The house, called Zen Den, is located in Woodland Hills, a suburban community in Los Angeles that lies about 20 minutes by car from the beach.
Carlos Naude and Whitney Brown – the couple behind Working Holiday Studio and its companion interior design practice, Working Holiday Spaces – purchased the 1960s, ranch-style house last year during the coronavirus pandemic.
The duo, who have a toddler son, formerly lived in a compact urban residence and desired more space. The house checked many boxes, yet it was in need of a major overhaul.
“We wanted to restore the residence to its original glory while reimagining it for modern living,” the couple said, noting that they also served as the project’s general contractor, with input from their friend Zach Leigh at Goodboy Develops.
On the exterior, the home’s stucco cladding was repaired and repainted. The duo also installed a new roof, along with new windows and patio doors.
Inside, the single-storey, four-bedroom home was gutted. Upgrades were made to the floors, insulation, plumbing and electrical systems, and a significant portion of the drywall.
The team added skylights and reconfigured certain areas of the house. In particular, a wall between the kitchen and the dining room was removed.
“We opened up the kitchen so you could take in the views, added skylights throughout the house to bring in more light, and completely reconfigured and renovated both bathrooms,” the designers said.
For the finishes and decor, the duo took inspiration from Japanese, Scandinavian and Mexican design styles. The home is meant to double as a showroom.
“We worked with designers and brands to display their products in our home,” the designers said. “We are in the process of creating an online shop where people can buy the products.”
The living room is fitted with a rust-coloured, velvet sofa from Normann Copenhagen and a round coffee table with tube-shaped legs from Hedge House. A white accent chair is from Noom, a young studio in Ukraine.
The adjoining dining room has a black marble table from the Mexican brand Casa Quieta, which also supplied the chairs. Overhead is a Mori pendant from Brooklyn’s RBW.
In the kitchen, the designers sought out premium materials that would be easy to maintain. The prefabricated cabinets are from the Danish company Reform, and the quartz countertops are from Caesarstone.
A breakfast nook features a custom table made of terrazzo from California-based Concrete Collaborative. The terrazzo was actually leftover from a refurbishment of the guest bathroom.
The table has a white oak base – the same wood used to fabricate the surrounding bench. Oak also was used for the flooring throughout the home.
The sleeping areas feature neutral colours and cosy decor. In a kid’s bedroom, the designers installed a wooden bunk bed from Oeuf that can be arranged in different configurations.
Bathrooms feature sinks from Concretti, countertops from Concrete Collaborative and ceramic tiles from Fireclay. Kuzco lighting and Kohler fixtures round out the selection.
Given Southern California’s pleasant climate, the designers wanted to incorporate an opportunity for indoor-outdoor living. A rear patio is adorned with a sectional sofa from Neighbor and a chunky accent table from Zachary A, along with a custom dining set that seats up to 12.
Other projects by Working Holiday Studio include Casa Mami, an all-white holiday home that stands in stark contrast to its desert setting in California, near Joshua Tree National Park. Like Zen Den, the house is meant to be shoppable, with guests able to purchase the decor via a dedicated website.
The photography is by Candida Wohlgemuth and Carlos Naude.