Lauren Moore found the ideal house while looking through MLS listings after a seven-year quest. But it wasn’t quite the sleek neutral home she had envisioned—yet! It needed a lot of maintenance after undergoing a “terrible 90s renovation.” The entry stairway, the flow for entertaining with the terrace off the kitchen, the floor-to-ceiling sliders throughout the home, the gorgeous views, and, of course, the natural light was what truly sold Moore.
This Designer Turned a “Horrible” 90s Renovation Into a Minimalist’s Dream—Step Inside!
The home, which was located in Los Angeles’ fashionable Montecito Heights district, was at the entrance of Ernest Deb’s Park, which included hiking trails and even a small pond, making it ideal for Moore’s eight-year-old son, Silas, and their two cats, Zorro and Fury. “When Silas was little, I used to take him up to see the turtles and run the trails in the morning,” Moore says.
“The street where the house is located in a mid-century architectural development that was all completed in the same year, giving it a great coherent feel.”
The house is similarly built on stilts, with giant eucalyptus and pepper trees that are as tall as the house, gazing out to the canyons. She continues, “It feels like we’re living in a fantastic treehouse.” Moore, the co-founder of Design Assembly, a multidisciplinary design and development firm, transforms environments into experiences that inspire and create a deeper connection to home.
She explains, “We approach our work with a sophisticated canvas and a bit of playfulness and warmth.”
When you go inside her Los Angeles house, you can instantly understand why. Moore didn’t hold back when it came to renovations. She explains, “We fully redid the kitchen and bathrooms, bleached the flooring, and installed a custom milled staircase.” (“Horrible” 90s Renovation)
“In the main living room, we exposed the ceilings, updated all the lighting fixtures, constructed a shelving unit under the staircase, had a bespoke Dutch door made in the entry, painted everything inside and out, and installed the landscaping,” says the designer.
It’s no minor achievement, but despite the big changes, it still feels like Los Angeles. “When I re-designed it last year, I wanted it to seem more comfortable and unique, rather than like a box, as some mid-century homes do,” Moore claims.
Exploring Further (“Horrible” 90s Renovation)
With its vintage lighting, pot rack, and open cabinetry in the kitchen, the decor relies on Moore’s affinity for European countryside homes, while still having that Cali-cool vibe. She recalls, “I grew up in California and spent a lot of time outside as a kid.” “I believe that, combined with a genuine appreciation for nature, informs all of my work.” The wood, natural materials, earth-toned palette, and one-of-a-kind indoor trees, rather than art, “allow for the natural light to dance on the walls without distraction,” according to Moore. “I don’t particularly enjoy shiny surfaces and objects, nor do I like flashy colors,” she adds.
Moore believes that design is all about telling a story.
“Capturing the essence of a certain lifestyle and inspiration is the most fascinating element of designing for me,” she says.
This means she wants to spend a lot of time in a room before making design decisions and determining what feels right for a home or project.
“I believe this house evolved naturally into what it intended to be. We favor minimalist design but have a profound appreciation for beautiful artifacts, which is evident throughout my home.”
Moore wanted the furnishings and accessories in her home to complement the architectural decisions she made. This meant low, comfortable furniture that complements the bleached floors and doesn’t compete with the exposed ceilings.
“We wanted a few significant design gestures that could stand on their own—pieces that didn’t need a lot of dressing up,” she outlines. The ridiculous croissant sofa was one, the coffee table was the other. “I wanted it to seem extremely quiet and elegant,” she continues.
Moore tells me the concept behind the kitchen design came after a late night of researching antique kitchenware online—one of her favorite hobbies. “I found this set of 17th century English copper pots that were handcrafted and very unique,” she recalls.
“I find it incredibly motivating and soothing in my kitchen to showcase beautiful cookware and utensils because it ties me to the place, and makes it more fun to spend time there and utilize them.”
Since it didn’t make sense to install a ceiling-hung pot rack, Moore decided to go with a tiny wall-mounted alternative. “I also created the open cabinets adjacent to the stove as it gives a layer of texture and color,” she comments. “It’s also another method to display more of my cookware collection—I’m not an art collector, this is my art.”
Its apparent Moore has poured her heart and soul into the intricacies of this house. Most evenings after working on other projects were spent exploring the internet for the proper pieces. Since her regular sources—flea markets, antique stores, and design boutiques—were shut down.
When it comes to her favorite pieces, Moore adores the ancient travertine dining table. Handcrafted bench, terracotta pot positioned on the open shelves under the stairs, and the giant pot outside the front door—” I drove an hour to pick that up. It’s basically as large as my son.”
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With such a stripped-back aesthetic that’s devoid of color, Moore depends on texture to achieve that snug and inviting feeling. “A hefty woven rug will go a long way, as well as a tree in a gorgeous pot. Some textiles for layering, or flowing basic window treatments that still allow for natural light to come through,” she recommends.
“Use a well-balanced combination of textures and colors so that your eyes don’t get focused on one thing.
And never, ever, ever put a television in the living room!” Green plants and trees, flowers in a stunning vase. And carefully selected art, design, travel, and photography books provide the majority of the color in Moore’s projects.
If you’re planning your own makeover or redesign. Moore advises you to trust your instincts and not be swayed by other people’s ideas. Spend time in the room frequently as you go,” she advises. Allowing for flexibility and last-minute ideas to be incorporated. Being too rigorous in your design plan will always be detrimental to the end result. Oh, and one more thing: “Do what feels right to you, not what others want you to do.”
This article has discussed a “Horrible” 90s Renovation Into a Minimalist’s Dream. You can read in detail if you are looking for a home renovation. That’s all for the moment. Goodbye!