Images by Elizabeth Cara
In a quiet pocket of Bel Air, artist and designer Christa Martin (@christamartinstudio) and her husband, TV executive Geoff Katz have given new life to a very special, mid-century home. The house was designed by architect, Bill Mack and sits on a slope in the Santa Monica mountains with hillside views and a pool. After 3 months of intense renovations, their home is now a retreat - it is a place for Christa to practice her art, and also provides ample space for their two rescue dogs, Agnes & Chloe.
"Our little house was in disrepair when we bought it one year ago. It featured a leaky roof, leaky plumbing, leaking gas lines and outdated wiring. It did have lovely architecture, lots of windows with natural light and an amazing old rubber tree next to the front door -- Geoff and I had to have it. We closed on a Thursday night and the following Monday, work began. I did all the design work and hired contractors to get it done in 3 months. We painted all the walls Simply White inside and out. We sanded the ceilings and left them raw. The wood trim was sanded and sealed. We removed the old flooring and had the concrete slab polished and sealed. I replaced the varying light fixtures and ceiling fans with the white globe lights spaced evenly throughout the house. I moved all the closets and changed the location of doors, the washer and dryer, and the master bath, which dramatically improved the open feeling of the house. The old kitchen was not usable. I redesigned the space and opened it up as well. I used Ikea cabinets and had them wrapped with walnut plywood to give the kitchen a more handmade feel. Both bathrooms also needed to be redone. I chose penny tile floors and white tile walls." The dining table was custom built for a photographer and features a safety glass top. The dining chairs are vintage from an AirForce base "they were designed to withstand a nuclear blast."
"We like leather seating because it lasts and gets more beautiful as it ages, plus we have pets that shed and leather is easier to clean. The Eames lounge and ottoman were a reward my husband purchased when he received a bonus from work. The sofa is the Fulham from RH. Two people can lie on it to watch a movie, and when we entertain, people can sit on the back and arms as well as the seat. The leather daybed is from CB2. Both sofa and daybed are very good for napping."
Vintage blow-light pear.
"We tend to buy furniture that we love and move it from house to house. The only new piece we bought for this house is the BluDot credenza across from the fireplace. The black cube end table was an impulse buy from a store in Berkeley called The Gardener. I just loved the sculptural quality. It looks great after spending a few years outdoors developing patina."
"The home itself has a simple palette of natural wood, cement and white paint with ocean blue accents. It is inspired by the agaves, aloes, oaks and sandstone that surrounds the property. The blue colour on the tile and doors is like the ocean - it shifts from blue to gray to green depending on the light. I use the same colours in my paintings. Earth tones, umber, sepia, ultramarine and Indian yellow."
The home itself has a simple palette of natural wood, cement and white paint with ocean blue accents. It is inspired by the agaves, aloes, oaks and sandstone that surrounds the property. The blue colour on the tile and doors is like the ocean - it shifts from blue to gray to green depending on the light.
"When in school I studied graphic design because I needed to support myself. But I've always been an artist at heart, and have painted and sculpted on the side. My work is an expression of the miracles of our natural world, the beauty of individuals and how we are connected. For the last two years I have studied figure sculpture with a master. I plan to prep my work for showing later this summer."
"My studio table was built for me by a friend out of plywood and plumbing pipe. I designed it to have a shelf for materials below the work surface. I have a couple interior design projects and I am making molds for a series of portrait sculptures. I'm also drawing plans to build a house in the desert."
"The Eames rocker in the bedroom was a limited edition color called Ghost. I'd wanted a rocker for years and when I saw this colour, I snagged it."
Christa's bedroom featuring our duvet & pillow slips in moss + flat and fitted sheets in stone
"We have two dogs, both are 6. Agnes (white chihuahua/terrier) and Chloe (red dachshund/papillon). Agnes is mine, Chloe is Geoff's. Both are rescues. I adopted Agnes from the Oakland Animal Shelter 6 years ago. She keeps me company when I'm working alone, and I talk to her quite a bit. She loves Brian Eno and has a sweet tooth. She's a reserved and thoughtful little being. Chloe is more outgoing and athletic and if you ignore her, she will bark at you until she gets her ears scratched. We've only had her for about a year. They get along very well."
She loves Brian Eno and has a sweet tooth.