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MANSION GLOBAL - A 100-Year-Old Beverly Hills House Was a Hodgepodge of Styles Until Designer Owners Took Over. Check out the Before and After.

It was the soul—and the good bones—of the 1924 hilltop house in Beverly Hills that attracted Amanda Leigh and Taylor Hahn.

Leigh and Hahn, managing partners of the 2-year-old Los Angeles design-build company House of Rolison, make their living renovating and reselling luxury houses, so they didn’t hesitate to take on the challenge of this one, buying it for $2.36 million in the spring of 2023 even though they knew the only way to save it was to perform top-to-bottom surgery.

“It was in a quirky Dutch style and very dated,” Leigh said. “The windows were painted mint green, and there was a tree in the middle of the drive that made it hard to get the car in and out.”

The three-story house, which is set on over an acre and is 3,387 square feet, really was a mix of uncoordinated styles, Hahn added, noting that floor by floor “there was not one aesthetic.”

More: Jazzing up a New Orleans Condo—Before and After

The original house, which was built in 1924, exhibited several exterior styles.Gavin Cater

The duo—they are engaged and soon will be renovating their own Beverly Hills house—decided to capitalize upon the residence’s hints of Spanish architectural elements, creating a new facade of smooth stucco and adding a clay-tile roof. The troublesome tree was removed, a deck was added, and the stairs to the front door were repositioned.

The new custom garage door, made of cedar, is tied to the history of the house by the addition of a face ornament found in the garden, and the new front door imported from Turkey, iron railings, olive trees and white gravel in the drive speak with a Spanish accent.

House of Rolison played up the exterior’s Spanish architectural elements.Gavin Cater

Inside, Leigh and Hahn, who work with a team of 30 crafts and construction people, ripped out the old, dropped ceilings and replaced many of them with vaulted cedar beams that add character as well as heft and height.

“We also reorganized the floor plan” to make the house, which has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a powder room, more amenable for 21st-century living, Leigh said.

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The residence, the seventh renovation completed by House of Rolison, was listed in November by Brock and Lori Harris of Brock & Lori Real Estate, Keller Williams Los Feliz and Farrah Brittany, founder/agent of the Agency. The asking price is $4.195 million.

The renovation started with replacing the downstairs door.Gavin Cater

Now that this house is on the market, Leigh, 36, and Hahn, 29, are working on four more houses, plus their own residence—a 6,000-square-foot 1956 home that is set on 3 acres and has a 1970s vibe plus a colorful history (a lion and lynx used to live on the property).

“We’re going to remodel it in sections,” Leigh said. “Generally, our turnaround time is three to six months, but we are going to work on it for six to eight months.”

And, Hahn, adds, “We’ll never sell it.”

The sellers spoke with Mansion Global about tips and lessons learned from their latest finished project.

The new dining room gets a cozy look from a beamed ceiling.Gavin Cater/ Floral arrangement by Pampas Mamas

We describe the aesthetic as… In every project, regardless of the style, everything feels warm; the house is not a cold box. And we always recycle and make pieces that feel special. In this house, for instance, we turned a desk into a vanity for the steam-shower bath.

A lesson learned/advice to others… Don’t try to overly change everything. Create around what you have to work with and imagine what the architect was trying to accomplish when the house was being built. Also, do your homework so you understand what things cost and know what’s going inside the walls. Don’t spend all your budget on high-end finishes—what’s inside the walls is what’s most important.

The biggest surprise was… How disconnected the floor plan of this house was. It looked like 10 different people had lived here, and there were 10 different aesthetics and designs. The primary bedroom, for example, was tiny and long and narrow, and that doesn’t make sense given the size of the house.

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A favorite room after the renovation is… We love the kitchen. We reorganized it so it feels a ton bigger. It’s the first thing people see when they walk into the house. We added 10 skylights in the ceiling that are vaulted in the middle—it looks like an atrium. I’ve never seen that many skylights in a kitchen. We deliberately designed the island, which is 4 feet wide and 12 feet long, with no seating. It’s only for food prep and entertaining. Its quartzite top has a beveled edge, and the island has a thick apron. It’s stained oak; the rest of the kitchen cabinetry is painted a muted beige and has black marble countertops. The table is custom, and the breakfast room seats 10 to 12.

Banks of skylights bring natural light into the new kitchen.Gavin Cater

The most dramatic change was… The beamed ceilings we added in the living room, dining room, kitchen, primary bedroom and bathroom, and in the family room. The treatment brings height and warmth.

A favorite material or product discovered during the process was… Venetian plaster. We used it in the powder room on the main floor. It’s done in layers, so we made it black with rust tones. The sink also is special; it’s imported and custom-fabricated.

Terraces in the new landscaping carry through the Spanish theme.Gavin Cater

An unexpected expense was… There are always so many, but we have to say the roof because it was about $40,000. Prepping it to change from asphalt shingles to clay was a big endeavor. We wanted the clay tiles to be lightweight, and there’s only one person in all of California who sells them. The color and pattern are custom; its two or three browns and bronzes.

The total cost of the renovation was… It has added up to a little over $1 million. We thought it was only going to be $600,000 to $700,000.

New windows give an elegant look to the house.
The new breakfast room seats 10 to 12.

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