited to see how her house changes over the years. And so are we! (Check out Megan’s blog here to keep up with all she does!) It looks pretty amazing for only six months. Thank you Megan! And a big thank you for the fantastic photographs! (You can see her Instagram account here) –Amy

Image above: The floor paint color is Dunn Edwards “Caribbean Cruise.” It’s a bold color for the floor, but it’s a great color and satisfying to know my mom and I worked our asses off painting it ourselves. It makes me happy every time I walk into the room. I love my Wolf range! It was totally worth the extra expense and I love the signature red knobs and oven’s blue interior. I didn’t want outlets all over the gorgeous marble backsplash, so I had the electrician put strip outlets under the cabinets – a trick I found on Pinterest. Worked out pretty well. Painting above the stove is by James Willis. Butcher block countertops are Ikea. The rug is Anthropologie. The walls and cabinet paint color is Dunn Edwards “Whisper.”

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: The painting over the couch in the Library is by James A. Willis, who is an absolutely awesome guy and is super nice. After a slight debacle and miscommunication with a gallery, he invited me to his studio (when it was in an old warehouse on the West Side highway in NYC) which was one of the coolest, relaxed and comfortable creative spaces I’ve seen. I’m kind of obsessed with his NYC street scenes, he has a great ability to capture light and his brushstrokes are amazing. The brass star sconces are from Circa Lighting, I became obsessed the second I saw them. Sputnik-style chandelier is Johnathan Adler. Pink pillows are made of vintage Peruvian (I think) textiles from Juxtaposition Home in Newport Beach. The blue pillow is Imogen Heath.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek

See more of this California home after the jump!

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: I wanted to balance out the wood in the kitchen and bring more warmth into the room; I was able to use the scraps of the butcher block counters for the floating shelves. The 2 winnowing baskets on the top shelves were brought back from Kenya. Holding a place of honor on a shelf is a vintage jar filled with honey harvested from the beehive that my Mom and I keep together. Grey counter top is Ceasarstone in “concrete.” Pendant light above the sink is Barn Light Electric.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: I absolutely love my mint green Big Chill fridge. It’s a modern fridge made to look old. They make them in several different colors and they are all so much fun. The milk glass ceiling fixture is original to the house, it was in the bathroom so I cleaned it up and gave it a place in the kitchen.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: Table and upholstered chairs are West Elm. The rug is Serena & Lily. The vintage wood dining chairs I got from a Found Vintage Rentals warehouse sale.

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Image above: The sconces are from Morocco. The black and white rug is an African mud cloth I brought back from Senegal (I believe this type of mud cloth is originally from Mali) (featured on D*S #dsnicerug!). The antler table my Mom had made up in Montana in the early ’80s. It made from naturally shed antlers and was in my family’s house while I was growing up. It was broken by movers when my parents relocated and has been sitting in the attic for the last several years. I told my Mom I wanted to get it fixed, so she gave it to me. The paint colors are Benjamin Moore. The trim is “Bittersweet Chocolate” and the walls are “White Down.”

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: The rug is an antique Moroccan Zaiane tribe kilim (featured on D*S #dsnicerug!). Artwork at the end of the hall is by Gregory Euclide.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: The drawer pulls are an eBay find and are cast iron from an old Hamilton letterpress type cabinet. They were painted red at some point and they’re chipping now, which gives them great personality. The iVictrola I bought several years ago, by Made-Craft – so glad I got one before Restoration Hardware ripped them off. The little neon pink canvas is by Megan Whitmarsh, was given to me as a gift by a gallery owner. The rug is an antique Navajo rug (featured on D*S #dsnicerug!) that I got from an awesome Native American arts store in Laguna Beach called Indian Territory.

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Image above: The cast iron tub is original to the house. The mirrors are a mix of new and antique from flea markets and eBay. Along with the “Eagle Mountain” piece in the bedroom, the “Nouveau” poster is a Shepard Fairey Obey Giant poster I got in 2006. Back then, I had my pick of about 15 different designs. Now, his stuff sells out in 5 seconds. How times change! The wall color is Benjamin Moore “Steamy Spring.”  The trim and wainscot color is Dunn Edwards “Whisper.”

