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House Hunting in Los Angeles

by Betsy Moyer on October 23, 2014, no comments

House Hunting in Los Angeles with The Estate of Things

Not that we aren’t ALWAYS looking at for casual evening entertainment, but the dude and I are actually in the market for a new home in Los Angeles.

It’s a tough job, but we’re getting after it. I try to keep my wits, and between searches on Trulia and, I cruise the internet and shake my head as I read articles like this, about LA’s unaffordable housing.

Initially I illustrated the boundaries of our search for our realtor. I’ve since added the blue opaque highlight, b/c that is the more realistic compromise for the part of town we have to live in if we want hit the desired square footage plus yard. Pretty much any where in that area is fair game, but as is the game with real estate – all of the pros and cons must align. E.g. Sure, we’ll live way down there in Venice by the blvd IF the home has a killer yard… okay, we’ll cram ourselves into a tiny home with a patch of grass IF it’s in Santa Monica proper and walkable to our favorite Sushi restaurant, etc.

Places we will live in Los Angeles The Estate of Things

Thus far, we’ve toured more than a handful of homes, put in the offere and lost out to all cash on two, and now we’re thinking about expanding the search even further, cause maybe what we want doesn’t exist in that purple or blue area?

We recently toured this house in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood b/c it appeared to fit the bill. It seemed that it was rather perfect for us, except for the price. At 1.5 million, it’s at the tippy top of the budget and yet it needs a lot of renovation. We aren’t afraid of renovating, in fact I think we both prefer the challenge to a turnkey move-in ready joint that looks like someone else’s dream home – but I guess the hope was to find a dog for a deal… not a dog at our max budget. Emotionally Tragic.

Doesn’t this look like a fun one to reimagine?

This is what my headcase fantasy looked like while I was walking around the backyard. I was buying the pottery wheel and tearing down the alley wall to pull in the camper in my mind.

A Yard is important because of dreams

Sarah advised that I not let any emotions any where near my process. That is sound advice that I have to remind myself of constantly. It’s hard not to feel emo as you to try to separate hopes and dreams for the future from the floor plan of the home where it will all unfold. I’ve narrowed in on this list as important, and perhaps I log it here more for posterity’s sake than actual reader interest. Nonetheless:

  • As illustrated!!! A yard is super important, it supplies my heart with deep contentment
  • Detached Garage PLUS ample parking is ideal (so we can use the garage for project space when we want to make our own coffee table)
  • Exposed Beams are lovely, I’ll take them in the midcentury style or the craftsman
  • We don’t mind if the kitchen/bathrooms need renovation – we probably would prefer it actually
  • We aren’t going to be mad if we are within walking distance of Grocery, Beer, Burger, and/or Sushi, not a deal breaker though
  • We need a dog friendly home with a fence!
  • Architectural Intrique of SOME sort… whether it’s Post & Beam, Craftsman, Bungalow, SoCal Ranch, etc. These are all acceptable New Construction is not as likely to be interesting, unless it’s particularly nuanced.
  • Room for our vintage shasta camper would be a SUPER RAD bonus
  • Our budget range, which for LA is a little more than a million… a by a little more I probably mean like $500k more.

If you like to get a peek into the other homes we’ve toured in Los Angeles, from the next door neighbors to the lost Topanga dream, to a trailer park by the sea – check out Estate Envy.


A Midcentury Modern Lover’s Fantasy

by Betsy Moyer on October 20, 2014, no comments

Harveys on Beverly

Is this a fun little fantasy or what? It looks like Harvey’s on Beverly is for sale.

I stumbled upon this listing while I was doing a bit of research for furniture manufacturing in and around Los Angeles. I had no idea that existed. It’s somewhat of a Craigslist for businesses. And I’m just the right amount of dork that I like to sit around and fantasize about buying and turning around business as much as I like to fantasize about buying and turning around real estate.

When I stumbled upon Harvey’s on Beverly, It was great fodder for a fun discussion with the dude about what to do.

First, we took a look at the company’s existing website. The listing states that included in the $800k sell of the business, over 1.5 million dollars worth of inventory is included.

The business gets by with over 65% of its revenue being generated online, I’m assuming mostly through sites like 1stDibs and Ebay more than their own site. The site also caters specifically to the production world of Hollywood with another 10% of its revenue coming from studio rentals. I did a little Google search to get a feeling for the reputation of the company. It seems to be in good standing with the community and Harvey appears to be known for his emphatic authority in the world of antiques, particularly dealing with midcentury classics and rattan (which we all know are having a moment with national appreciation for Southern California’s laid back “effortless yet sophisticated” vibe.) There is a serious affection for rattan since Harvey Schwartz wrote the book — Rattan Furniture: Tropical Comfort Throughout the House.

Harveys on Beverly

In the listing, Harvey states he’s facing retirement and a recent trip to Fiji prompted him to get out of the biz and enjoy life. He’s looking for someone that is equally passionate about midcentury antiques to pick it up. Is this all too good to be true? Seems like such a ripe opportunity for the right person.

