YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


East meets West in Toluca Lake

A major renovation to a 1946 ranch house blends Craftsman design with traditional Japanese style.

October 04, 2009|Darrell Satzman

When Deborah and David Kane set out to redesign the 2,400-square-foot midcentury ranch house they purchased in the late 1990s, they quickly exhausted most of their budget on grading and landscaping one side of the Toluca Lake property.

But instead of scaling back their structural and aesthetic expectations, the Kanes decided to readjust their budget. The result is a 4,000-square-foot home that melds Craftsman design with traditional Japanese style. Surrounded by manicured gardens, the home was designed to integrate indoor and outdoor living spaces.

The house bears little resemblance to the original 1946 structure. A small circular driveway is marked with large slabs of flagstone from Bouquet Reservoir.

A Japanese wood gate provides privacy, and a Zen meditation garden with a trickling fountain flows across a bamboo-lined and maple-shaded path to the double-door glass entrance.

The vaulted entry and gallery are framed with finely polished lodgepole pine and trimmed with Douglas fir, a material that is also used for much of the home's paneling and custom cabinetry.

Skylights provide natural light, which reflects warmly off white oak floors.

A vaulted gallery extends the depth of the house, helping to illuminate the now-open living room, family room and dining area ending at the open kitchen.

Recessed shoji screens cover Pella triple-glazed windows in several rooms, including a traditional Japanese tatami, or sitting, room off the kitchen. A low lacquered table sits in the center of the room.

For those who don't like to sit on the floor cross-legged, there is a built-in well under the table to accommodate dangling limbs.

A hallway extends past two bedrooms and a nursery to the master bedroom. The vaulted, sky-lit space includes a large walk-in closet and a roomy office loft accessible by a spiral staircase. Rectangular windows a few feet off the ground provide privacy and a view of the garden rather than the home next door.

A sitting room and master bathroom feature acid-stained, heated concrete floors. In addition to a steam shower with a bench, the master bath has a 300-gallon Japanese-style tub with scrub area. The sitting room and the master bathroom look out over a backyard garden and a small pool.


To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send high-resolution color photos with caption and credit information on a CD and a detailed description of the house to Lauren Beale, Business, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., CA 90012. Questions may be sent to



Tranquil oasis

Location: 4724 1/2 Forman Lane, Toluca Lake 91602

Asking price: $1,995,000

Previously sold for: $350,000 in 1998

Size: There are four bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms in 4,000 square feet. A guest cottage with a private entrance is roughly 400 square feet and has a kitchen and a three-quarter bathroom.

Lot size: Slightly more than a third of an acre

Additional features: Dynamic Cooking Systems range and stove, built-in 30,000 BTU wok burner, travertine counters, aggregate concrete floors, 250-plus bottle wine cellar, Douglas fir outdoor deck, two-car garage. The sculptured gardens are home to nine varieties of bamboo and are illuminated by hundreds of decorative lights.

Around the neighborhood: Through June, 37 single-family homes sold in the 91602 ZIP Code, according to MDA DataQuick, at a median price of $668,000. That was a 19.6% price drop from the first half of 2008. There were 77 homes listed for sale last week in 91602 at priced from $379,900 to $8.5 million.

Listing agent: Andrew J. Manning, Prudential California Realty, Sherman Oaks, (818) 528-3200



Home of the Week

Check out more photos of this and previous homes.

Los Angeles Times Articles