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New Colors for Contemporary Canyon Home
Bruce Bartlett
February 2, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hi, we have a new project and I'm giving away a $100 gift card, to the store of your choice, if anyone can come up with some great colors for the exterior of a home in Laurel Canyon. Sorry these pictures aren't that great. The canyon and surrounding trees don't allow this home to get much sunlight so we really want to lighten it up. The front steps are a light tan travertine and the $100,000 pool in the back has stone that is the same color and changing that is not cost effective. The wood on the garage doors will be replaced and can be stained or painted any color. The home will have a contemporary feel, is not designed to be a family home and may be marketed to someone in the entertainment industry. All ideas are welcome.
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Bruce Bartlett
Extra Images
February 2, 2013 at 10:44PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
Exterior from the north
February 2, 2013 at 10:46PM   
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Darzy
Cedar on the wood horizontal, stainless steel/cable railing, "pewter" color on the stucco and glass garage doors. :)

February 2, 2013 at 11:29PM     
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designideas4me
Are you just seeking color suggestions or overall design suggestions? Are you considering the options of the homes in your ideabook and want other choices?
February 2, 2013 at 11:52PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
Good question. I want to be open to ideas, but in all honesty the exterior budget is VERY tight, so right now it's just prep and repairs, new garage door paneling, paint and stain, clean-up and plants, lights and removing the filagree from the railing so it's just straight lines. So I believe just color suggestions unless the design idea is very low cost and high impact. The homes in the idea book "Laurel Canyon Exterior" and "Laurel Cyn Garage" reflect just that... ideas, and ideas only at this point. Suggesting a color pattern exactly the same as one of those is perfectly fine if we judge it to be best for this house. As we did with our last one, the final results of the home will be posed here in photos after the project is complete in about 30 days.
February 3, 2013 at 4:32AM   
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Bruce Bartlett
The Redwood City home is beautiful, (I grew up in Menlo Park) but might be a bit dark for this location, all the additional wood may be cost prohibitive (unless you can suggest a low cost construction method) and unfortunately for us, replacing the garage doors is not in the budget. But thematically it is in the direction we are heading. Thank you for the entry and keep them coming.
February 3, 2013 at 4:42AM   
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nlf31763
I say a nice soft ivory or a tan sand would make the contrast you need. Especially with the pool area this would pick up even the slightest ambient light. Paint the yellow and the green the same and let the wood and pewter accent the rest. The problem you may have with any lighter color will be the threat of mildew stains. Beautiful design. You need to punch the color up around the pool area. Some nice glass tiles, something with a reflective finish to pick up more light. Glass around the top foot or so of the pool also. The pool area is screaming for a fire pit. Reflective surfaces with a fire pit. Very relaxing
February 3, 2013 at 2:22PM   
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bikini_chicken
I would say a darker olive green or a taupe with a green undertone to bring out the natural surroundings. Or maybe a medium shade of gray to play up the contemporary vibe. Paint it all one color, as to not over emphasize the split level. I would stay away from anything too light or too beige, you need something to contrast with the light stone steps and add visual interest.
February 3, 2013 at 2:41PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
additional photos
February 5, 2013 at 3:12PM   
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Darzy
How about a cool blue/gray with white trim? The gray/blue complementary with the roof color and pool travertine. But, wood stained garage door and front entry door/side windows. I'd remove the blinds from the front door windows and just put a film (like etched glass) to give it a more contemporary look. Updated lighting (stainless steel) at the entry stairs, door lighting and address numbers would give it an updated, contemporary look. I'm glad you are removing the filigree from the railing. That will help wonders! I'd also remove the window awnings, for sure. :)

PS. What "dates" the house to me is the wide vertical spaced slates above the garage and sides. If not cost prohibitive, can you remove those slats and patch/paint without too much damage/repair?
February 5, 2013 at 3:37PM     
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
Pull the colors from the travertine. Keep the house neutral, clean and contemporary.
February 5, 2013 at 3:45PM     
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Darzy
Here's a house with those divided slats like yours. It looks good because of the wood horizontal lines as well. Maybe do the garage doors in the horizontal wood? Food for thought.

