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Home & Garden: This Scandifornia-Style Highland Park Renovation Makes the Case for Flipping

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Real estate flippers tend to get a bad rap. Those who purchase properties, update them cheaply, and then resell for a significant profit might actually deserve their dishonorable reputations. But others, like Los Angeles–based agency Modus Collaborative Development, invest in distressed homes and perform assiduous renovations before putting them back on the market. They shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest.

BEFORE: The original ADU had been illegally constructed on a patio slab, so Edgar and Tim needed to apply for a permit and rebuild most of it. © Architectural Digest BEFORE: The original ADU had been illegally constructed on a patio slab, so Edgar and Tim needed to apply for a permit and rebuild most of it. AFTER: A fresh, modern façade adds curb appeal. © Here and Now Agency AFTER: A fresh, modern façade adds curb appeal.

The proof? Modus cofounders Tim Cheng and Edgar Bové Guerra recently transformed a small 1921 Highland Park house into a Scandifornia-style oasis. They gutted the century-old abode, which had already been stripped of any original details by previous owners, and added 1,000 square feet of living space with a new primary suite, an expansive roof deck, and a fully-functional ADU.

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Before the duo could focus on the fun parts though, they had to address structural issues like a sinking corner and rotting wood. They retrofitted the foundation to bring it up to code and replaced all the decayed timber. “We ended up having to rebuild a large portion of the house, as a result,” Edgar reveals.

BEFORE: Low ceilings and worn tile plagued the house before. © Architectural Digest BEFORE: Low ceilings and worn tile plagued the house before. AFTER: A local cabinetmaker is behind all the custom-crafted white oak millwork. © Here and Now Agency AFTER: A local cabinetmaker is behind all the custom-crafted white oak millwork.

The Modus men then re-stuccoed the cracked, moisture-damaged exterior with a smoother finish and removed the roof overhang for a cleaner, more contemporary façade. “It actually cuts out natural light and creates a shadow,” Tim says. “So, to modernize a project, we try to take out the awning.”

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Inside, the team prioritized natural materials with Italian marble surfaces and an abundance of European white oak. From the engineered hardwood flooring and slatted walls to custom cabinets, shelves, and doors, the wood species is everywhere. “The white oak was the right thing to do,” Edgar says. “We wanted very warm and bright tones, which is why we went with a very light-colored stone.”

BEFORE: Every finish was outdated. © Architectural Digest BEFORE: Every finish was outdated. AFTER: Arches soften the entry and dining areas. © Here and Now Agency AFTER: Arches soften the entry and dining areas.

To add a sense of airiness, Tim and Edgar vaulted the once-low ceilings and opened up the layout in the kitchen and living areas. They then softened the interior by creating arched entryways throughout and incorporated a bevy of skylights to let the sun illuminate nearly every room from above.

Once the overhaul was complete, designer Francesca Grace came in to stage the home. As a local, she knew how to customize the decor for prospective buyers. “Living on the east side, I understand the demographic really well,” she says. “It’s a very creative place. The house is ideal for somebody in the entertainment industry, or an artist, who believes in natural elements and appreciates unique architecture, without playing that bohemian card too hard.”

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AFTER: “I always like to create a little bit of a transitional space between exterior and interior, which is why we designed this foyer with a change of material on the floor,” Edgar explains. “We went with a herringbone terra-cotta brick.” © Here and Now Agency AFTER: “I always like to create a little bit of a transitional space between exterior and interior, which is why we designed this foyer with a change of material on the floor,” Edgar explains. “We went with a herringbone terra-cotta brick.”

Francesca catered to this profile with an earthy palette, playful shapes, and must-feel textures. Many of the artworks, like the woman-underwater photograph in the terra-cotta tile foyer, are sourced from Absolut Art. “It’s an awesome company,” Francesca says. “They carry really beautiful art and nothing is manufactured. They’re original, which is really, really great.”

AFTER: “It’s kind of that elevated look that you would imagine is not possible in Highland park,” Francesca says. © Here and Now Agency AFTER: “It’s kind of that elevated look that you would imagine is not possible in Highland park,” Francesca says.

In the living room, a sculptural custom swoop chair is paired with a chocolatey charcoal faux mohair sofa and a ribbed mango wood coffee table that nods to the battens in the kitchen. “I wanted it to be super interesting and stand out, but also help form that imagination for the new homeowner, that they could actually use the space and live in it and be comfortable,” Francesca says.

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The walnut-hue ash dining table, which intentionally fits six Pierre Jeanneret–inspired chairs for entertaining or accommodating a family, was a risky choice. “I was actually terrified to use a darker wood at first,” Francesca admits. “I tried to balance it out with accessories, and I thought that it would be nice to have that live edge.”

AFTER: “The nightstands are vintage, the rug is bohemian, and the bed frame is Art Deco,” Francesca describes. “I just love to mix elements.” © Here and Now Agency AFTER: “The nightstands are vintage, the rug is bohemian, and the bed frame is Art Deco,” Francesca describes. “I just love to mix elements.” AFTER: “We went with Italian Carrara stone,” Edgar says. “We bought five slabs and had enough where we could actually utilize them for our bathroom vanities.” © Here and Now Agency AFTER: “We went with Italian Carrara stone,” Edgar says. “We bought five slabs and had enough where we could actually utilize them for our bathroom vanities.”

Francesca curated three distinct bedrooms, each with its own story. The primary suite is a neutral retreat designed for relaxation, while the guest chamber packs an eclectic punch with an Art Deco iron bed frame and a chartreuse velvet quilt. Whimsical, cloud-shaped headboards define the twin room, which welcomes children to the home.

AFTER: The ADU is intentionally outfitted with edgier decor for contrast. © Here and Now Agency AFTER: The ADU is intentionally outfitted with edgier decor for contrast.

The cool ADU is a departure from the warm main building. Its concrete floors and matte black hardware are complemented by funky pieces like a custom blue sofa, a round dining table with a rope base, and pleated Oscar Piccolo lamps. “I didn’t want to mimic what we did with the front in the back,” Francesca says. “It felt more youthful and industrial, so bringing in more pops of color and an edgier selection of furniture was really key.”

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AFTER: String lights enhance the magical dinner party setup. © Here and Now Agency AFTER: String lights enhance the magical dinner party setup.

A trio of outdoor zones complete the compelling listing, from a patio dining setup that promises al fresco meals to a dreamy rooftop with mountain views and bean bag chairs. The yard boasts a galvanized steel dipping pool, a fire pit, and pink-and-white striped loungers that evoke The Beverly Hills Hotel’s iconic Golden Age glamor. Of course, offers poured right in.

AFTER: A backyard oasis awaits. © Here and Now Agency AFTER: A backyard oasis awaits.
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Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network will go back to airing 'Home Work' only days after pulling the show over allegations of ruined homes .
The network says Andy and Candis Merediths didn't have "ill or malicious intent" after some homeowners alleged the couple's renovations caused damage.The decision comes just days after "Home Work" was pulled from the lineup following allegations from multiple homeowners who said that the Merediths had damaged their homes in some cases and gone over renovation budgets by tens of thousands of dollars while filming the series.

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