This Spanish Art Deco Home's Kitchen Addition Is a Lesson in Melding the Old with the New
You'll find plenty of earthy color, unique lighting finishes, and natural textures in this updated house in Los Angeles' Little Ethiopia neighborhood.
Perched in the highly sought-after Los Angeles neighborhood of Little Ethiopia—known for its collection of Ethiopian restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and thrift stores—this 2,500-square-foot home, full of both sloping Spanish architecture and potential, awaited designer Katie Hodges' signature California style. "It took a bit of brainstorming and concentration to harness in all the creative energy that the house provided. I would reference the amazing work of Disc Interiors, Jessica Helgerson, and Lauren Leiss, drawing inspiration from the way these designers capture the soul of a home in their work," Hodges tells Martha Stewart Living.
Hodges set out to design a soulful home suited for her clients: two young professionals who love to travel, cook, and spend plenty of cozy nights in with their pup. "I was absolutely smitten with the original architecture, and wanted the designs to not only highlight those beautiful details, but also capture my clients' really great taste and love for design," she adds.
With subtle nods to Art Deco, an earthy color palette, and simple silhouettes, the house's original composition guided the trio as they worked together to curate a home that feels every bit as inviting as it does considered and interesting. Take one look at Hodges body of work, and you know this is what she does best—but she ultimately believes that great interior design comes down to trusting your instincts. "It has to feel right in my bones—even if my brain says otherwise," she explains. Ahead, she walks us through a full tour of the three-bedroom, two-bath space—which was photographed by Haris Kenjar—divulging all the ins and outs of creating a home full of soul, texture, and unexpected details.
Large Scale Art
On her overarching design philosophy, Katie Hodges says that she focuses on the big picture first, as opposed to collecting individual pieces. In the context of this home's living room, she considered how "every item—from the draperies, art, light fixtures, chairs, and incredible coffee table—worked in unison with each other to deliver the overall impact," she explains.
Hodges calls Anne Wehrley Bjork's painting the final puzzle piece—the accent that ultimately completed the room. "The space called for something large, but the challenge was finding artwork that didn't overwhelm the space," she adds.
A Touch of Mid-Century
In order to create a dining room that honored the rest of the home's cozy aesthetic, Hodges relied on natural elements: "We opted for the mid-century woven dining chairs to balance out the formality of the room and add an organic element that played off the rug beautifully."
The couple's kitchen addition was the most exciting part of the project for Hodges, who designed the custom cabinetry in the spirit of a traditional English-style kitchen, complete with inset doors and solid brass hardware.
While the kitchen renovation and addition was a huge undertaking, Hodges explains that it wasn't necessarily its design that challenged her most. Rather, it was overseeing the installation process—so that the new space would feel like a cohesive addition to the vintage home. "Our scope of work heavily revolved around managing the execution of design elements, from the shape of the plastered hood and the custom patinated terra-cotta to the placement of every knob and handle," she explains.
A Breakfast Nook
Neutrals in the Bedroom
"[When choosing the house's lighting], I felt it was important to maintain some level of consistency in the finish, but not repeat styles," Hodges explains. "I love that every piece is special and unique but relates back to a common color scheme." We're partial to the wooden pendant over the master's sunroom reading nook—the adjustable head allows for perfect light distribution.
A Cohesive Guest Bedroom
The couple's guest bedroom felt like a natural continuation of their own—a feat grounded in selecting cohesive, but still-unique décor moments, from the rug and textured bed linens to yet another piece of unique lighting.
A Statement Piece
Every nook and cranny of this curated Spanish home was considered, including the stair landing. "It had no functional purpose, so we took the opportunity to create a furniture moment here," Hodges notes, referring to the sculptural leather chair she and her clients purchased from Chairish.