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Inviting Adirondack chairs with monogrammed pillows welcome guests to the Benedicts' cozy porch. The couple installed striped Sunbrella draperies to dress up the outdoor sitting area. When they bought the house, it had a 1970s-style front door with gold diffused glass. Dan replaced it with this door, which he built himself.
Rods: Benedict August; porch lamp: Kichler
The cozy family room features architectural details, such as the original lower moldings, that bring out the character of the home. The couple installed white paneling on the wall to create texture and sophistication.
Erin and Dan both love to pair contrasts — large and small, shiny and matte, rough and smooth. In this space, plaid armchairs contrast with a dark leather sofa. A wooden cart coffee table provides storage and display space for books and magazines, and Roman shades dress the windows.
AFTER: Originally, a solid wall with one doorway divided the kitchen and dining space. Dan knocked down a wall to open the rooms to one another, making it more functional for entertaining and daily use.
A second sink and a small refrigerator in the island are convenient features, especially when the couple throws parties. "We've had parties of 100 people and it didn't feel crowded," says Dan.
Appliances: Frigidaire; pendant lights: Kichler
Near the laundry area, Dan installed a kitty door into the side of a cabinet as a clever place to store the litter box. This keeps their cat, Einstein, both happy and discreet.
The home office houses Dan's impressive antique train collection. Ten years ago Erin picked up a train from a flea market as a gift to Dan. Since then he's found most of its companions on eBay. Dan has more trains than the custom-built floating shelves will hold, so he rotates the collection.
Some of the trains are made of surplus tin with vintage bottlecap graphics printed on one side, and others are made of cast iron. "Towards the end of World War I, there was a shortage of cast iron, so for three years they made a copy of one locomotive out of tin instead and resumed using cast iron after the war," Dan explains.
Paint color: Whole Wheat, Dunn Edwards
On the opposite wall, Erin and Dan installed floating shelves to flank the window. Red Lucite chairs from West Elm (no longer available) bring a fun, modern look to this workspace.
A miniature Vitra Panton S chair is one of several miniature replicas on display in the office's open shelving.
"We love collections. Our house really felt like it was ours when we finally had our collections on display," says Erin.
AFTER: Erin and Dan created an outdoor living space that can be enjoyed all year round in California's mild weather.
The patio is made of poured, colored concrete and slate. The raised planters and fountain are clad in stacked stone. The windows on the garage, once covered with bars, now look fantastic with black shutter awnings. The three-car garage and art studio are accessible from the alley in the back.
Patio dining chairs: Restoration Hardware; mirrored chandeliers: Z Gallerie
A stone water fountain creates a soothing vibe for the outdoor dining area. The patio offers a great view of Disneyland's nightly fireworks during the summertime.
Lush landscaping creates a private hangout near the outdoor fireplace. This is one of Erin's favorite spots because it offers a comfortable, serene yet secluded atmosphere. Orange bougainvillea bursts with color, and party lights from a previous event still hang.
Every year the couple throws a party for the Oscars, with guests enjoying the show on a large outdoor movie screen.
Patio lounge chairs: Restoration Hardware
The flat roof with red tiles and the stucco siding are very typical of an early California Spanish bungalow. Two large potted spiral topiaries frame the porch.
Erin's proudest homeowner moment was when her grandmother, who grew up in the home, visited and said, "This feels like home. It should have always been this way."