Featuring English and European antiques and Elizabethan-style architecture that create timeless beauty
In a renovation, the old saw "measure twice, cut once" still proves sharp. For Los Angeles interior designer Norm Wogan, these are words to live by. His goal in revamping his 1926 Tudor Revival home in an Old World style was a redo that would be the house's first and its last; a Tudor that is as toothsome as it is timeless.
"I love English and European antiques and an Old World feeling," Norm says. "When this style is done correctly the first time, it's timeless. You never have to redo the design except to update it with paint."
So instead of fighting the house's aging architecture by trying to modernize it or morph it into the popular French or Italian style, Norm embraced its English essence. He retained the exposed wood beams in the living room--a signature of Elizabethan-era architecture repeated in Tudor Revivals. Those beams connect the interior to the Tudor style of the half-timbered exterior. But he avoided a purist's heavy hand. Instead of slathering on floor-to-ceiling English paneling (dark often equals dank, at least in our minds), he took the liberty of lightening up spaces.
"The living room was a little dark, so I added two French doors. That also improved the layout, which was a little strange." The plastered walls, still in good shape, needed only a color change. "I kept the old plaster and painted it a burnished gold, and I waxed the original ceiling beams to add luster," Norm explains. He left the original red brick fireplace simple and mounted a faux trophy (carved wood, from Holland) above it to suggest an English hunting lodge. His choice of the living room's new iron chandelier and antique English sconces also underscores the spirit, if not the letter, of Tudor style. Seating, too--camelback and tufted sofas and wing chairs--evokes an earlier English period.
The warm wall color continues to the entry and the stairwell, creating a rich, sunny first impression. "I'm not afraid to use color," says Norm. "I like the coziness and warmth that it brings--especially when it's nice jewel tones. It's easy to use white, but I'm for branching out past the whiteness and adding some color to our houses."
For transition, he brought the burnished gold from the living room into the dining room below the chair rail. Then he softened the space by painting the upper walls teal. Puddling teal draperies and glossy teal millwork ensure that the cool hue dominates, giving the room an identity distinct from the adjoining spaces. "When I bought the house, these walls were white," the designer notes. The dining room's revamp, in fact, really entailed nothing more than new paint.
To counterbalance the room's soft palette, Norm selected furniture that captures Tudor style's substantive character. Early-1900s English chairs still wearing their original leather and nailheads join a robust Spanish Colonial table; a grandfather clock is detailed with a classic English barley twist motif.
Barley twists reappear in the master bedroom, as foot posters supporting the canopy of the tester bed. The bed, replete with a wood-paneled headboard and sconces, is quintessentially English."The entire bedroom is new," says Norm. "It had been two weird areas with different ceiling heights. I ripped the whole thing out, vaulted the ceiling, and added French doors to overlook the pool." He also built tall cabinets into niches on either side of the bed. "I used every inch of this house for something," assures the designer. He increased the Old World ambience with an antique French stone fireplace and an early-1900s French alabaster-and-iron chandelier. "I love my bedroom," he enthuses. "I find it very European and romantic--so no TV!"
The other interior area to receive a total makeover was the kitchen. A beautiful old Belgian black stone floor contrasts with new pale Venetian plaster walls. "I bought the stone flooring at the same time I bought the house, knowing I would be able to use it," recalls Norm.
An airy look prevails despite the black floor, thanks to his opening up the room with two pairs of transomed French doors. "I pushed out the bay. The doors, which are made of leaded 'restoration glass' that looks old, bring in light from two different directions," he observes.
For cabinetry, Norm chose white-painted wood topped with a dark brown wash. These project a depth that looks right at home with antique building materials and accessories. Like the French doors, the upper cabinets feature new wavy leaded glass, which continues the light look. All hardware is from London, and the iron lantern above the breakfast table--a stunningly oversized focal point--is an English antique. Only the commercial Wolf range--completely revamped--is original to the room.
