On the Market: A Dreamy Nichols Hills Mod
text and photos by Lynne Rostochil.
A few years ago, the Mod Squad was invited to tour the recently remodeled Troup-Barnes House that sits on a diagonal at the corner of Penn and Wilshire — go here to read all about it. The place was one of the few in the 1950s that was designed by a woman, in this case the owner Marie Troup. She meticulously planned every detail of the home and, once it was constructed in 1950, didn’t change one thing for the next six decades. She and her husband, Woody, adored their Nichols Hills palace and lived in the house the rest of their lives. In 2012, the home came on the market for the first time ever and its good luck continued with buyers Robert and Cara Barnes. For the next two years, the couple painstakingly and very thoughtfully remodeled the home, keeping all of its original character intact while greatly enhancing its best features. Now, this revamped mid-century modern delight is on the market and waiting for a third owner to appreciate and love it as much as its last two have.
Every room of the 4,220 sf, three bedroom/three-and-a-half bath abode is open, airy, and full of bright natural light, and from the first step inside, you know this is a special place. Actually, even before you step inside. Have a look at the front door knobs, for example. You get a funky, one-of-a-kind stamped metal guard on one side:
And an atomic starburst on the other:
Once inside, the large and comfy dining room is on the left:
Yeah, I know, how great is that wall color? It’s so, well, so BLUE and friendly and is such a breath of fresh air after seeing so many homes with nothing but white everywhere. To all of you flippers and HGTV lovers out there: color is good — on second thought, it’s GREAT! I don’t know exactly how to describe this particular shade of blue: it’s not deep like a sapphire or as aqua as a 1950s pool and it’s not the color of Paul Newman’s perfect eyes or as rich as a royal robe. But it is somewhat like the blue of the Mediterranean sea: vibrant, deep yet bright at the same time, teeming with vim and vigor.
Besides that great blue wall, how perfect is the hanging light over the table? Wow, wow, wow! The interior design is thanks to the very talented Vicki VanStavern.
Now, let’s enjoy more of the brilliant blue wall as we follow it out of the dining room toward the luxurious formal living room:
On the way, check out the stunning and all original mid-century staircase:
That wood! The brass! The floating steps! It is sheer perfection, don’t you agree? I know it’s difficult to take your eyes off of such beauty, but be prepared for even more when you turn around from this view to face the giant formal living room:
What a fun room! Love those corner windows that bring the outdoors in, and the wood paneled wall with a marble-faced fireplace ain’t too shabby, either:
I’m so enamored with this home because the formal spaces aren’t at all fancy pants — they are comfortable, relaxing, livable spaces that are incredibly friendly and practical all at the same time, as you’ll continue to see. That Marie Troup certainly knew what she was doing when she designed this place.
Back toward the staircase, a glass wall and planter greets visitors to the more informal areas of the home: the open-plan kitchen and den:
I have to say that I’ve got a huge crush on this kitchen, mainly because all of the best parts of the original kitchen were saved when it was remodeled. What do I mean by best parts? Well, how about this crazy funky floating peninsula, for one:
I’ve honestly never seen anything like it and it is a jaw dropper, for sure. The other side of the peninsula is just as gorgeous and practical as the bar since it features all kinds of great storage. I love, love, love it and am so glad it was saved:
The rest of the kitchen is equally as beautiful and is so spacious. You and 10 of your best pals could easily work together in this well appointed room:
To the left of the kitchen is a giant, storage-laden laundry room:
Honestly, there is so much incredible storage in this house that I think I’d have to go on a huge, years long shopping spree to fill up even half of the cabinets in this place. Empty cabinets — what a nice problem to have, aye?
Let’s go back into the kitchen, which opens up into one of the best dens I’ve ever visited. It’s huge, dramatic, friendly, and oh so comfy all at the same time:
No joke, this is one fantastic room.
