It’s not surprising to hear that the backyard party room hosted a Near Year’s Eve shindig every year since 1963. Currently, the Sommerses’ daughters use it as a play/TV room and it hosts a troop of giggling Brownies every few weeks.

It took a month and a half for homeowners Julie and Paul to transform their La Cañada home from a dreary ’80s cave to a gleaming midcentury abode (part 1, part 2). The couple accredited much of their remodeling speed to their decisive shopping habits and hardworking team

Another thing: “The beauty of being in a tract home is, everything is in standard sizes,” he notes. “Because we didn’t have to do opening changes for the new Milgard windows and doors, that part only took about a week. In the kitchen, there are three ten-foot counter runs. There’s no weird corner or a place to go, ‘I don’t know what to do with this part.’ The sink is here, that’s where the stove is, that’s where the fridge goes. It’s a work triangle and there’s a way in and a way out.”

The couple have some minor quibbles with the bamboo flooring, which they say isn’t as tough as advertised and does ding. But the aesthetics and prefinished and renewable aspects of the product still appeal. And don’t ask them about their kitchen cabinet remodeling experience. “I’d recommend custom cabinets to anybody. Ours were a nightmare,” Julie says. Paul agrees: “Custom guys will give you what you want and you don’t have to deal with the bureaucracy of a big-box store. Ours was unresponsive and slow; they just didn’t get it. The kitchen was the first thing we ordered and the last thing to go in.”

Ultimately, the house works perfectly for them. “There are so many different ways to live in it as a family,” Paul says. “The kids can be in the bedroom, I can be in the atrium of back yard, Julie can be in the kitchen and we’re still connected but we all have a private space. This house has great sightlines and flows really well.” “It’s modular. It’s a great design,” Julie sums up.

Paul enthuses about the vintage flourishes on his home: the A-frame, the clerestory windows, the stone fireplace, the atrium. “Did Web Wiley come up with those ideas? Absolutely not. Did he copy them really well? Yes, he did. Can I afford a Schindler or a Neutra? Absolutely not. Am I more than happy to move into a house where someone copied them really well? Absolutely.”