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Design Ideas
House Tour: A Spanish Bungalow Makeover in Los Angeles
Julia Chasman revamps a derelict bungalow into a charming, retro retreat.
When you come across a neglected home, do you see an eyesore on the street or a diamond in the rough? For designer Julia Chasman, old homes speak to her and inspire her to revive them with retro elegance and vintage charm. When she stumbled across a rundown Spanish bungalow in Eagle Rock, California, she... Keep Scrolling
Written by Tori Youngbauer
Photography by by Bret Gum
Styling by Jickie Torres

When you come across a neglected home, do you see an eyesore on the street or a diamond in the rough? For designer Julia Chasman, old homes speak to her and inspire her to revive them with retro elegance and vintage charm. When she stumbled across a rundown Spanish bungalow in Eagle Rock, California, she knew that she wanted to restore the home to its former glory and pass it along to new homeowners. “When I saw this place it was very sad looking, but I saw the potential in what it could be,” Julia says. She bought the home and poured her heart and soul into restoring the entirety of the property, leaving nothing untouched.

spanish bungalow dining room
The white walls of this home stay true to the original Spanish style of the home. The dining room table is a new piece that has a vintage feeling to it. The distressed wood complements the revamped oak flooring and pairs well with the dark-brown trim used around the windows of the home. The room is tied together with faux-vintage lighting fixtures, rugs and wall accessories.

With all the care and attention to detail Julia puts into her restorations, simply calling her a house flipper wouldn’t do her work justice. Once the restoration was completed, Julia staged the house using items from her personal collection of vintage furniture and accessories. “My style and taste in decor is drawn from multiple influences. Like most designers, I like to mix high-low if I can.  This is reflected in the quality of the furnishings and in the artwork,” Julia says.

With all the care and attention to detail Julia puts into her restorations, simply calling her a house flipper wouldn’t do her work justice

Her design style mixes vintage and antique finds with modern floor plans and bright colors. “I take great pleasure in the mix—and the hunt—to find things for free,” she adds. “I found the brightly colored chair in the guest bedroom in the street and painted it myself with four coats of Farrow & Ball’s Blazer in high gloss. Then I recovered the seat with the same honeycomb-pattern fabric that’s on the upholstered chair in the living room.”

spanish bungalow living room
This living area is light and welcoming and inspires anyone who walks through the door. Julia fills the space with her own collection of furniture including an English sunset-glass light fixture, a Picasso ceramic vase on the coffee table and vintage upholstered chairs.

The high-low approach is also, of course, budget friendly. “Lighting is a great place to mix. The living room has a very good piece of English sunset glass on the ceiling fixture and handmade wrought-iron sconces with antique mica shades above the fireplace, but I used Home Depot Schoolhouse globes in the hallway, and a mix in the kitchen of inexpensive factory-style pendants over the island and a good Schoolhouse Electric reproduction pendant over the sink.  The country chandelier in the dining room is from World Market.”

cottage kitchen makeover
One of the biggest transformations to take place in this home was the renovation of the kitchen. Julia took down walls that separated a breakfast nook, dining room and galley kitchen and opened it all up into one large space.

“I enjoy sharing my vision with others, and I want to show off the home as I see fit,” Julia says. “It’s bittersweet to sell a home that I’ve poured so much into, but being so emotionally involved makes the experience more rewarding.”

vintage stove in a bungalow kitchen makeover
The inclusion of this 1952 O’Keefe and Merritt stove brings a vintage charm to the kitchen. The stove was restored and reglazed to make it look brand new. The white subway tile and polished chrome accents pair well with the greens used throughout the kitchen.