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Image above: I am totally smitten with linen sheets. Give me linen over any 1000 thread-count cotton any day. The Otomi fabric is from Mexico. Rug is from Serena & Lily. The wall color is Benjamin Moore “Wickham Grey.”

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Image above: The trunk next to the door is another piece that I remember as a kid in my parents’ bedroom. My mom bought it at an antique store for $25 in the 1970’s after my parents were married. It was horribly rusted so they water blasted it and my Dad lacquered it to keep it from rusting again. The water damaged the wood a bit, but it still looks pretty good! Painting of the Chrysler Building at sunset is another James Willis. Red and blue blankets are from the Masai Mara, Kenya.

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Design*Sponge Sneak Peek

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: This bathroom is a really small space and I wanted a big punch of color – this is Dunn Edwards “Deep Sapphire.” To bounce light around, I used a high gloss paint and added lots of mirrors and reflective surfaces. The chandelier is from Morocco and slightly too large for the space, but I loved it so much I had to put it up. The mirror over the sink was originally in the master bathroom. The silvering is coming off the edges in a gorgeous way and I loved the shape of it so I just relocated it. The tile is from a great company called Fireclay Tile, handmade in California from 70% recycled material.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek

Suggested For You


  • Job well done! I bet it was a bonding experience painting the floor with your mom and one that produced awesome results. Also love the minty fridge and minty-looking color in the bathroom. Oh, and the bedroom. Perfect–with the cat on the bed too!

  • The Old Dixie pendant from BLE and the porcelain kitchen sink practically glow! This home is filled with so much beautiful lighting. Love it all.

  • I love everything about this home! The paint color in the second bathroom is amazing, and I love all the mirrors. Although, I do hate when D*S features awesome Los Angeles homes that are mere miles from me and I have to go home to my small apartment. I kid, it is all just inspiration for me.

  • What a charming and beautiful home. The Moroccan elements come through nicely and marry well with the overall look and feel of the home. The colours are light and airy and the home feels lived in. Love the pendant light over the kitchen sink and the teal draperies set against the grey walls in the bedroom. Really lovely.

  • Lovely blue curtains!! Please, if you can, share the source. They are just absolutely gorgeous.

  • This is one of my favorite houses ever! Love your style and textiles. Any info on the turquoise curtains in the bedroom? Gorgeous

  • Such a lovely home. I have to ask, because it seems you may be able to provide some insight: how do you keep your beautiful rugs looking so great with pets in the house? Is there a particular type of rug that you find works best? Or a particular method or frequency of cleaning? I’ve been looking for the perfect (super long haired) cat-friendly rug and feel nervous about making the wrong decision. Thanks for any input you can provide!

  • I love how she respected the house’s history, style, and size in renovating. All the new elements fit perfectly with the house. Really careful, thoughtful job. Love it!

  • The colours in this house ‘float my boat’; especially the painted kitchen floor and the mint green fridge. I have paid attention to all of the paint colours listed and love them. Also adore the photos where the dog and cat appear.

  • Beautiful place! I love all of the pops of blue and aqua. Not to mention, the kitchen floors are to die for. Great job!

  • Oooooh this house! I’m so in love! From the two types of countertops in the kitchen with the amazingly eclectic appliances, the moravian star light fixture in the living room, the built-ins, the dark trim around the windows, the turquoise porcelain knobs in the hallway. . . I could go on and on! All of the little details make this house a home, and a beautiful one, at that! Lovely!

  • Congratulations you have a beautiful home. Well done ! you have a great eye for design and a talent for mixing old and new interior finishes. Thank you for giving us a look at your nest.
    BTW I work for the wonderful tile company you mentioned Fireclay Tile our tile adds a special touch to all environments.

  • First paragraph. One does not travel in Africa and Morocco. Morroco is a country on the continent of Africa. That said, a lovely house.

  • I love so many things about this house but especially the attention to detail using a blend of old and new. Very well done and inspiring! Thanks for sharing your home!

