It was designer Elspeth Benoit’s decorative painters, Lisa Donohue and Brynn Gelbard of Londubh Studio, who first dubbed her 2,162-square-foot Los Angeles home “mid-century nautical.” “It felt very fitting,” says Benoit. “It always looked like a ship from the outside.” Small porthole windows line the front of the house—a detail that added charm, for sure, but also posed a need to renovate: Benoit wanted to be able to see her kids when they were playing outside. Plus introducing some more light into the circa-1940 post-and-beam structure couldn’t hurt.
For the first two years of living there, Benoit didn’t touch the bones (she just painted a few features white to make it livable for the time being). And when it did come time to change things up, she left the good stuff, like the tongue-and-groove paneling in the dining room and the exposed ceiling joists. “We wanted to honor the house that exists and all the people who lived there before and loved it for the same reasons,” says Benoit. Tonal green checkered floors (that’s where Gelbard and Donohue came in with Farrow & Ball’s Calke Green and Folly Green), oversize skylights, and stained-glass windows were welcome additions that blended right in.