This house was built in 1952 and is in the town of Covina, a suburb of Los Angeles. Covina is 22 miles east of L.A., and became a postwar boomtown in the 1950s. World War II veterans had the GI bill and were able to buy homes. They came home from the war to their loved ones, got married and had children. The baby boom led to a housing boom!
Industry changed after the war to peace-time production, and war-time materials were used in building homes. Using materials like steel led to clean, simple design with an industrial look and a cool history. This industrial design was very evident in this home, from the metal windows to the streamline modern curve on the kitchen cabinets.
Our house was the only one on the block that still had the original metal windows, and we wanted to keep them. They had a crank opening, which didn’t work when we first saw the house. However, it turned out there was a lot of paint on the windows. Once that was removed the crank opening worked perfectly! The large picture window in the living room was a beautiful feature and we were so fortunate to have it.
The home’s other original features were high ceilings and hardwood floors. The floors had been covered with carpet for many years and were in beautiful condition. Even though the home was only 1130 square feet it felt larger due to the high ceilings.
The house had three bedrooms and only one bathroom. We were lucky to have a large laundry room that backed up to one of the bedrooms. We decided to make the laundry room smaller and use that extra space and the bedroom closet to add a master bath to the bedroom. Also we closed off a door that led to this bedroom from the kitchen, and voila! We had a true master suite!
The kitchen was full of possibilities for design. It had a great corner sink. The curved cabinets were a cool industrial design from the 30s, 40s and 50s. We really wanted to keep them. Unfortunately, when Jessie was removing the old countertop the lower cabinets were damaged. The plan was changed a little bit, and we kept the uppers but had to replace the lowers. We found a cabinet company that had just gotten a new cabinet in with a metallic laminate finish. The metallic look fit in perfectly with our industrial design. Tina decided on a black tile floor with a white tile border. On the upper pantry cupboard we had steel doors fabricated with clear door panels. And on a lower cabinet we saved a piece of the curved end and were able to cover it with a piece of the metallic laminate. This was really fun! The black quartz countertop and teal backsplash finished off the exact look we wanted.
The hall bath had a great sink that we restored and reused. The original bathroom tile had a dark green border and we used this color as inspiration for the renovated bathroom. We used dark gray tile on the shower/tub wall with a stripe of dark green. It was very dramatic and we loved it!
For the master bath walk-in shower we used the same design, but with a lighter gray tile and lime green stripe. We have to say, these bathrooms are among our favorites!
We decided to use the wood from the old garage door to make a reclaimed wood wall in the living room. It looked so good, and we loved keeping another original piece of the home.
On the exterior we had quite a bit of work to do. We discovered after painting that the old stucco was causing the new paint to peel off. This meant we had to spend an additional $5000 to re-stucco the entire house. We also did a new concrete driveway and a new roof. With all of these repairs – and a paint scheme of white with gray accents and black trim, new window box, the original steel windows, and plants that included grasses and sage – we achieved the result of a home with the retro industrial charm that we had imagined!
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