  • I want this house. Colors, furniture, rugs etc… all so very gorgeous. Also have to mention how I love the farm sink & open shelving.

  • I Love your House! Altadena is such a cool older area of SoCal, with great houses of good bones and character and lots of great trees! Happy to see it brought back to better than its original glory!
    The chandeliers in the living room do not have a credit. Domestic or from your Moroccan travels? I’m looking for the same lights for my new outdoor “living room”!
    I could move in today!

  • Thank you everyone for all the lovely comments! It’s been an adventure getting to this point and am so happy you all enjoy it as much as I do!

    Nora – the teal curtains are Pier1.
    S – living with animals I have just accepted that rugs will be shed, drooled and scratched on no matter what. That said, I vacuum every few days and have Club Soda and Natures Miracle stocked at all times. I’m sure I’ll be calling Coit or Stanley Steemer every year to get the rugs professionally cleaned.
    Bree – my dog, Obie is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – and if he had his way, he’d be in every photo. :)
    Kelly – the linen sheets are Eileen Fisher Home (Garnet Hill), duvet cover is Restoration Hardware. Rough Linen also makes lovely sheets as well.

  • Megan, does the built-in cabinet (the one with the Hamilton drawer pulls) have a secret door? The moulding on the part in the foreground isn’t sealed like on the rest of the unit and it looks like that part is on runners, which makes me wonder if that part swings out or slides?

  • My Spanish blood is singing! The dark trim is genius, playing up the beautiful shapes. Would love to know more about the paint and process that were used on the kitchen floor. The dark pops of color add charm to all the light flowing through the house. Is the scoring on the exterior concrete original? Overall wonderful renovation – I could live here!

  • Greencanary, that looks like a vent to me. What a gorgeous space all the way around! I can FEEL being in it!

  • I love what you’ve done with this house. I’m one of your neighbors and I saw this house before you purchased and knew it had great bones and with the right person it could be so adorable. I’m not a designer by trade, my husband is, but I love decorating and designing too. I’d love to pick your brain some time.
    Kris Cook

  • Megan, he color of the floor is so beautiful! I saw that somebody already asked you, whether the floor is actually vinyl tile that you painted over)?

  • Megan – Your home is gorgeous. What is the color of the walls in the living room with the dark blue couch and the antique Navajo rug? i LOVE it!

  • Megan – you have a beautiful home – nice work! What paint color are the walls in the living room with the blue couch and antique navajo rug? I’m loving it!

  • Just flippin’ fabulous. One of my favorite sneak peeks yet.

    Oh, and when can I move in? I live across town, but would happily move to the east side if it means living in this delightful home. :-)

    • Just picked this up today over at Apartment Therapy. Am working with someone in a small bedroom and was interested in your corner angled bed. Great article … AND great DOG!

  • Gorgeous! OMG, as above, when can I move in too? I have kitties. :) I’ll become American also.
    Kidding aside, where did you get the bedspread, blue chickens? Absolutely love it.
    Thank you. You are so talented. I’ll bet your parents are extremely proud of you.

    • Thanks Cathy!
      I got the bedspread from Mexico – however, there are some fabulous makers on Etsy, just search “otomi fabric”. Mine is embroidered on linen. Some people also make them as printed fabric which is a little less expensive. Good luck! :)

  • Stunning home! How have you liked “White Down” by Ben Moore in your living area? Is it a good backdrop for other whites and colors? I am looking at it for a living area, open kitchen, dinning room with 8″ ceilings. Seems bright but not too yellow or gray. Brightens up a space without being cold?

  • Thanks Rachel!
    I LOVE White Down – it has worked perfectly for my home. Yes, you are correct, it is a “warm” white. It’s literally the color of old, sundried bone. I find that it works really well with everything in my house. It also goes well with the brighter white trim that I have (Dunn Edwards’ “whisper”). But, i did use “whisper” in my kitchen because it’s a smaller space and a darker side of the house, so i wanted something a little brighter. But White Down works well in my living, dining and hallway. Hope that helps! :)