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Dale Baldwin

Wife Designs, Spouse Oversees Renovations

January 18, 1987|Dale Baldwin

Architectural designer Tanya Morgan Rosenberg finds it difficult--if not impossible--to avoid talking about anything but remodeling with her husband Brad.

The reason is simple: He's a contractor--a partner with contractor Craig Bennett in Cassa Inc.--and often supervises the realization of Tanya's drawings and renderings. If it sounds like a proposal for a new television situation comedy, that's the way things often work out on the trendy Westside where the Rosenbergs live and work.

Tanya Rosenberg understands the trauma of remodeling because she and Brad and their three dogs lived in a 144-square-foot room during the extensive remodeling of their Mandeville Canyon house.

"Both Brad and I wanted to live through the emotional experience a massive remodel creates," she explained at a job in progress in Brentwood. The Rosenbergs are nearly doubling the size of a New England-style house (from 3,300 to 6,000 square feet) on a quiet street just north of San Vicente Boulevard.

The Colonial-style house was built in the 1940s for a Connecticut sea captain, she added. The remodeling job is scheduled for completion this spring at a cost of more than $600,000, she added. The owners of the house are not following the lead of the Rosenbergs: They're living in another house in Santa Monica.

Why not tear down the existing house and build a new one?

"It would cost $200,000 more and the property taxes--thanks to Proposition 13--would be much higher," Brad Rosenberg explained. "Rules vary depending on the community involved, but an extensive remodeling job like this always results in lower property taxes than a tear-down followed by construction of a new house."

When the job is completed, it will look like a new house; the added rooms will be thoroughly integrated into the original design, Tanya Rosenberg said.

After 2,000 square feet of the original house was demolished, work began on a large master bedroom/bath suite, a new kitchen, a breakfast nook, a living room alcove, a family room, maid's quarters, a new garage and a cabana.

Because of what Tanya calls "demolition depression" it's probably just as well that the clients haven't attempted to live in the Brentwood house.

"It's depressing to many people because they bought the house because they loved it and now workers are crawling over it, taking it apart bit by bit," she said.

The depression invariably ends when the framing for the new elements of the house goes up, she added. The electrical, rough plumbing and finish work is vital, but the framing signals to the client that all is well.

A few months ago, Tanya and Brad became parents. Their daughter's name is Morgan and I wouldn't bet against her becoming a home renovation specialist sometime in the early 21st century.

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