Photo: Zillow

Wabi-sabi is an ancient Japanese philosophy that embraces imperfection. When applied to interior design, it’s often expressed through raw building materials, handspun ceramics and vintage furniture. Whereas minimalism can sometimes read as cold and regimented, wabi-sabi is warm and unstructured.

When I came across the listing for 1104 Canyon Trail, a restored 1928 hunting lodge perched up high in the Santa Monica Mountains, the word ‘wabi-sabi’ was the first thing that came to mind. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is located in Topanga, a far-flung LA neighborhood the Los Angeles Times once referred to an “aging hippie.” 

Photo: Zillow

I was also 99.9 percent sure I’d seen this place on Instagram, and lo and behold, the 1,426-square-foot home is owned by architect Mason St. Peter and artist Serena Mitnik-Miller. They’re the creative force behind General Store, an impossibly cool home goods and apparel shop with locations in Venice Beach and San Francisco. With two little ones and a need for room to grow, the family has decided to take on a new renovation project in Malibu Canyon. 

Photo: Zillow

But back to Topanga, where my dream home awaits! With an on-trend charcoal gray exterior and a tiered, weathered wood deck, it’s a delightful mashup of old and new. The landscape is dotted with weeping trees, spiky succulents and natural stone boulders.

Photo: Zillow

The front door leads to an open-concept living space with a pitched roof, exposed rafters and light hardwood floors. The entire home is awash in white paint, which amplifies the natural light that floods in through clerestory windows. An original cast iron stove sits on a platform of terracotta tiles near the entryway, but the real focal point is the stone surround fireplace that’s teeming with potted plants.

Photo: Zillow

Photo: Zillow

The furniture — a mix of mid-century vintage and neutral, contemporary pieces — is perfectly staged, showcasing the airy and open floorplan while making it feel cabin-cozy.

Photo: Zillow

The dining area is visually separated by a built-in bookcase with open shelving and offers enough room for a large table.

Photo: Zillow

The U-shaped kitchen is a masterclass in high/low design, featuring unfinished plywood cabinets, marble countertops, an aged brass bridge faucet, and floating shelves crafted from sustainably-harvested Cypress. The breakfast bar is the perfect spot for laid-back entertaining or grabbing a quick bite to eat.

Photo: Zillow

Off the main living area is a sunny studio space that’s separated by a door and oversized awning windows. Non-artistic folks could use this as a sunroom, play area, or home office.

Photo: Zillow

The master bedroom is minimal and serene with nature views of the surrounding property. The closet is admittedly small, but there’s plenty of space on the opposite wall for a dresser.

Photo: Zillow

The secondary bedroom, which is currently being used as a nursery, has high ceilings and receives plenty of natural light. Kids can spread out on the floor with their toys or curl up with a book by the window.

Photo: Zillow

The home’s only bathroom is wabi-sabi to a tee with a vintage clawfoot tub that’s unfinished on the outside and aged brass plumbing fixtures that have begun to patina. The plywood cabinets are repeated in this space with circular holes in lieu of traditional hardware and a tile accent wall adds subtle pattern.

Photo: Zillow

If you, like me, are obsessed with this historic home and everything in it, check out #ourtopangahome on Instagram, the owners’ personalized hashtag that offers glimpses of their daily life and some drool-worthy design details. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go create a GoFundMe page so I can raise $1.25 million before it’s snapped up by another buyer!

Developments featured in this article

More Like This

Facebook Chatter