Back in 2016, after 17 years spent living and working in New York, real estate agent/hospitality developer Brian McGrory and his partner James Houston — an Australian designer and photographer — decided to leave the frigid East Coast winters behind. The pair “love a project and restoring things back to their original beauty, but a little better,” and so they settled out West on a romantic 1920s Spanish Colonial residence in dire need of some TLC. Records show they doled out just over $2 million for the stucco-clad, turreted diamond in the rough, which is tucked into the lovely hills of Los Feliz.
“The house had amazing bones when we purchased it, but the layout was all wrong,” says McGrory. “The kitchen was half the size, with a bedroom and bathroom in the back, obviously for the maid’s quarters. The scale did not make sense and was not functional for a house this size. Additionally, the back was just concrete with a three-car garage — now the pool and guesthouse. Lastly, the main fireplace in the living room was decorative and the house was stucco with that awful bumpy rough finish.”
The duo — owners of Studio JB Design, which specializes in real estate design and development — embarked on a 2.5 year restoration project that included smoothing the home’s stucco exterior and adding a tiled rotunda roof to the entry tower. Some five years later, they’re leaving the meticulously revamped home, originally built in 1925, and returning it to the market with a nearly $5.7 million ask.
The result of their efforts encompasses 4,000-plus square feet of stylish living space. Spread across two levels, there are modern amenities mixed with Spanish-inspired touches gleaned from a trip to Morocco. The place also lends itself to an indoor/outdoor lifestyle, replete with sliding glass doors that flow out to a spacious courtyard and a wooden deck shaded by 80-year-old olive trees craned in by the owners.