Designer Brady Tolbert transforms an LA Mid-century into his dream home 

Navigating the competitive LA housing market to land a canyonside escape was a feat, but this designer is just getting started remaking his neglected-but-stunning Mid-century gem into a dream home for him and his partner!

A man arranges books on a coffee table next to a white couch in a living room that has floor-to-ceiling picture windows with white oak frames.

After more than two years, seven offers, and hundreds of home tours, Brady Tolbert and his partner, Jason Haro could hardly believe it when they finally got to move into their home. As someone who spends his days helping other people style and design their spaces, it was truly a dream come true for Tolbert who is a designer, prop stylist, and the Creative Director for Bobby Berk. Now, Tolbert’s transforming the space to make it fit their lifestyle, reflect their tastes, and welcome in their family and friends — step inside the treehouse.

"I wanted something that had character, quirk, charm. And this house ... it had all of that — it just needed a lot of love,” Tolbert said.

Finding “the one”

“When my boyfriend first walked in, he said, ‘this is the one’” Tolbert recounted. “But he’d said that about every single house that we walked into” so Tolbert was determined to remain a little more circumspect — that is until he saw the living room. Floor-to-ceiling windows stretch across the front of the space and wrap around a corner reaching up toward the double-height ceiling to frame views of the canyon outside and LA’s year-round greenery. After that, it didn’t take long for the couple to agree this house had all the unique qualities they were searching for — it was meant for them.

Letting in the light

Built in 1958, the couple were fortunate to buy the Mid-century Modern home from the original owners who had left its features largely intact. This meant Tolbert had great bones to work with. The three-bedroom, two-bath home backs into a steep hillside with lots of mature trees, giant aloe plants, and cacti outside. On the inside, it’s endowed with large windows, a dramatic staircase, and an open floor plan. Still, there was a problem. The beamed ceiling in the living room — that stunning space that had convinced them of the home’s potential — made it feel dark and closed off.

A living room with dark wood beamed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around a corner.

The dark tone of the beamed ceiling was striking but it made the space gloomy and the old slatted (jalousie) windows near the ground were inefficient and needed to go.

To brighten things up, Tolbert chose to paint the ceiling white. In fact, he didn’t stop there. Walls and floors were also brightened up with a coat of white and the room got a 16-foot-long sectional to match. Tolbert’s style is clean but it’s not sterile. He has a knack for mixing and matching pieces from different eras and integrating rich textures.

He selected E-Series windows with white oak frames to replace the original windows. The light tone of the frames warms up the space in a perfectly subtle way. “I wanted the windows to not only frame the beautiful view we have here but also disappear,” Tolbert said. Instead of wood trim, the windows were installed with a drywall return furthering the clean, modern look.

Replacing the windows also offered the opportunity to improve functionality, as they were able to remove the old jalousie windows — windows made of horizontal slats of glass that louver open — that were formerly installed underneath the original picture windows. With the new dual-pane E-Series Picture Windows, the home is much more energy-efficient.

An interior shot of a living room with white oak window frames.

With all the greenery outside and sunlight pouring in, the space has been transformed. The white oak framed E-Series windows warm the space and frame the view all without attracting too much attention.

Taking it one step at a time

Although the home has already been transformed in many ways, Tolbert is not done yet. “There’s something magic about owning your own home,” Tolbert said. “I get excited to wake up here, I get excited to do projects here, and I get excited to live my life here. I think there’s no better feeling in the world.”

Next on the list is a full kitchen update for his partner, Haro who is a personal chef and of course, an avid home cook too. We’ll be sharing more updates as these two shape the treehouse into their dream house — stay tuned!

Left photo shows a living room space with a man walking down a dramatic staircase while right photo shows a man in a kitchen arranging a vase of flowers that are sitting on a wooden table.

While Tolbert has already made big changes, including replacing the living room and dining room windows, there’s a lot more in store for his home.