For a while now, Angelenos in search of more affordable housing and room to breathe have decamped north to Sherman Oaks. The suburban community currently has a median home sale price of $1.6 million. While that might not sound like a deal, it’s considerably more affordable than other affluent Los Angeles enclaves such as Beverly Hills and Santa Monica (with median sale prices of $2.9 million and $1.7 million, respectively).
So when the previous owners of this single-family home in Sherman Oaks purchased it for $1,145,000 in 2016, they knew of its value. Built on a third of an acre in 1959, this three-bed, three-bath home just needed some polishing to restore it to its midcentury modern glory.
The owners leaned into a redesign that leveraged the home’s existing features while elevating the retro charm. Their strategy worked, and the home sold for $2.45 million in 2022, more than double what they paid.
Preserving original architectural features and using clever staging likely made this Golden State gem an enticing buy. Below, you’ll find before and after photos, along with commentary from experts who point out what helped to sell this positively posh pad.
“The house is a beautiful, low horizontal piece of architecture, and the biggest issues with the existing design were the window coverings, the dark colors, the dark furniture, and the mismatched style of the furniture,” explains Matt Baran, founder of Baran Studio Architecture and a licensed developer, architect, and builder, based in California.
A few small changes make a big difference in this front yard. Cleaning up the landscaping and cutting down the bulky tree, for instance, reveal the beautiful architecture.
“Low, horizontal architecture can be challenged with regard to curb appeal, and removing the tree helped a lot here. This also helps let more light into the space,” says Baran.
Paint helps to refresh the exterior, and the new door fits in better with the midcentury modern aesthetic.
Barrett Cooke, co-founder of Arterberry Cooke, an architecture and design studio based in Southern California, notes the addition of the bright yellow door, which highlights the retro charm and adds a touch of sunny SoCal freshness.
The dark, busy kitchen gets a complete overhaul—and becomes a bright, open space ideal for entertaining.
“In a word, simplification. There was way too much going on in the existing kitchen, and their work really cleaned this up,” says Baran. The revised geometric details (adding a simple, square countertop and getting rid of intricate moldings and cabinet faces) also help to streamline the space.
The white color palette lightens up the room and will likely appeal to a broad set of potential buyers, says Cooke.
The dining room
The dining room was stripped down, then brightened with white paint and modern furniture.
Baran notes that eliminating loud, grainy, or veiny materials prevents the eye from jumping all over the room. He adds that opting for a simple lighting fixture was a great decision because it fits well with the overall architecture without overwhelming the space.
Take a peek at the “before” floors, and you’ll notice a jumble of tile and wood.
“Streamlining the flooring materials and keeping with wood really helps to unify all the spaces,” says Cooke.
The living room
“This is a pretty tough one for staging, but laying this room out so it takes advantage of all the light and windows is great,” says Baran. He adds that the chosen furniture works well because it’s simple with clean lines. The new light fixture also keeps with the midcentury style, all while bringing the space into 2022.
The airy white color palette also helps to connect the indoors to the outdoors, says Cooke.
The roomy bedroom gets a face-lift with a few simple touches, including new wood flooring that matches the rest of the house and a bright white ceiling that makes the area look even more spacious.
And, instead of dated horizontal blinds, new fabric window treatments create a cozy, put-together feel while allowing in plenty of light, says Baran.