California inside outside

PART OF THE ALLURE OF CALIFORNIA living is the ability to spend lots of time outdoors year round. Homeowners Michael and Yvonne Caan have taken this privilege to heart, creating an oasis of beauty outside and inside their Brentwood home.

When the couple bought the property about seven years ago, they recall that they were drawn to the house–a 1937 quasi-English-style ranch–and the half-acre property. "We liked the style, and it is on a nice corner lot," says Yvonne. But the Caans knew going in that they were facing an extensive remodeling project. "It needed a new kitchen, new bathrooms. Every room needed to be updated," recalls Yvonne.

Fortunately, the basic structure was sound. The house was designed by the late Los Angeles architect Welton Becket, known for his commercial work, including Schoenberg Hall at University of California at Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Music Center, and the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood. The Caans’ house is thought to be the only single–story residence Becket designed.

Over a period of four years, Yvonne, who is originally from Sweden, personally redecorated the house room by room. Using the experience she gained remodeling other homes and a keen sense of design intuition, she chose fabrics and furnishings that reminded her of English interiors she had seen while abroad. The English Country style also complements the couple’s collection of Swedish and English antiques.

One project Yvonne decided would be better off in the hands of a professional was the landscape and garden design. Realizing that the grounds surrounding the house needed to be completely reworked, she turned to Diana Green of Green Print Design in Santa Monica. Green’s additions include a knot garden in the side yard and a small pool backed with a white-painted pergola poolhouse in the back yard. Covered with flowering vines, the pavilion has turned out to be the perfect place to enjoy year-round outdoor living.

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