At Home with an LA Costume Designer, Summer Remodel Edition

When costume designer Gordana Golubovic emailed us photos of her Spanish-style remodel in LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood, we were immediately taken with the airy, open interiors, neutral textures, and the French doors and windows that open to the gardens from nearly every room (not to mention the outdoor gravel garden and luxe, summer-ready pool). But the house was far from luxe when she purchased it June of 2015: “Abandoned for seven years, it was boarded up by the city, ravaged by squatters, invaded by vines and branches,” she says. “On the day we came it was gloomy and rainy, and what little light that existed was blocked out by the boards on the window. There were drawings on the wall, stained carpets, and the electric and water were disconnected.” But Golubovic took on the challenge: “It was love at first sight. I couldn’t wait to get started,” she says.

Golubovic started renovating homes at a young age, helping her mother on projects and experimenting with textures and layouts, before becoming a period costume designer for film. “It was a natural transition, because it was creating with materials and transforming,” she says. “I really have a love for natural materials, whether plaster, concrete, wood, linen, cashmere, or hemp.” Case in point: the mix of textures and high/low collection of vintage finds and DIY that gives her LA remodel a low-key summer vibe. Join us for a tour.

Photography by Lauren Moore.

Gordana Golubovic LA House Exterior, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: The newly revamped exterior, succulent garden included. “I knew I had to expose her beauty,” Golubovic says of the house. “For six months straight someone would approach us, thanking us for bringing out the beauty in this house.”
Gordana Golubovic LA Home Living Room, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: An airy living room channels laid-back LA living with low-slung white chaises (Living Divani modular sofas) and a custom white oak table. Golubovic found the midcentury woven chairs at a flea market in Chicago.
Gordana Golubovic Living Room, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: Golubovic plastered the walls and ceiling throughout the house with X-Kalibur plaster. The ceramic lamp was a flea market find.
Gordana Golubovic LA Living Room, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: The poured-concrete floors are a new addition. Golubovic added a brown overtone to make it look aged and original to the house.
Gordana Golubovic Wood Storage Living Room, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: Golubovic updated the brick fireplace by creating a concrete front and then adding plaster over the top. A built-in bench alongside doubles as log storage.
Gordana Golubovic LA Home Living Room Fireplace Lauren Moore Above: Another living area off of the central stairway.

Golubovic bleached and soaped the original wood floors with WOCA lye and soap products (see Remodeling 101: Easy Whitewashed Scandi Floors), and removed drywall to expose the ceiling beams. The pendant shade is from Netherlands company Ay Illuminate, purchased from Lost & Found. Golubovic’s collection of vintage African wooden vessels and baskets line reclaimed wood shelves.

Gordana Golubovic LA Home Kitchen, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: The kitchen, with two dining areas attached.

The original kitchen had a tight galley layout (complete with a washer and dryer). Golubovic expanded the space by removing a wall between a small adjoining bed and bath to create an open kitchen-dining space with custom cabinets and limestone counters. (“Everyone thinks it’s concrete, but it will never crack,” Golubovic says. “I made the guy go through 25 slabs before i found the perfect one.”) Above the stove is a custom vent, plastered to match the walls.

Gordana Golubovic LA Home Dining Room, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: The informal, communal dining area.

For the dining area, Golubovic hired a Hungarian craftsman to make a 14-foot-long built-in bench out of bleached and soaped alder wood. “It’s a place where a group can gather and lounge, and it connects to a big outdoor terrace,” she says. “If you sit right in the middle there is this amazing view through the front door of the city skyline and a cactus.” On the other side of the table: Japanese stools from County Ltd. The windows are fitted with latches from Liz’s Antique Hardware. The brass pendants are vintage Alvar Aalto.

Above L: Discreet cabinet pulls are from Epco Hardware. Above R: Open shelves display Heath ceramics and Hasami porcelain cups.

Gordana Golubovic LA Home Kitchen, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: Vintage Turkish hemp rugs, sourced from Etsy, add texture. The dishwasher is from Bosch.

Above: A smaller dining area opens directly onto the pool area.

Gordana Golubovic LA Home Bedroom, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: Upstairs, a mostly white bedroom with touches of ochre: throw pillows from Ikea, a swath of suede fabric that serves as a throw, and brass cube door pulls from Liz’s Antique Hardware. Golubovic sourced the daybed from Ikea and had the white denim bolsters fabricated from a local fabric shop.
Gordana Golubovic LA Home Desk in Bedroom, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: In a sunny corner, a vintage wallpaper table from eBay, an Alvar Aalto stool, and houseplants in neutral pots.
Gordana Golubovic LA Home Bedroom, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: In a second upstairs bedroom, an original built-in closet and drawers, updated with brass handles, keep the space minimal and uncluttered. The Cherner chair is a flea market find.

Above L: In an upstairs bath, twin Duravit Vero sinks outfitted with Phylrich brass fixtures and fringed Totokaelo/Scents and Feel towels. Above R: A smaller bath features a Lacava Twin Baby sink with a mirror from Lawson Fenning.

Gordana Golubovic LA Home Bedroom, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: In the main bedroom on the ground floor, French doors open onto the pool area.
Gordana Golubovic LA Home Bathroom, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: The serene ensuite bath with a poured-in-place concrete vanity that Golubovic designed. (“I draw everything out myself on graph paper,” she says.) The walls are finished in a waterproof cement called Merlex Super Shower, and the brass light fixture is from Allied Maker. Bamboo trays from Muji keep toiletries organized.
Gordana Golubovic LA Home Bathroom, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: In the walk-in shower, raw brass fixtures from Watermark will patina with time. A DIY solution: Golubovic had a piece of brass cut and bent at a metal supply store to fit over the shower’s infinity drain, installed against the far wall. The towel hooks are from Alder & Co.
Gordana Golubovic LA House Pool, Photo by Lauren Moore Above: Indoor/outdoor living: the main bedroom opens to the pool.

For more summery LA spaces, see our posts:

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