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STYLE / HOME RENOVATION : Half-Past, Half-Present

June 07, 1992|BARBARA THORNBURG

With the cost of new construction starting at about $100 a square foot and soaring to $250 on Los Angeles' West Side, many Southern Californians are keeping their existing homes and adding on only the space they need. Retaining the "footprint" of the house saves money, while not worrying about old matching new guarantees some unique architectural hybrids amid an already eclectic mix. Here are five home expansions, plus the hows and whys of choosing a partial renovation over a total redo.

Although this 1921 Pacific Palisades bungalow retains its basic clapboard shell, unseen improvements include a new foundation, new plumbing, new electrical and new forced-air heating. To the tiny one-bedroom, one-bath beach cottage, Venice architectural designer Charles Ward also added a 350-square-foot master bedroom with 10-foot-high ceilings, plus a children's closet along the side of the house. Steel-frame, acid-washed doors, used in the bedroom addition as well as the renovated main entry, tie in the new with the old.

Owner Tony Skvarla wanted "an artist's loft feeling of high, open spaces with lots of light." To that end, Ward eliminated the wall between the living room and kitchen, raised the kitchen ceiling to 11 feet and installed two skylights. He preserved the brick facade of the fireplace, rebuilding the chamber and adding a new cement plinth; outside, a shiny stainless-steel flue presides over a galvanized tin roof. In replacing all of the windows and doors, Ward recycled the original frames: "We wanted to create a feeling of spaciousness as well as save every piece of the past we could."

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