Homes - Interiors

Interior: California chic

Iris Benaroia
Photography by
Donna Griffith; styling and design by Lara McGraw

A notable house beautifully blends original architectural details, pared-down contemporary furnishings and the homeowner's Canadian roots.

“I never really loved Los Angeles until I lived here,” admits former Torontonian Shereen Arazm. With a stunning two-storey Spanish Colonial Revival-style home and a garden bursting with pudgy pomegranates, glossy avocados, a regal fig tree, wild strawberries and an organic vegetable patch complete with a selection of herbs, it’s easy to imagine how this place could literally grow on you.

After owning abodes in Florida and on LA’s storied Mulholland Drive, Shereen and her husband, Oren Koules, along with their daughters, six-month-old Neve and Sam, 4, and Oren’s son, 17-year-old Miles, made the move to Hancock Park, an affluent area dating back to the 1920s. “Hancock Park is very much a neighbourhood like you’d find in Toronto. Before, we were up in the hills with no sidewalks and it didn’t feel as family oriented. This house has really changed my perspective,” she says.

Shereen is smitten with the eight-bedroom home, even though she and her husband weren’t drawn to it initially. “This house has a Tuscan/Spanish vibe, which wasn’t our style,” she says. “But I really love it now because the look is original. I like that the old is combined with contemporary style furniture and art – it’s difficult to straddle the line between the two, but it’s done here very successfully.” She credits the superlative design to Toronto stylist and designer Lara McGraw, a childhood friend who worked on the couple's other homes.

Home renovation challenges
Along with upgrading the interior, the reno also entailed adding a pool and refurbishing the home’s exterior and gardens. The biggest design challenge, says Lara, was dealing with the home’s size. “It’s spacious, so filling it up wasn’t easy,” she says. But despite its grandness, the home remains exceptionally inviting.

This article is featured on Interior design

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