To the left is a easily hidden storage center and bar:
Just open the accordion doors and voila:
On the opposite wall, Robert and Cara removed a dark paneled wall and replaced it with glass and a two-sided fireplace. This is a crappy photo, but you get the idea:
The addition of this glass wall catapulted a very nice den space into a truly remarkable one, but Robert and Cara didn’t stop there. They also opened up the adjacent wall and installed a bank of sliders that open onto the huge back patio to create a very inviting indoor/outdoor living space:
When the Barnes purchased the home, an ancient pool in need of all kinds of repairs completely dominated the backyard off of the back of the house. Instead of trying to fix the drab pool, they filled it in and hired landscape architect Randy Marks to create an outdoor oasis …
… complete with built-in bench …
… and a water feature created with recycled bricks that once comprised an accent wall in the front yard:
Beyond the water feature is another seating area bordered by an outdoor kitchen that is, no joke, better equipped than most people’s indoor models:
I mean, honestly, you could have a major party out here. And, as if this weren’t sexy enough, here’s a view of the other side of the two-sided fireplace:
Yes, this is the absolute perfect outdoor space, which would make it very difficult to decide where to spend cool evenings — inside admiring the blue wall? curling up in the lovely den? or out here listening to the fountain and enjoying a fire while wrapped up in a soft blanky? Yep, that’s a tough call.
Before your brain explodes pondering that conundrum, I have to share a little mystery with you that may both delight and frustrate you in equal parts until you solve it. Several years ago, Cara found a Bertoia-like sculpture and mounted it in the backyard. Over the years, she has tried to find out out who designed it, with no luck at all. Maybe the next owner will be able to solve the mystery:
Now, let’s go back inside and check out the three bedrooms. The thing I like best about them is that each one has its own bathroom so any can be used as the master. The first suite takes up the entire second story of the house:
Yep, that’s another exciting corner window that overlooks the lush green front yard. Here’s a view from the windows back toward the staircase:
That mirrored wall is the best! The adjacent bathroom is pretty incredible, too:
Love that floor tile detail …
… and the sweet and very vintage flower petalled screws holding up the mirror:
They are so stinkin’ cute!
Back downstairs, this bed and bath combo features a wall of windows overlooking the backyard:
Those bathroom windows are SO amazing!
Across from this bedroom is the true master suite … and my, is it a good one! The rectangular room is massive and features a cozy sitting area anchored by a flagstone and copper fireplace overlooking a private patio:
Oh my, that fireplace literally takes my breath away, it’s so perfect. I love it so much and would have to add this space to my growing list of possibilities for the the perfect room to spend a quiet evening. I don’t know which one to pick!! Indoor or outdoor? Den or this space? I’m so confused! Maybe I’d just have to pick a different space every day of the week — Mondays in the formal living room in front of the marble fireplace, Tuesdays in the beautiful den, Wednesdays outside by the fire, Thursdays at the dining room table marveling at the cheery blue walls, Fridays in this perfect and very cozy nook, Saturdays on the back patio, and Sundays sitting at the bar on the kitchen peninsula. I think I could live with that.
Before you wrap yourself in a blanky and grab a good book, have a look at the master bathroom:
Darn it, it looks like I now have to add this inviting tub to my list of places to curl up with a good book in the evening…. Okay, so maybe I’ll alternate Sundays with the kitchen peninsula or switch that with the formal living room or … well, I don’t know. There are too many choices and I’m all confused again.
While I ponder my options, you can check out the exterior of the Troup-Barnes house, where you’ll find plenty more drama along the master bedroom patio with these diagonally lined acrylic panels designed by the uber talented Klint Schor:
At night, LED lights illuminate the panels, enhancing the peaceful and elegant vibe of the home.
Yes, this home is absolute perfection and a true oasis in the heart of the bustling city. I love every single inch of the place and hope it will find a new owner who agrees. Marie Troup and Cara and Robert Barnes’ creation is on the market for $1,499,000, which is pretty reasonable for fashionable Nichols Hills. If you’re interested in touring this mid-century marvel, realtor Kerry Norman will be happy to schedule a showing — just give her a call at 848-4940.
In the meantime, it’s Friday so maybe you’ll find me reading a good book in that delicious bedroom nook — oh the bliss!