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Inside a Historic 1940s L.A. Abode: Dunn-Edwards Partners with Claire Thomas

Design Trends

Equal parts history nerd (she studied modern German and Russian history in college) and total food aficionado, Claire Thomas is a commercial director, the brains behind the food blog Kitchy Kitchen, the
Sweet Laurel Bakeshop and the podcast, A Time and A Plate, in which she explores a historic moment in food in each century, starting from the year 1000 all the way to today. Her most recent projects was renovating The Kitchy Cabin, her Big Bear weekend rental, and restoring a 1953 Mid-century Modern home in
Los Angeles.

Marking the corner of a quiet cul-de-sac in Los Angeles sets a gorgeous wooded property lovingly restored by Claire Thomas and her husband. Thomas, the founder and talent behind The Kitchy Kitchen and co-founder of Los Angeles’ Sweet Laurel Bakery, came upon this hidden gem of a home on the market last year.

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The prior homeowner had requested the new owner keep as much of the original design as possible, which Thomas was happy to do. “I fell in love with this home as soon as I saw it and knew I would keep to the original owner’s wishes.”

After purchasing the property, Thomas began the task of restoring the home to its glory, keeping as many of the Mid-century Ranch details as possible, including the drapery treatments, hardware and built-ins. And, when it came to selecting the color palette, she worked with the Dunn-Edwards colors to choose just the right hues to match the original palette. Check out the restoration!

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Living room and dining room. Fireplace and dining room built-in: DE5183 LIGHT CAROB

"I've renovated a few single-owner Mid-century homes before, and it's always a balance of respecting the past while adding modern comforts, but with this house, that was on an entirely other level. I walked in the house
and didn't want to change anything — it was like a perfect time capsule of 1953 Los Angeles. The wood-clad walls, hidden bar, room dividers, the chrome edged streamline kitchen — everything was so rooted in Danish modernism and Art Deco references from the late 40s rather than the atomic "Palm Springs" modern of the late 50s."

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Kitchen. Wall and ceiling: DEC734 JASMINE

"This was Jack and Marilyn's dream home, and it showed. They lived there for 65 years without changing anything other than the wallpaper.That's rare — usually someone gets bored and decides to make everything Southwestern or they tear out the kitchen and add some terribly clunky 90s monstrosity instead. Not in my time machine. I loved it so much I even kept the 65-year-old drapes. This was my first time having fun with color on the walls,rather than just with furniture and objects."

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"Mission Jewel is the perfect Mid-century green tone, and I used it in my master bedroom to connect it to the overgrown jungle plants on the patio through the window. It's a rich color, so I accented it with golden ochre hues and soft oatmeal to ground it."

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Master bedroom. Walls: DET539 Mission Jewel

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Guest room. Walls: Dunn-Edwards 2019 Color of the Year Spice of Life (DET439)

"I've played around with tile and wallpaper for color, but usually keep spaces minimalistic. With this Mid- century gem, I used the original paint colors as my jumping off point and researched the color palette of the era. Spice of Life, Dunn Edward's color of the year, is straight from 1948. Its richness is incredibly layered and dances between a leathery cognac and a rich whiskey-hued red. “Cover Girl” and “Down To Earth,” two Rita Hayworth musicals I adore, have this rich ruddy tone combined with emerald green or poodle pink in their costumes and set design. I used these combinations as specific inspiration, and added pink drapes, a pink bed and pink bedding against Spice of Life on the walls. I love the combination — it's elegant but still fun."

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So what does this year look like for Claire? Incredibly busy and exciting! "So many fun things! Getting the cabin ready for renters, working on the next Sweet Laurel cookbook, and I signed with a new production company, Community Films, so I'm excited about directing new projects this year."

To learn more, visit

All photography by Bethany Nauert Photography