"As much as it may look like a designer's showcase, everything is durable and comfortable," the designer reflects. "When I have friends over, they never want to leave because they're so comfortable. I use the fireplace all the time, and guests instantly feel at home. The beauty of living here is that you don't feel like you're in L.A. at all."
Who knew a Tudor could feel so good--or reign so long?
Interior design: Norm Wogan, TempleHome, P.O. Box 292269, Los Angeles, CA 90029; 323/662-2220, templehome.net.
Photography: Werner Straube
Produced by Robert Young
Homeowner Norm Wogan ushered in light and improved proportions by adding leaded-glass French doors. Draperies at the doors add lushness with fabric from S. Harris. An Oushak rug and wing chairs in distressed Old World Weavers velvet increase coziness. A Biedermeier box is centered on a 19th-century English round table.
Sofa: Cosmos Upholstery, 310/271-1280.
Sofa fabric ("Kinskey"/Azure #5750, discontinued): Pindler & Pindler, 310/289-0200, pindler.com.
Trim on sofa pillows: West Coast Trimming, 323/587-0701.
Bolster pillow on sofa: Melissa Levinson Antiques, 323/936-1530.
End table to right of sofa: Dispela Antiques, 323/934-9939, dispelaantiques.com.
End table to left of sofa; yellow table lamp; wooden candleholder: owner's collection.
Console behind sofa (custom): TempleHome, 323/662-2220, templehome.net.
Lamp on console; bells on console; mirror; coffee table: owner's collection.
Lion on console (Cotswold Stone): Cavendish Grey, 323/653-2230, cavendishgrey.com.
Hurricanes: Paul Ferrante, 310/854-4412.
Box on coffee table: Lief Antiques, 310/492-0033.
Area rug: Aga John Oriental Rugs, 310/657-0890, agajohncarpets.com.
Chandelier: Ferro, 323/651-3107.
Wall paint ("Toasted Marshmallow" #DE6165): Dunn-Edwards Paint Corp., 888/337-2468.
Drapery ("Sashay"/Peacock, discontinued): Fabricut, 800/999-8200, fabricut.com.
Sheers ("Corvus"/Bronze #7579, discontinued): Pindler & Pindler, 310/289-0200, pindler.com.
Settee: Lief Antiques, 310/492-0033.
Settee fabric ("Duguesclin/Vert #N1-0056-9945): Old World Weavers/Stark Fabrics, 310/657-8275.
Pillow on settee; table between settee and chair; table lamp: owner's collection.
Chair between sofa and settee (antique): Blackman Cruz, 323/466-8600, blackmancruz.com.
Chair fabric (wool): Mimi London, 310/855-2567, mimilondon.com. Sconce above end table: Dispela Antiques, 323/934-9939, dispelaantiques.com.
The living room prior to renovation.
Doors on the 1780 Venetian armoire are hand-painted.
Armoire: Lief Antiques, 310/492-0033.
Bolster pillow on chair: Melissa Levinson Antiques, 323/936-1530.
The art glass vase is an antique.
The Tudor-style facade inspired the interior's redo.
Only the original Wolf range remains, and even that was recalibrated and repainted. The lantern is early-19th-century English; the island is an old American shop bench that Norm cut down and fitted with casters.
Cabinetry (custom); oven hood (custom): TempleHome, 323/662-2220.
Cabinetry hardware: European Hardware & Finishes, 800/643-7237, gerber-hinge.com.
Range (vintage, commercial, by Wolf): original to house, refurbished and recalibrated.
Countertop (Quartzite/Grey): Marble Unlimited, 818/988-0100.
Backsplash (English Crackle Tile); flooring (antique, black Belgian paving stone): Exquisite Surfaces, 310/659-4580, xsurfaces.com.
Walls (Venetian plaster, by John Denniston): Denniston Color Design, 818/359-3593, dennistoncolordesign.com.
Work table (workshop bench): Olde Good Things, 213/746-8600.
Breakfast Area Table (custom); chairs (custom): TempleHome, 323/662-2220.
