amer­i­can beauty

Di Zock teamed up with her best friend to cre­ate a Venice Beach cot­tage that is per­fect for al­fresco liv­ing

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENT - Fea­ture Jane Bowles | Pho­tog­ra­phy John ellis/liv­ing in­side

One owner put zingy shades and bold pat­terns to good use in her cosy Cal­i­for­nian cot­tage

Di Zock was liv­ing and working near Venice Beach in Los An­ge­les and had no in­ten­tion of mov­ing house when her best friend Jonathan King called to tell her about a cot­tage that that he had heard would be com­ing on to the market. ‘He felt it was too good an op­por­tu­nity to miss and asked if I’d like to work on the project with him,’ says Di. ‘ We agreed that he’d buy the cot­tage, we’d ren­o­vate it to­gether, and then I’d rent it back from him. Since the in­te­rior needed com­plete re­mod­elling, we also en­listed the help of our mu­tual friend, ar­chi­tect Tom Car­son.’

The three friends agreed that the main pri­or­ity was to re­con­fig­ure the lay­out, to make the rooms feel lighter and more spa­cious, and to im­prove ac­cess to the gar­den – a must-have for Di, who is a land­scape ar­chi­tect by pro­fes­sion. ‘There were lots of small rooms, only one bath­room and a dark, en­closed stor­age room at the back,’ says Di. ‘Al­though we re­tained the orig­i­nal foot­print, the in­te­rior was stripped right back to the bare stud walls.’

The main bed­room was en­larged by knock­ing out the wall to the stor­age room, and French doors lead­ing to the gar­den were in­stalled. ‘This made a big dif­fer­ence, as ac­cess to the gar­den was pre­vi­ously so lim­ited,’ says Di. ‘ We also raised the height of the ceil­ings and in­stalled sky­lights. This changed the feel of the house dra­mat­i­cally, mak­ing it more open and light, and more con­nected to the out­doors.’ Di opted to re­design the gar­den her­self, as she wanted to cre­ate a set of out­door ‘rooms’. ‘I’m con­tin­u­ally

in­spired by Cal­i­for­nia’s in­cred­i­ble land­scape and knew I wanted to use all of my favourite plants,’ she says.

Di’s friend and neigh­bour Mox Moeschler was en­gaged to carry out the build­ing work, which took nine months. With the struc­tural works com­plete, it was time to de­sign the decor. Di chose a blue-toned pal­ette, with ce­ram­ics, up­hol­stery and soft fur­nish­ings in shades rang­ing from deep­est lapis through to cerulean and teal. ‘I’ve al­ways gone through phases where I’m very much into a colour and can’t seem to cre­ate schemes that don’t in­volve us­ing that colour at the time,’ she says. ‘ While we were working here, I was go­ing through a blue phase!’

Her pas­sion for blue in all its var­i­ous shades aside, the cot­tage is the per­fect show­case for Di’s eclec­tic tastes. ‘I tend to pre­fer more con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture, but the in­te­rior of this cot­tage is a blend of im­pro­vi­sa­tion and gifts from fam­ily, mixed with a bit of thrift stor­ing,’ she says. Her fa­ther built two low side ta­bles for her, and her mother con­tributed a mo­saic-topped table fea­tur­ing a rooster de­sign. ‘I love it be­cause it’s so beau­ti­ful, whim­si­cal and stylish, and be­cause she cre­ated it,’ says Di.

Di then fo­cused on the gar­den. ‘The great thing about liv­ing in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia is the amaz­ing cli­mate, and I wanted to make the most of that,’ she says. ‘I’ve cre­ated a sight-line that runs through all the out­door rooms by us­ing the same blue en­caus­tic tiles and a sim­i­lar colour pal­ette for the gar­den fur­ni­ture. When the sun goes down, it’s the per­fect space for out­door en­ter­tain­ing.’

dec­o­rat­ing tip‘ Keep things per­sonal–my favourite homes feel like they are a re­flec­tion of the owner’

main bed­room Flo­ral bed­ding and green ac­cents add to the rest­ful feel. The Oliver metal bed frame has the same look, £549, Feather & Black. Gabrielle bed­ding, £59, Marks & Spencer, would work well here

Gue s t bath­room moroc­can-style tiling makes a state­ment in this com­pact bath­room for vis­i­tors. Scin­tilla Sap­phire tiles, £29.95sq m, Walls and Floors, would also work well here. Odensvik/ Hemnes van­ity unit, £250, Ikea, is sim­i­lar. Blue bird bone in­lay mir­ror, £255, Iris Fur­nish­ing, has the look of this one

Gar­den White­washed walls and large suc­cu­lent plants cre­ate a Mediter­ranean feel. Har­men out­door wooden table, £244, and bench, £148, Rowen & Wren.com, are sim­i­lar. An­tibes Green chalk paint, £19.95 for 1L, An­nie Sloan, would also work well as a wall colour here. Gar­den de­sign by Di Zock De­sign, price on ap­pli­ca­tion

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