As the saying goes, when you know, you know. While touring an open house with longtime clients in Los Angeles’s historic Hancock Park neighborhood, designer Jake Arnold knew they had stumbled upon a gem. Though it was in need of updating, the Tudor-style home with quirky details charmed the group. It was also a welcome change of pace compared to the clients’ single-story residence. Still, despite the stellar first impression, there were many more houses to be seen.
Two hours later, Arnold’s phone rang. The clients had put in an offer. “I was like, you’re joking,” Arnold recalls with a laugh.
For a designer, starting with a slate like this was ideal: The house had solid bones, the layout was in good shape, and there was no shortage of character. “The houses that have any kind of original features always excite me,” Arnold says.
Nonetheless, there was much to be done. The interiors were dark and dreary, and the mock Tudor features felt a bit too literal with overdone crown moldings and paneling. Arnold peeled back some of the fluff to let the home’s architecture shine. Overall, the directive could be described as straightforward: Simplify and refine.