I love to think about re-organizing that website on a modern eComm platform and gassing up the social media channels. Even taking over the bi-level storefront on Beverly seems fun, and while my wheels are spinning I begin to think about signing up others of my favorite suppliers and mixing in some high and low, and some new with the old. Next thing I know, I’m styling vignettes and calling on my talented photographer friends to swing by and snap a few photos, then I’m inviting design bloggers over to host styling workshops in the space, and hitting up my tech friends to see who has ideas for how to grow our reach in the eComm space. We’ll erect a giant commissioned portrait of Harvey behind the newly renovated checkout counter.

Let’s identify a gaggle of fellow bloggers and design lovers in this crazy online world of blogging, and go in on it together!!! We can all share in the fun of building out a studio and host fun events where we style and shoot original content for our blogs, and we can create editorialized sales and connect our communities of equally impassioned design lover readers with awesome midcentury furniture!

Is this just fun for me, or do you want to join in on the fantasy!? What else can we do with Harvey’s on Beverly?





Connecticut Duplex: Reveal

by Sarah on October 13, 2014, 2 comments

The Connecticut duplex is complete!

This project was particularly rewarding because it was relatively quick–about two and half months and the transformation is striking. I drew inspiration from this project from my neighbors 2000 miles to the west in Venice Beach, California. I wanted a little of a Venice bungalow feel and I had to squeeze a completely lackluster 1950s ranch duplex in to that mold.  Many of the Venice bungalows were constructed during the craftsman era and use a lot of the classic craftsman elements and that’s what we did here.

The turquoise doors, boring tan paint color and the rickety railings and posts are gone.

Conn Duplex B&A

Conn duplex paint color


connecticut duplex house number



connecticut duplex 230 windows



connecticut duplex stairs

Our friends from Butler Constructs landscaping planted the Confederate Jasmine to crawl up our trellis on each end of the duplex to create a green privacy wall and it will produce a sweet fragrance and white flowers in the spring. The variegated plant that thrives in the shade in the foreground is Fatsia.


connecticut duplex trellis



connecticut duplex 240 stairs



connecticut duplex whole house

The addition of the arbor was key to add dimension and character to the long, straight lines of the duplex. Our carpentry crew from Locklear Brothers Home Improvement executed those brackets perfectly. The style of the bracket under the arbor echoes the straight lines of the simple corbels on the gables over each entrance.


connecticut duplex arbor

Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Oil changes during the day and has a beautiful sheen and looks incredibly rich in the shade. It is the perfect color for this project.


connecticut duplex 230 stairs2



connecticut duplex trellis2



connecticut duplex 230 stairs3



connecticut duplex 240 entrance

Your thoughts concerning this swan?

Want to see previous posts about the Connecticut Duplex facelift, visit the 1st post, 2nd, 3rd and 4th

Sources: Outdoor Sconces, House Numbers, Entry Doors


The Garden Shed Plan

by Sarah on October 9, 2014, one comment

A garden/storage shed is seriously needed around here. The crew is set to begin construction on a little garden shed next week and it was obviously time to formulate a plan.

There is a wealth of good shed plans on the internet and I went with this one with some modifications of course.

shed drawing

shed plan

We’re on site preparation now, leveling the spot. And when I say “we” I mean my husband Dan is doing all of the prep work. I expect it to be a quick build, I’m giving the crew a 3-day deadline.



Connecticut Ave Duplex: The Right Tree

by Sarah on September 30, 2014, no comments

I have to tell you that the Connecticut Ave duplex facelift project is actually complete…except for the landscaping and that’s what the hold up is. We’ve been waiting for cooler temps to plant in and the time has come.

The facelift was a success and I promise to share as soon as the planting is done. You are really, REALLY going to like it but first I had to select the right tree for the front patch of scraggly grass leading up to a drainage ditch.

West Conn front yard before

We’re going to turn scraggles up there in to a mulched bed with a nice flowering tree and some other shrubs and grasses. I knew I wanted a white flowering tree that only grew to about 20′ or so. I started out after a Fringe Tree. It’s a beautiful tree with these awesome white blooms that grows well here in the South that people often overlook, it’s a great alternative to the boring old Crape Myrtle.

tree fringe

But…everyone is out of Fringe trees here. So I travel a bit out of my neighborhood to go to one of my favorite retail garden spots, Garden Supply Co. they are out of Fringe trees too but they do suggest an Amelanchier (am-ə-LAN-sheer) and a Japanese Snowbell.

tree amelanchier

tree snowbell

The helpful people at Garden Supply showed me a few other trees, no dogwoods thank you, no redbuds, no Mom I don’t want to plant a Coral Bark Maple. I liked the Amelanchier and that’s what we’ll plant and enjoy those white blooms against that boldly painted duplex.