Chair-seat cushions ("Andalusia"/Granite #1024): Pindler & Pindler, 310/289-0200, pindler.com.
Lantern over breakfast table (antique): Nathan Turner, 310/275-1209, nathanturner.com.
Candle sconce: owner's collection.
The kitchen prior to renovation.
Outdoor improvements behind the house are every bit as impressive and personal as those made inside. When Norm spotted an old stone lion's head salvaged from a building in New York, he re-imagined it taking center stage as a fountain for his new swimming pool. He had it inset in the middle of a new high stone wall made of antique French pavers at one end of the pool. "I wanted a European stone wall fountain effect that disappeared into the water."
New steps on either side of the wall lead down to the pool from the verdant tree-shaded lawn above. This results in a formal symmetry that completely transforms the outdoor environment.
"I created the double staircase for a little more drama," says Norm modestly. But there was nothing easy about it. "In the end, it took three 25-foot steel caissons to support the wall and pool structure. Antique Belgian pool tiles were the frosting." Comfy cushioned chairs pull up to a two-tiered table at the opposite end of the pool. The final look is classic, timeless.
Two-tiered table: Ironies, 510/644-2100, ironies.com.
Chairs: owner's collection.
Fabric: Perennials Outdoor Fabrics, perennialsfabrics.com.
Stone work (Bluestone Pavers): Bourget Brothers, 310/450-6556.
Stone steps: French Architectural Antiques, Lebert Antiques, 310/986-1110, lebertusa.com.
The patio prior to renovation.
An antique chandelier gleams in the repainted dining room.
Table; side chairs; chandelier: owner's collection.
Armchair: Dispela Antiques, 323/934-9939, dispelaantiques.com.
Drapery ("Estelle"/Pine #2989023): Fabricut, 800/999-8200, fabricut.com.
Sheers ("Helios"/Gres #M71015-004, by Creations Metaphores): through Holly Hunt, 310/659-3776, hollyhunt.com.
Venetian plaster above chair rail (by John Denniston): Denniston Color Design, 818/359-3593, dennistoncolordesign.com.
Paint below chair rail ("Toasted Marshmallow" #DE6165): Dunn-Edwards Paint Corp., 888/337-2468.
Clock (antique, German): Kathleen Spiegelman, 310/273-2255.
Sconces flanking clock ("Argyle 1"/Antique Silver #1097A): 20th Century Lighting, 816/421-2125, 20thcenturylighting.com.
Flooring (oak): original.
In the master bedroom two disjointed areas were combined under a single vaulted ceiling.
Bed (antique, English oak): Elijah Slocum Inc., 310/280-9098, elijahslocum.com.
Sconces by bed: owner's collection.
Canopy sky fabric ("Marcia"/Merlot #8464): Pindler & Pindler,310/289-0200.
Euro shams and duvet ("Werther"/Ruby #AA-0052-5166); drapery and valance (discontinued): Old World Weavers/Stark Fabrics, 310/657-8275.
Pillows in front of shams: Melissa Levinson Antiques, 323/936-1530.
Throw: Versai Fine Linen, 310/289-8111.
Table at end of bed; area rug: owner's collection.
Bookcases (custom): TempleHome, 323/662-2220.
Sheers ("Opal Iridescence, Plain"/Cabernet #2100-02, by Bart Halpern): Donghia, 310/657-6060, donghia.com.
Chandelier: Dispela Antiques, 323/934-9939.
Mantel and overmantel (antique stone): Exquisite Surfaces, 310/659-4580, xsurfaces.com.
Walls (custom, Venetian plaster, by John Denniston): Denniston Color Design, 818/359-3593, dennistoncolordesign.com.
Sconces ("Francisco"/Oil Rubbed Bronze #1219): 20th Century Lighting, 816/421-2125.
The master bedroom prior to renovation.
Norm Wogan with his "love bug" Rottweiler (and also a good look at the salvaged stone lion's head that inspired the poolside fountain).