Bel Air is by far the wealthiest and most well-known neighborhood within Los Angeles County, CA. Situated in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, about 12 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, the neighborhood features older-style architecture, with some homes that are still standing from the time they were constructed in the early 1920s.
One of these homes, which dates back to the early 1960s, was recently rebuilt by local designer and builder, David Griffin, who worked diligently to create a more modern, contemporary aesthetic.
“My client inherited his parents’ 1960’s Bel Air home, which had not been remodeled for decades. The spacious home sits on a 22,000-square-foot lot and was in a complete state of disrepair, so I gutted the home, inside and out,” said Griffin, founder of Complete Access, Inc. in Los Angeles, CA. “The results had to be stunning and uncompromising. It was vital that we brought to market an inviting home; and in this regard, my client and I worked together to design and rebuild to appeal to an array of discerning buyers. As the intention was to sell the home upon completion, we worked hard to ensure that overall, we incorporated gender-neutral elements and colors. We focused on color, clean lines, function, quality appliances, fixtures, lighting and other superlative elements to create a home with a wonderful flow, especially for grand entertaining.”
While the original home had “decent bones,” according to Griffin, it was outdated and needed a complete overhaul to meet today’s modernized design standards. “It was dark and dingy, choppy and absolutely unappealing,” the designer said. “Everything from the roof to the sewer pipes had to be replaced, so we stripped it. The original kitchen was especially cluttered, extremely dysfunctional and more befitting to a two-bedroom apartment than a luxury estate.”
With an overarching goal to transform the home and grounds into an “enclave befitting the area,” Griffin set out to create a magnificent home, uncompromising when it came to quality and artistry, which was completed with the use of various upscale additions, including a variety of Italian tile employed throughout the main living areas and bathrooms.
“Quite clearly, I was charged with delivering a home that stood apart from the other high-end properties for sale to high-expectation homebuyers wanting to live in the affluent Bel Air community,” Griffin said. “We delivered a masterpiece that turns heads. The kitchen is clearly the crown jewel.”
For the new 652-square-foot kitchen, which more than doubled in size from its original 276-square-foot layout, Griffin focused on opening up the cramped space. “This was achieved by incorporating the adjoining, open, double carport space into the new layout, resulting in a chef’s kitchen, which features an abundance of storage, bistro seating for six at an island, a connecting kitchen lounge and a seamless flow onto the adjoining, outdoor dining terrace,” he said.
For the flooring throughout the kitchen, Griffin opted for a striking, wood-inspired porcelain tile from La Fabbrica’s Kauri collection in the dark gray color, “Victoria Tech.” Just over 700 square feet of the diagonally patterned tile was utilized in a 24- x 48-inch format, which provides a nice complement to the massive white marble countertop on the island that stretches almost the entire length of the kitchen.
“To bring as much light into the enlarged kitchen, we kept the skylight, and widened and made taller the kitchen entry, which we dressed with synchronized, etched-glass entry doors,” Griffin said. “We added new windows and installed two sets of floor-to-ceiling tri-fold doors, leading to the adjoining patio.”
Nearby the kitchen, in the office bathroom, different variations of porcelain and ceramic tile were used on the main floor and in the shower. For the main flooring, 50 square feet of ceramic tile from Mirage’s Ruche collection was utilized. The 5- x 4 1/4-inch, honeycomb-style hexagonal tiles, which incorporate matte, glossy and metallic finishes, add an interesting textural finish to the floor. The “Noir” color was selected, which features shades of black, gray and silver. A smaller hexagonal tile was continued into the shower on the floor and ceiling; around 18 square feet of the 1 1/2-inch glossy tiles were implemented in solid back, with minimal white grout joints. On the shower walls, 80 square feet of Iris Ceramica and Diesel Living’s Shades of Blinds collection was used. The 4- x 12-inch porcelain tiles, which emulate closed vertical blinds with light peeking through, were utilized in “Black” with a glossy finish to complement the other glossy tiles in the bathroom.
On the other side of the kitchen, at the far right end of the home, penny round circular tiles were utilized on the floors of the exterior pool shower and adjoining bathroom. A customized pattern was designed in the indoor bathroom to complement the pedestal sink cut from a solid block of marble. “I wanted continuity between the outdoor shower and the pool bathroom, hence the similar floor tile — the Salluto glass collection, Penny Circle Series, in ‘Whisper White’ outside flowing into the ‘Grey Spring’ color on the floor inside the bathroom with adjoining changing room,” Griffin said.
Customized glass tile is also featured on the wall of the outdoor pool shower. A 60s-inspired mosaic was constructed using 12 3/4- x 12 5/8-inch glass tiles from Oceanside Glass & Tile’s Devotion collection. A custom color combination was created with Devotion’s swank pattern. “The glass tile for the outdoor shower backsplash is an homage to the home’s 1960’s vintage,” Griffin said.
The 4,316-square-foot home also features an extensive range of natural stone tile, which was used for the flooring, walls and shower elements in the entryway, hallways, master bathrooms, powder room and second floor bathroom. Various types of Italian marble were used in different colors to tie all of the spaces together and create a cohesive design throughout the home.
“With each of my design/build projects, I strive for a uniformity with distinction,” Griffin explained. “For example, all wall and ceiling paint throughout the home is a Benjamin Moore ‘white.’ Stylistically, the elements must be complementary, while at the same time each must make their own statement. Careful thought was given to the tile selections for every space to create wonderful ‘moments’ and the ‘wow’ factor a home of this level commands.”
With such an extensive project, the redesign and rebuild took about two years to complete. “Preliminary discussions about design and budget began in the last quarter of 2017,” the designer said. “We actually broke ground on May 1, 2018, and the project was completed in August 2019.”
Since the home’s completion, it has received great praise from the owner and visitors alike. “People have been extremely complimentary,” Griffin said. “They admire the overall look, the attention to detail, the quality, unique elements, high-end finishes, indoor-outdoor floor, harmony and lighting.”
Bel Air, CA
Designer/Builder: Complete Access, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Tile Supplier: Westside Tile & Stone, Beverley Hills, CA (La Fabbrica’s Kauri collection, Mirage’s Ruche collection, Iris Ceramica and Diesel Living’s Shades of Blinds collection, Oceanside Glass & Tile’s Devotion collection)