bungalow house
Photo: Ray Kachatorian

Translating the Story

Every house has a story. Some homeowners are just better listeners than others. When Erin Donovan and Chris Long found their Venice, California, bungalow, they could almost hear its thin walls talk. Take me back to my salad days, it seemed to say, back when Venice and I were both new.

Situated within easy driving distance of Pasadena, a birthplace of the American Craftsman movement, the circa 1913 bungalow had "all the basics, like the original fireplace and mantel, floors, and built-ins," Erin recalls. But time and other people's taste had tamped down its spirit. The downstairs bath, for example, last renovated in the 1990s, had all the personality of a Motel 6.

The couple decided to roll back the years, aided by a general contractor with a name like something out of a Woody Allen movie and a commitment, as he puts it, "to make the house what it wants to be."
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