Classic Spanish Mission Home in Hancock Park

A classic Spanish Mission style home set deep in the historic neighborhood of Hancock Park just west of downtown Los Angeles and built in 1926 was inspired by the architecture of the missions built by the early Spanish padres. This project was a complete restoration and renovation.

As you approach the house up the curving fire clay stairs flanked by torcheres and native California irises you pass the desert garden filled with ocotillo, agaves, and succulents planted amidst boulders that were carefully dropped with a crane through the branches of an existing 80 year old Deodar cedar tree There is a palpable connection with the romanticized early California lifestyle. The grass and wrap around driveway were torn out making room for this new garden based on early California mission and early orange grove estate gardens. Six varieties of citrus trees along with California pepper trees, an allee of olive trees lining the front driveway, a mission fig, a fuji apple, and a passion fruit tree were planted. A rambling vegetable garden weaves in and out of blue and variegated agaves, queen and king palms, Mexican marigolds, and a variety of sedum. Euphorbias were planted close to the house creating dramatic silhouettes on the walls.

When the wrap around driveway was removed space for two more exterior rooms was created. The new hexagon shaped fountain was faced with reproduced Batchelder tile purchased from Mission Tile West in South Pasadena to match the existing wall fountain and bathroom tile. The pot is an original from Gladding McBean and was sourced at Wells Antiques in Echo Park. 

A custom hand carved limestone fireplace surround from Atelier Jouvence in Chicago fills the space where the orginal had been torn out some years prior. New French doors were fabricated, matching the originals on the facing wall, allowing access to the outdoor dining and living areas.  

The kitchen was left as it had been originally designed with the addition of new white cedar cabinets, matching the originals, so the installation was seamless, to accommodate a subzero refrigerator and new dishwasher. Cal art tile covers the surface of the walls. New period appropriate fixtures replaced the 1950’s faucets. The light fixtures are vintage from Liz's Antique Hardware in Los Angeles. 

A small spice cabinet was removed where the center double hung window now is to allow for more light. The table was reproduced from the original construction documents but with the addition of wheels to allow for easy cleaning. The bench seats where restored and new flush mount hardware was installed to allow for easy access to storage. The vintage light is from Michelle's Antiques, Lighting, and Design in Pasadena. The paint throughout the house is from Benjamin Moore. High gloss paint was used to give a more vintage look to the woodwork.  

Passing through the handcrafted iron gate and through the shaded loggia you come to the first of several exterior rooms, a courtyard offering respite from the surrounding city. A new brick patio, based on the original architect’s plans, was laid in a herringbone pattern. The original wall sconces crafted out of copper, steel, brass, and art glass were stripped and rewired. A local locksmith was able to rekey the old gate lock making it possible for the client to enjoy their peaceful courtyard without intrusion. The reclaimed brick for the patio was sourced at Mortarless Building Supply in Silverlake. Bill Melia of Bilco Enterprises restored the torcheres and wall sconces. 

Plywood that covered original sliding garage doors was removed exposing beautiful tongue and groove paneled doors that were carefully rebuilt and restored. 

The original faux finish on the woodwork in the living, dining, and stairwell were in need of restoration. The wood was stripped bare and refinished. Corbels that had been taken out in the 40's during an early renovation were fabricated and put back and wall sconces were installed where they once had been.

The Bathchelder tile in all the bathrooms was intact. The aluminum and plastic shower doors were removed, the 1960's style fixtures were replaced with period appropriate sink and shower fixtures, and the wood was stripped and painted. 

The entire house and garage were rewired, all the plumbing needed to be replaced, and the old furnaces were replaced and AC was added, but using the original cast steel supply vents. The exterior paint was removed and the original tinted plaster was left. To do this the tile roof tiles needed to be carefully removed at all the edges and then replaced after the many layers of paint were removed starting with the first coat of Bandaid pink. Repainting the home was considered, but the client preferred to leave the patina of the house cracks and all. They wanted to keep the character of the house intact. The result is an updated, poetic home that reflects early California living.

The TV/family room is just off the kitchen and living room where the breakfast room once was. The wall sconces and ceiling pendants are vintage. The trim paint is Benjamin Moore Heritage Red 181 from their historical collection.