Expressing your personal style doesn’t have to be at odds with respecting the historical details of your home. From selecting daring yet authentic paint colors to accessorizing with all manner of vintage finds, you can create a home that fits the aesthetics of both you and your home’s era, as Jennifer Laskey’s historic Los Angeles apartment proves.
Completed in 1928, the Andalusian-style courtyard complex was designed by famed architects Arthur and Nina Zwebell.
Jennifer, a long-time fan of 1920s and ’30s Spanish-style architecture, was drawn to the townhouse because of its original features, including a grand tiled staircase, 22-foot beamed ceilings in the living room and elaborately carved dark-wood doors.
“I hate when people will redo a bathroom or a kitchen or change windows or anything like that,” she says.
“This was pretty much untouched, which a lot of people don’t like because they want the modern amenities, but I don’t care about any of that and just really want originality.”
When she moved into the apartment, Jennifer undid a number of modern upgrades and added vintage pieces both reflective of the apartment’s late-’20s history and her own eclectic style.
Builders-grade medicine cabinets, mirrored doors, screens, light fixtures and more were taken out. Fans, though practical, were removed from the sweeping ceilings in the living room and equally beautiful ceiling in the bedroom, replaced with more-authentic-feeling fixtures.
A favorite upgrade, and a standout in the living room, is the newly gold-leafed fireplace.
“[I]t has a really cool fireplace that’s got original Spanish detail and the top of it was just white, and I don’t know if it was originally gold-leafed or no, but it was something that I could imagine there being that the architects/designers were very ornate,” Jennifer says. “I sourced a painter to do it, it’s just a little detail, it was a really expensive little detail, but I just felt it would be the most amazing detail, so I did that.”
Jennifer used paint to complement the townhome’s striking original details. The dining room was painted in a deep red with an uneven, aged plaster effect.
Newer doors were treated to gold, white, navy and olive green finishes to give them an older European-influenced appearance.
The work continued onto the patio, accessible via French doors from both the kitchen and dining room.
Electrical was added and Moroccan-style bronze light fixtures were installed.
The area was completed with a large daybed with matching ottoman and an ornate vintage mirror.