Before & After: Reviving a Historic Home
The founders of Made Goods do right by a Spanish-style home in Southern California with a respectful renovation.
Great style is enough. When you have it, you don’t need a “look.” That theory has proved effective for Chris DeWitt and Oscar Yague—both in business and in their home.
When the couple founded Made Goods, their furniture, lighting, and accessories company, in 2009, they committed to a rather simple mission—chic objects. No specific genre, no tie to one particular tenor or period in time. Just good-looking appointments constructed of quality materials that interior designers can use to create memorable rooms.
The couple stuck to that model in outfitting the home they purchased for their family. Situated in San Marino, California, a quiet community connected to Pasadena, it’s just 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The structure, built in 1923, was designed by George Washington Smith. The prolific Southern California architect popularized Spanish Colonial style.
Instead of conjuring a grand trendy plan, Chris and Oscar let the house’s history dictate the aesthetics and directed their energy to what they know best—acquiring beautiful things.
“We don’t think Let’s design this room now,” Chris says. “We buy what we love, things that are beautiful on their own. The fact that we find beauty in a piece lets us know that it will work perfectly in our home no matter what room it ends up in.”
The interiors they set to work on weren’t lacking interest but rather upkeep. Vacant for more than five years when they bought it in 2016, the house was in terrible shape—but not bad enough to disguise all of its delightful details.
“Even with the neglect, there was plenty to work with,” Chris says. “Ceilings, floors, and doors were original and gorgeous. The doors were so stunning that we had them duplicated on the second level to create consistency. The house needed our attention to bring it back to its glory but with our collections and family story.”
The existing architectural elements positioned the house to shine (intricate original tiles and stained-glass windows were discovered, too), but making it appealing for 21st-century living required more than a dust cloth and polish. Structural updates also were part the redo.
On the main level, the original kitchen was too long and narrow to function for casual dining and homework. A tall order of alterations was on the agenda. An enlarged window provides more natural light. Removing an unneeded stairway gained square footage. A new wall forms a cooktop alcove, and a mudroom was added around the corner.
A pairing of cobalt-color cabinetry and white statuary -marble establishes a classic palette of blue and white in the kitchen. The functional and aesthetic updates accommodate the spirited lifestyle of the family.
The vibrant blue continues in the dining room, where a mural of gold trees by New York artist Matt Austin climbs the walls.
“A Spanish home is serious with beams and ironwork and tile,” Oscar says. “It’s not the place for wallpaper that might look too perfect and manufactured. We needed something more organic here, something elegant and sophisticated.”
Upstairs, the master suite, which also serves as a gallery for some of Chris and Oscar’s favorite artwork, boasts handsome monotone layers of blue-gray. In the adjoining bath, the challenge of retrofitting new plumbing into an old space was mastered seamlessly and allowed for a new brass-frame shower that casts a glamorous glow.
The outdoor spaces, meanwhile, reimagined by landscape designer Steve Shea, took a top position on the priority list because of the family’s two active school-age boys. A fashionable facelift of the pool includes green-and-white zigzag tile that offsets a hot tub.
When pool play is over, the family retreats to the outdoor living area, where a new fireplace ensures cozy nights even when a nip of coolness touches the air.
Chris and Oscar originally planned to buy a second home in Palm Springs for leisure time. But with a busy schedule that -includes international travel, one house seemed more practical. And this house, with its new complexion and inviting outdoor spaces for entertaining, means there’s no need for another abode.
“I feel like, when the gates to the driveway, open I’m entering another world,” Oscar says. “It’s the kind of house you see in a magazine and dream of having one day. We love it here.”