A 1960s House in Hollywood Hills Gets a Modern Update

Second-hand House

A 1960s House in Hollywood Hills Gets a Modern Update

There's an essential skill you need to tackle a major renovation that people rarely mention: imagination. Many of us would turn and run upon touring a dated 1960s home with oppressive popcorn ceilings and an abundance of aluminum sliding glass doors, but Ryan Brown and Diego Monchamp of Brown Design Group were far from ruffled by those unsightly features. All they saw was the house's great midcentury bones and a fantastic vista of the Hollywood Hills—in other words, potential. "We wanted a casual, family home that was light, peaceful, and a true retreat for us," says Brown. This was the place.

Its dramatic transformation took just four months—and quite a few late nights and early mornings for the design duo. First came knocking down a bunch of interior walls. "The house was in great shape, but there were too many rooms and the ceilings were only eight feet high," says Brown. Rearranging the layout resulted in one less bedroom and the expensive removal of some large structural beams, but it led to bigger and better things. "This allowed us to raise the ceilings throughout the house and add the tongue-and-groove wood ceilings and beams, which made a huge difference to the overall feel," says Monchamp. A 50-foot stretch of glass along the back of the residence brought in welcome natural light and gave each space a view of the lush property.

Decorating the rooms was all about finding balance—between vintage and modern furnishings, yes, but also between splurging and saving. Brown and Monchamp invested in a few special custom creations, then found affordable items to round out the interiors. They stuck to this approach even when it came to growing their impressive trove of artwork. "A mixture of different mediums and artists keeps our collection interesting," says Monchamp. "We have a couple of notable pieces, but also some great photographs taken by Ryan from our travels." What was once tacky is now decidedly of-the-moment, and friends and family of all ages approve. "We constantly have kids running through, drinks being poured, and people having a good time," says Brown. Next time you're house hunting, follow the designers' lead. Come armed with your must-have list—and room for a little creativity.