Julia takes special care of the homes she decides to restore, and she understands the challenges of taking on older properties. “First and foremost, a home needs to be functional as well as livable,” Julia says. She took this idea to heart by tearing down a few walls original to the Spanish bungalow– but what she sacrificed in period correctness, she gained in livability by creating a more open and modern flow, replacing the electrical system and rearranging pipes. She made some great additions including a 1920s-inspired second bathroom that wasn’t there before and a patio outside the master suite. “You can have vintage charm and style with modern conveniences,” Julia states.

spanish bungalow kitchen before

spanish bungalow kitchen after
Julia had the pipes rearranged and windows moved to better suit the space. The rich sage green and deep reds bring warmth to this newly remodeled room. Julia incorporated the same tile used in the living room into the kitchen backsplash. The original windows were refinished, and a vintage stained glass panel was inserted where there was once a cabinet. This adds a unique focal point above the sink and looks like it was meant to be in the home all along.

butler's pantry makeover

bungalow butler's pantry makeover
The butler’s pantry after. The sage green used for the custom cabinetry brings a cheerful feeling to the space. Adding more storage in the kitchen expanded the kitchen significantly, and makes the room bright and spacious.

spanish bungalow bay window before

bungalow bay window after
This window seat makes a grand impression and acts as an independent space. Julia custom designed the cushion, which can be enjoyed by humans and pets alike. The staging of this reading nook is cozy and brings a touch of rustic charm to the space.

Her additions reflect the age of the Spanish bungalow, and every decision is made with the house in mind. “I usually just go with my gut on projects like these,” she says. “I try not to worry too much or second guess myself.”


spanish bungalow entryway
An antique tile-topped book rack combined with Bentwood wall-mounted coat hooks imbue the entryway with period charm.

For Julia, restoring homes is a labor of love and is much more than searching for a return investment. “Not everyone wants a vintage-style home, and that’s okay,” Julia says. Her inclusion of classic elements stays true to the home’s history, and as she moves on to new projects, she feels how rewarding the process can be. “I believe my houses attract the buyers they are meant to. There are enough people out there who appreciate what I do and respond to the home the way I do, with love and admiration.”

antique bed in a spanish bungalow
The vintage bed featured in the master bedroom is one of Julia’s personal treasures. The dark wood and hand-painted poppies were matched with vintage oil paintings that bring warmth and richness to the room. Julia added the french doors to give the room more light and she also added an outdoor patio attached to the master suite.
vintage paiting above an antique bed with painted detail
Still lifes featuring fruit and flowers contribute to the decorative aspect of the space. Julia loves the richness old oil paintings bring to a room, which cannot always be created with posters or found objects. This painting ties in perfectly with the hand-painted bed below and has the same color scheme used throughout the home.
linen closet with vintage wallpaper added to the back
In order to maximize storage in the hallway, Julia added a large linen cabinet styled to fit the home. Vintage wallpaper found on eBay instantly brings retro flair to the space. This is just one of the many small touches Julia added to the home for it to feel cohesive and stay true to its vintage charm.

vintage dresser with chippy paint

hex tile with subway tile combo in this renovated shower
The focus on small details throughout the home is remarkable, and Julia’s personal touch is seen in every room she designs. The mixture of subway and hexagonal tiles is a point of interest and brings a vintage appeal to the modern fixtures in the shower.
restored spanish bungalow bathroom with tile
The master bathroom stays true to the original layout and maintains the original cabinetry, windows and bathtub. An updated reproduction sink was added, as well as brand new tiling. The color scheme pays homage to vintage bathrooms in Southern California that featured bright-colored tile mixed with black-and-white accessories and silver fixtures.
spanish bungalow french doors with bright painted refurbished doors
The French doors leading out from the master bedroom and patio were additions Julia made; she felt they increased the overall space of the room. A connection between the indoors and nature is essential for true California living.

spanish bungalow exterior before

Spanish Bunglow makeover in Los Angeles
Julia gave this Spanish bungalow some much needed curb appeal, with decomposed granite, a fresh paint job with bright accent colors and a Spanish-style fountain she designed herself. The fountain is now a focal point that can be enjoyed from inside or outside the home.

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