February 5, 2013 at 4:09PM     
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loroca
From what i can see in the pics, i like the garage doors. Just refinish them. I would paint/stucco the bottom portion of the house the same deep blue you have going on the pool. The top portion of the house needs to be lighter. The suggestion for horizontal slats is good. Either natural cedar or white washed wood.
February 5, 2013 at 4:23PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
Yes that is the direction I'm leaning, horizontal wood on the garage doors, stain the front door to match, and possibly put the same horizontal wood on the balcony ( the metal bars now simply act as a frame). I'm also wondering if there is a way to tie this into a major feature inside the home which is a very tall fireplace. The existing formal granite mantel and mirror can go away but be replaced with what and how can that possibly tie into the front?
February 5, 2013 at 4:26PM   
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loroca
I take my idea back for the whitewashing. But if you're keeping the garage doors the same, i would mimic that somewhere on the top portion and in the entry area. Maybe the railing could be the horizontal cedar?
February 5, 2013 at 4:28PM   
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loroca
I'd keep that fireplace very simple. Just paint, or large scale rectangular tiles placed on the horizontal. If its in the budget, a white/cream marble tile would be quite the focal point.
February 5, 2013 at 4:32PM   
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nikitasmom
I think we need to see accurate color images of the stonework around the pool. I think the stucco color should be light but blend in with the stonework. You should start a new discussion on your fireplace. I have no idea what to do with it but I can see it could be fabulous.
February 5, 2013 at 6:06PM   
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Lkristine
For exterior paint colors only.....Soothing Green, Benjamin Moore.
February 5, 2013 at 6:36PM   
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Lkristine
Fireplace idea with just paint.......interpretation is perceived, just find the right colors appropriate for the people that live here!
February 5, 2013 at 7:20PM   
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Darzy
You could probably sell the FP surround for a tidy sum, then do a contemporary horizontal wood fireplace feature like this...for less. But, I'd "wrap" the fireplace wall for the "cool feature" factor. Meaning, corner wrapped wood. I don't mean a "rough hewn" wood like this. Something sleek and somewhat uniform. (Maybe a "build-out" with just a thin wood veneer installed horizontally).

February 5, 2013 at 7:26PM     
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Bruce Bartlett
I didn't want to start a separate discussion on the fireplace because I want it to all come together. The comment regarding accurate colors is a fair point, but with this home getting as much shade as it does in front, a "true" color is challenging. The granite fireplace can be easily demo'd and if anyone lives near Laurel Canyon, you can have it. As for the comments on greens....right now the home looks like the greenbay packers. the challenge is getting away from that and YET still working well enough with the backyard.
February 5, 2013 at 7:30PM     
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Bruce Bartlett
Darzy, we're going to try a sample of the Zipper house color
February 5, 2013 at 8:00PM     
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gkemp
I would stay away from the greens, BM Fairview Taupe for the body, BM Grant Beige for the trim. :) Light colors do not "come to life" in low light situations. They need bright light, otherwise, they appear gloomy and grey. The color I suggested will complement the existing tile and roof color.
February 5, 2013 at 8:39PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
and Gkemp's suggestions
February 5, 2013 at 8:56PM   
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Aja Mazin
Bless your heart! What a challenge!
February 5, 2013 at 9:02PM     
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PRO
caitiekay
What color is the pool finish? It looks dark gray nearly black or deep blue. It looks like this color will have a big influence in the back yard along with the travertine.
February 5, 2013 at 9:45PM   
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designideas4me
I am curious why the pool would have cost 100k ....it doesnt look that large. Is it due to what its made of?
February 5, 2013 at 9:55PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
The pool color is charcoal. I'm not a pool expert but i'm told the estimated cost is because of the location (steep hillside) required retaining walls, also it's a salt water pool, has 2 swim jets, 2 waterfalls etc etc, and all the stone around it is travertine, even in the walls, not cement or cool deck. so as for the size 42x18, it's not small. A Mercedes Benz isnt any larger than a chevy malibu, but it costs a lot more.
February 5, 2013 at 10:39PM     
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designideas4me
How is that travertine to put around the pool? Isnt it slippery? I know they put the brush marks in the concrete so its not slippery around the pool and when I waslooking at ways to refinish the concrete I was told not to do something smooth and slippey. Have you seen the cool deck surface done and what are your thoughts on its value. I have a pool and sure am glad I didnt have to pay to put it in but that pool looks about ten feet across in width with maybe 18 feet being at the jacuzzi area. Anyway if you come across a concrete mantel that one of your home owners doesnt want I would love to drive up and get it.
February 5, 2013 at 11:05PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
its a very thick (3/4" - 1") and rough stone, not polished so not a problem. Also the benefit of cool deck is.... it stay s cool in hot locations. Not an issue here due to the canyon. In AZ cool deck is worth every penny.
February 5, 2013 at 11:10PM   
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Aja Mazin
Blues and wood stain.

