before and after

Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree

by Annie Werbler

One year ago this month, closed on her own three-bedroom after years of renting in Los Angeles. Unable to contain her excitement, she started demolition the very next day, ripping up the worn flooring and polishing the concrete slab beneath. Go-getter Lindsay isn’t a professional contractor; instead she’s a multi-talented art director, designer, painter, and illustrator with the imagination required to transform her 1,236-square-foot 1970s stucco box into “a zen-meets-desert feel, by way of Scandinavia.” She set out to revamp the interiors with the same peaceful and sacred feeling she finds in the surrounding desert.

Unfortunately, building that ambiance indoors took some time, as all the houses in Lindsay’s price range required major work. “I wanted to stay within my means, but have a beautiful home,” she shares. “I had to dig deep and assess what renovations I was physically (and mentally) capable of, and what I could afford.” Despite the need for updates, her current home had simple lines, had been well maintained, and called for mostly aesthetic changes. “I could live and work in the house while I renovated over time,” Lindsay explains. “It had beautiful light, a view of the mountains, a large kitchen, big backyard, and plenty of space for entertaining visitors.” For the biggest projects, Lindsay pulled in generous friends and even hired contractors. The master bath had the most dramatic work done — they removed the 1970s gold sparkle counters, replaced a leaking shower, and installed a new sink and butcherblock countertop. The kitchen’s good bones were preserved with updated finishes, and bedrooms were completed with the help of Grace’s own DIY bed frame tutorial.

Lindsay lives and works in her Casa, and she also hosts visiting artists and workshops in the space. Flexible furnishings allow for changes in the layout as needed. “I am most thankful that I get to experience the magic of the high desert and this wonderful community every day,” Lindsay says. “Sharing it with others is also an experience in gratitude — I can’t wait to in my space.” Her biggest success is that she made her own inspiring home in a simple way, on her terms, within her budget. “If you’ve got a stucco box or a tract home or something that is not considered ‘stylish’ — don’t worry, because you can still make it beautiful.” —

Photography by

Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
Handy homeowner Lindsay Hollinger built a simple low bed frame from Grace's own DIY tutorial.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
The day Lindsay's offer on the house was accepted, she purchased this Pendleton blanket she had been eyeing for weeks. "Pendletons are an investment (ahem) -- this was my 'grown-up blanket' to go with my grown-up house," she shares. The painting was a gift from artist Kristin Texeira after staying in this guest room.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
Lindsay made the framed figure drawing resting against the bathroom wall while in college.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
Lindsay fell in love with Justina Blakeney’s wallpaper for Hygge & West the first time she saw it. "I love the black and white, with a touch of gold sheen," she describes. The light fixture is original to the house and complements the decorative palm motif.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
A new shower and decorative accessories aid the fun wall covering in refreshing a previously outdated bathroom.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
White-painted kitchen cabinetry with new black-bronze hardware make the room feel bright and spacious in its original footprint. The light fixture was updated by changing the glass shade and spray painting the base. "I am a very messy cook," Lindsay admits, "So I chose a high-gloss paint and a cotton rug below the sink. Spills and splatters wipe up easily and I wash the rug weekly, because I cannot make anything without drips."
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
An Urban Outfitters area rug and Franklin Brass hardware pop against the all-white cabinetry.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
A handy row of hooks for kitchen textiles, wooden cutting boards, and a hanging planter makes use of this swath of wall space.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
The dining room table was custom built by a local craftsman using steel hairpin legs from on Etsy. "I wanted a table that could seat 10 (my LA crew for dinner parties!) and after endless searching online," Lindsay reveals, "I realized building it was the best way to get exactly what I needed."
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
Lindsay uses this smaller and sunnier bedroom for herself. "I wanted as much natural light as possible with minimal window treatments -- I made both," she explains.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
Hewson the cat relaxes in his favorite spot. The striped runner was handwoven by Lindsay's friend Vanessa Lauria of , the first visiting artist to stay at the house. She also helped Lindsay build the wooden bed frames for both rooms from Grace’s tutorial on D*S.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
With the help of a neighbor, Lindsay realized her design for a DIY shelf -- a sunny spot for plants without the need for extra bulky furniture.
Before & After: Casa Joshua Tree, on Design*Droits-Humains
Lindsay removed two layers of linoleum flooring, tore down the faux tile wainscoting, and replaced the "discolored 70s glitter swirl countertop." The original cabinets were saved with crisp new finishes.

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