The popular home design trend cluttering up Instagram these days calls for neutral colors, natural materials, and a casual spirit—all of which describes this striking house in the foothills of historic Lincoln Heights in Los Angeles. But that’s where the similarities end, because this singular project, by Patrick Bernatz Ward, is the antithesis of trendy, fast, disposable design.
His clients, an artist and an actor, wanted a place that would “evoke a sense of Old California while incorporating a palette and aesthetic for contemporary living,” he says. “The house was built in 1907 for one of the original pioneer families of the neighborhood. Over the last century, the home was stripped of most of the original features and consisted of several eras of cobbled aesthetic based on the previous tenants.”
Patrick’s mission: “to thoughtfully honor the historical architecture while incorporating contemporary California materials, craftsmanship, and locally-made furniture.” Below, he walks us through the timeless and trend-proof results.
Photography by John Daniel Powers, courtesy of Patrick Bernatz Ward.
Above: The Arts & Crafts-style house hews toward rustic minimalism. “The aesthetic pulled inspiration from California artists and makers, including Paul Landacre, William Turnbull, and early Bauer Pottery, as well as location-specific attributes,” explains Patrick. “The intent was to thoughtfully honor the historical architecture while incorporating contemporary California materials, craftsmanship, and locally-made furniture.”
Above: The groove paneled walls in the kitchen are painted Benjamin Moore’s Tapestry Beige; the trim and shutters, Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green. The cabinet doors are paint-grade millwork in a custom Benjamin Moore paint. A hidden surprise: the interiors of the drawers are painted Farrow & Ball’s Dutch Orange.
Above: The countertop is a salvaged black walnut slab with an oiled finish.
Above: Kitchen linens hint at the pop of color inside the drawers.
Above: A perfectly appointed breakfast nook. Patrick designed the table, made from salvaged California coastal live oak, as well as the banquette. An antique copper lantern hangs above. The floors are locally made black terracotta tiles.
Above: In the living room, a built-in sofa, made of red-gum eucalyptus that was milled and sourced locally, wraps around the room. “We wanted a piece of furniture that felt like it was truly integrated into the architecture.” says Patrick. Vintage Brutalist slate coffee tables by Adrian Pearsall sit atop a Tuareg rug from Libya.
Above: A seamless segue from seating to side table. Many of the built-ins were constructed by artist Nik Gelormino.
Above: “A good portion of the house is southern-facing so we designed a series of shutters and shades that could diffuse the light throughout the day,” says Patrick. The walls in the study are painted in the same Studio Green as the shutters. A Lindsay Adelman lamp pairs well with the antique Mexican desk.
Above: “We really advocated for as much locally-made art and objects as possible that were both contemporary and historic. The vessels [on the dining table] are all 1920s Bauer terracotta pottery that was actually made just a few blocks from the residence at the turn of the century,” shares Patrick. The walls in this room and throughout the home (with the exception of the kitchen and study) are painted in Portola Paint’s Classic Gray lime wash.
Above: A small artful moment in an unexpected spot, thanks to a funky potted plant and the stool, an antique that once belonged to a now defunct Napa schoolhouse, it rests on. The oak stairs and some of the original oak flooring were salvaged and refinished.
Above: The main bedroom features a simple headboard and matching floating shelves, a red mohair blanket from Mantas Ezcaray, and custom cotton bedding from Oaxaca. (Note the dramatic floor-length pillow cases.) Outside the room is an oil-rubbed bronze switch plate from Rejuvenation.
Above: In the bathroom, a custom lathe-turned Deodar cedar trunk designed by Patrick.
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