Neighborhood Renovation: Historic Filipinotown turn-of-the-century home gets bright new future

Before & After A new red door, windows and paint greet visitors.

Before & After A new red door, windows and paint greet visitors.

By Marni Epstein

HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN — Christopher Rodriguez and his fiancé, Damian Pelliccione, purchased a home in Historic Filipinotown with the intention of renovating the entire structure. It was worn down and had an inefficient use of space.  Neither Chris nor Damian previously had experiences in renovating, but they saw the potential in the house’s charm, its large, entertaining deck and great patio space.

They began renovation on the 1,400-square-foot house with a relatively limited budget and soon realized that they had, perhaps, bitten off more than they could chew. The stresses and frustrations of renovation were not only a strain on their budget but also on their long-term relationship –  they nearly broke up as a result. However, they were able to push through, and Chris and Damian ultimately were able realize their dream of bringing their turn-of- the-century two-bedroom home into the new millennium.

Challenge 1:  A Flaky Contractor
Chris and Damian learned the hard way how difficult it is to find a reliable contractor. The person initially hired for the job was prone to mistruths and eventually skipped out on the job with work partly finished.

Challenge 2: Logistics and Relationship Stress
Damian and Chris both work day jobs and managing the design, logistics (including the headache of permits), workers’ schedules and actual construction was especially difficult given that they weren’t at the house 24/7.  Additionally, they lived out of their bedroom with no working bathroom on-site while the rest of the house was being completed. This frustrations and anxieties that resulted from this nearly led to their break-up.

What Did Not Go To Plan:

  • The renovation for a finished basement rec room. The foundation work required raising the floor, leaving less room between the floor and what is now a very low ceiling.
  • The exposed A/C system had to be re-designed due to architectural features of the house that they could not get around.

Point of Pride
The amount of renovations that were accomplished on a comparatively modest budget. Their $100,000 budget renovated every room in the house and fixed the foundation.  As the creative force behind much of the renovations, Chris takes particular pride in the design nuances. Things like the deck landing and stair design outside of the kitchen, the built-in bookshelf under the stairs, and the exposed ceilings in the bedroom and kitchen. They particularly love the overall aesthetic of the house, with its white walls with stark, red and brown accent colors.

Before & After Bedroom

Before & After Deck

Before & After Exterior


Photos courtesy Christopher Rodriguez Damian Pelliccione

Neighborhood Renovation is about renovation and remodeling projects, large and small.  Got before and after photos and details about your home, apartment or commercial makeover? Send them over to hello@theEastsiderLA.com

Marni Epstein Epstein is an entertainment, music, and lifestyle Journalist and resident of Echo Park. She has previously worked in the film and digital media industries with FOX and Sony Pictures Entertainment. She is currently also pursuing a Masters in Historic Preservation.

One comment

  1. Really like seeing renos done by normal people and not flippers.

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