The top story a blue gray that is much darker than the blue roof.
The bottom level a lighter blue gray and the garage doors and front door stained with a rich wood stain.

The wrought iron, awnings, and trim should be a dark gray.
February 6, 2013 at 5:51AM   
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ourfarmhouse
I know I've got some mission-creep here, but...

1. I'd lose the awnings. As is, it doesn't feel contemporary.

2. The supporting beams under the cantilever, while a nice detail on a more traditional home, feels out of place if your trying to go more modern. You could box them in with a horizontal planking and immediately get the cleaner, more contemporary lines that someone in the entertainment industry might be looking for.

You could either cover the whole bottom storey (like image one), which pushes it much more modern, or just do the garage doors and the boxed beams (like image two). I like the first one better.

3. I'd also extend the planking up around the windows under the eaves to break up the board and batten and to define and organize the windows.

4. We had the same thoughts on the railing on the deck...wrap it with the same treatment. It will balance the house. You could also paint the deck itself black to set it off (better yet, wrap it in black aluminum to tie to your windows).

5. A warm medium gray would be a good complement to the wood and all that travertine out back. You see this combination quite a bit on modern homes. It just feels sophisticated.

6. A thin wood wrap around the windows and doors (maybe 1.5" square stock), like on the Zipper House, would set off the black trim and tie back to the wood installed on the rest of the house.

7. You may even think about adding a pergola in the back to help with the wood theme throughout.

8. Top it off with more modern lighting throughout.


This is really all about using wood as color and contemporizing (is that a word?) in a different way than just using paint. The integrity of the finishes now seem to match the $100k pool a bit more. You maybe spend a little bit more up front, but I think it could help move it much more quickly when you go to sell.

A lot of this goes with what Darzy has already said...great suggestions coming from her corner!
February 9, 2013 at 1:49AM     
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Bruce Bartlett
ourfarmhouse, will definitely consider. Thanks!
February 9, 2013 at 8:03AM   
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joannpb
Replace the mantle and mirror with the same travertine as outside. Extend it right up to the ceiling. If you go with a wood trim outside, install a sleek, matching wood shelf over the fireplace opening or go without a mantle shelf altogether.
February 9, 2013 at 8:39AM   
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Bruce Bartlett
And the winners are Darzy and OurFarmhouse, please contact me with address and gift card info. The home is on the market and there will be an open house tomorrow. Here are photos of the finished product 3215 Laurel Canyon Blvd. Studio City CA
May 10, 2013 at 9:26AM     
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Nancy Travisinteriors
How much are you selling for? Would determine something. Like doing the front door and garage doors in brushed nickel. Wood around front doors black. Stucco med gray. Wood charcoal. Any wood around doors black. Remove awnings dated. Plants around pool and front very contemporary like palms, elephant ears are great around pool. Can bottom of pool be black. With black and silver glass tile around edge. Striking. If you need help staging. I could help there. I'm in Orange County.
May 10, 2013 at 11:46AM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Remove iron work by front door.dated. Can't see area well. Do you need anything?. Maybe add water feature using very tall black ceramic pots.
May 10, 2013 at 11:49AM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Front entrance needs updating. Replace lite fixture with modern brush nickel. Tall black ceramic pots on those landings. Palm.
May 10, 2013 at 11:51AM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
I found this site late, So may be done by now. Post pics.
May 10, 2013 at 11:53AM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
I hope you replaced iron on balcony etc. dated
May 10, 2013 at 11:53AM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
As I said got here late. But love the end result. Good job.beautiful.
May 10, 2013 at 11:56AM   
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Aja Mazin
Congratulations, Darzy!!!!
May 10, 2013 at 12:09PM     
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PRO
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Fabulous choices, Darzy! It looks worthy of a Hollywood star!
May 10, 2013 at 2:22PM     
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Darzy
Thank you Aja and Carolyn! I found this only after someone congratulated me on another thread! Congrats to OurFarmhouse as well. Bruce Bartlett, the house turned out just beautiful and it will sell quickly. Thank you for the gift card and I'm glad some of my and OurFarmhouse suggestions worked for you.
May 10, 2013 at 9:26PM     
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designideas4me
So how much did the renovation cost? what kind of wood did you use on the fireplace? Did you make any changes by the pool? Thanks.
May 10, 2013 at 11:09PM   
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Jayme H.
Congrats! Great job Darzy & OurFarmhouse!!
May 11, 2013 at 7:42AM     
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Bruce Bartlett
I'll post the new one in about a week. It's a 60's split-level on the Palos Verdes Peninsula that I want to take from this................. to this.
May 11, 2013 at 9:27AM     
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Bruce Bartlett
OK the second photo did not post for some reason. TO THIS
May 11, 2013 at 9:31AM   
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Bruce Bartlett
ABRA CADABRA!
May 11, 2013 at 9:33AM     
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Bruce Bartlett
designideas4me. The wood throughout the home is American walnut (floors, paneling, hand rails). The panels over the fireplace were bought and cut at Anderson Plywood in culver city and the new hand rails were bought and cut at The House of Hardwoods also in culver city. It sounds crazy but having the hand rails custom made out of solid walnut was less expensive (and better looking) than buying new ones off the shelf in pine. The wood on the outside is redwood. Although a lot of builders these days in the beach cities (Manhattan Hermosa) are opting to use high quality and difficult to source marine spar on their redwood, we opted for a water based product from BM. Over time all wood needs to be re-treated, so marine spar (or any other oil based product) would have to be sanded off. With this product the owner will be able to simply recoat. Total cost of renovations around $50k, but that number can be a bit misleading as we are pros. Its our job to be extremely efficient. For anyone else the number would have been a lot more. There are a large number of vendors who simply won't bid our jobs because they now I know how much stuff really costs and they can get higher margins from an un-educated homeowner.
May 11, 2013 at 9:48AM     
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Aja Mazin
So true!
May 11, 2013 at 10:15AM   
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ourfarmhouse
Congrats, Darzy!

Bruce, thank you for your gracious offer of the gift card.

This project turned out really nice. So crisp and clean. Love the use of wood throughout. Wood really warms up the modern look. Hope it sells quickly for you.

Your next one looks like you could have some fun! It already has some great Mid-Century Modern style!
May 11, 2013 at 9:39PM     
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Darzy
Congrats to you too ourfarmhouse! Yes, it turned out great. I checked zillow.com. It should sell quickly!
May 11, 2013 at 9:44PM     
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Bruce Bartlett
Our new contest can now be found in discussions. A mid-century gem built in 1964 in Rancho Palos Verdes
May 15, 2013 at 7:38AM     
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Darzy
Hey Ourfarmhouse! Bruce tells me you gave me your $50 gift card. I am happy to share the prize with you as both of us contributed to the final result. Having said that, I want you to know you have upgraded the new cookware I was planning to purchase with my windfall. : ) Thank you. See you around!
May 16, 2013 at 1:26PM     
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ourfarmhouse
Darzy, you're welcome! I really like the ideas you shared. They were so spot on. You have some pretty good taste, and I hope you put this kind of creativity to use on a daily basis. It's good to see that you were able to put Bruce's generous gift to good use. God bless.
May 18, 2013 at 10:02PM     
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Bruce Bartlett
This home was in the Wall Street Journal on Friday (6/28/13). Click on the slideshow "luxury Real-Estate Flippers" http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323893504578557500769234988.html#articleTabs%3Darticle
June 29, 2013 at 8:49AM   
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designideas4me
Very Interesting article. Would you be able to tell me if its worth it for me to invest a large amount of money into updating a 2004 house located in Temecula ca. which I bought in 2010 at a good price but not rock bottom. I did pay about $115 a sq foot at that time which could have been lower but the house has a nice solar heated pool and landscaping so I liked it even know its only 2000 sq feet and not 3000 which other homes in the area are that sold for about 230k-270k at that time. So I didnt buy just based on maximum square footage and lowest price but for other reasons as well and paid a bit more. But now I see the market going up and prices at 140 to 190 per sq foot on some houses in the area. My question to you is how much to spend on upgrades in order to maximize profit for a future sale. In addition where to buy the materials, as I saw you shop at costco as I do, I was wondering if you have suggestions or contacts in my area or I can go to L.A and look if you can suggest where to get great deals. I need wood flooring and cabinets for the kitchen and bath and a countertop. I have upgraded much of the lighting. I also need contacts on concrete resurfacing for the pool area. I am sure you dont buy houses in hoa areas as its a pain to deal with them but I do have an hoa. Have you ever had to deal with issues like that concerning neighbors or exterior improvements? And lastly how do you get good labor rates which is so much of the cost in finding people to do the work correctly and at a good price? Can I speak to you directly for suggestions on materials,colors and where to buy as well as maybe you have someone to do the work for me. Please email me at ilovemybear2010@gmail.com. Thank you.
June 29, 2013 at 2:35PM   
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Bruce Bartlett
send me the info and lets talk next week
June 29, 2013 at 5:44PM   
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