This LA home shows how to do modern eclectic style perfectly - with a utility room of dreams

Creative director Dabito used his interiors know-how to treat his 1950s bungalow to a medley of pattern and color

small dining area with pink bench and patterned wallpaper
(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

‘I find joy in color,’ says creative director Dabito, and after a few minutes spent in his company, it’s not hard to see its impact.  His optimistic outlook is attributed in par to the bright-hued interiors he inhabits. In four years, he’s transformed a box-like 1950s bungalow into a covetable LA pad, also home to his partner Ryan, who works in education, and their menagerie of beloved pets, including two pit bulls and a cat. 

Dabito is the founder of Old Brand New, a platform that rose to prominence with its Instagrammable interiors hacks (242k followers and counting). What he can’t tell you about inventive, affordable do-overs probably isn’t worth knowing. Having divided his time between New Orleans and his home turf for the last few years, Dabito decided he was finally ready to ‘grow roots’ in the South Pasadena district where he grew up with his parents, who emigrated to the States from Vietnam in the 1970s. 

‘Coming back to this neighbourhood felt natural to me,’ he says, looking around the modern home he's created. ‘It’s a lively community, with strong Asian and Latino influences and some of my favourite restaurants. Buying here seemed like a homecoming.’

Living room

small living room with yellow and blue furniture

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

A 1950s bungalow in LA’s South Pasadena district. The one-storey property has an open-plan kitchen-diner, sitting room, three bedrooms, home office, three bathrooms, utility room and terrace. Dabito's home is a masterclass in modern eclectic style, with personality-filled corners at every turn. Each space is masterfully curated.

‘Now and again, I like to move a lamp, vase, ottoman or change chairs around - just to ‘activate’ the space a little,’ Dabito says.

The living room features an art display. ‘You can’t beat a good gallery wall,’ says Dabito. ‘Ours features photos from a trip to Iceland, two wood carvings from the Philippines and a watercolor I recently painted.’

living room with blue chairs and art on the walls

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)


green kitchen cabinets and wood floor in a small kitchen

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

Dabito laid herringbone engineered flooring throughout the home - the kitchen flooring is where it is shown to its best advantage.

But it's the green kitchen cabinet color which is the stand out here. The existing grey cabinetry and white metro tiles were banished in favour of a bold green colorwash. 

‘It was white, boxy and featureless,' Dabito says. 'What I really wanted was a Spanish-style home, which I find architecturally more interesting.'

green kitchen walls with open shelving

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

Dining area

small dining area with pink bench and patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

Perhaps the most eye-popping spot is the dining room with its joyful clash of patterned wallpaper, mid-century shapes and lilac banquette seating. ‘I wasn’t sure what to do with that corner until I hit upon installing the nook,’ says Dabito. ‘Now it’s the most hard-working space in the house. I eat, read, work and even nap there.’


white entryway with an arch

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

Linking the living areas to the bedrooms is a hallway corridor which is a visually wow moment. In fact, adding the arch was an instant game changer, giving the home the architectural interest Dabito was craving.

'Creating the archway was a time consuming job,' he says.


bedroom with open plan bathroom

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

'Getting the main bedroom just right was one of the hardest reno challenges' says Dabito. The result, though, is a space with an open plan modern bathroom and cleverly positioned double vanity - not always doable in a relatively small space. 

'Figuring out the best layout for a closet, toilet room and double sink, along with a large window was tough,' Dabito says.

Laundry room

laundry room with built in cupboards

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

The practical utility room  is a total joy - a haven of organised functionality. It features a freestanding, half-height dog shower, plus concealed storage that opens to reveal a flip-down ironing board. 

utility room with blue appliances

(Image credit: David Tsay/OTTO)

Specializing in interiors, travel, food, lifestyle and thought pieces, Emma J Page is a UK journalist, editor and commissioning editor. She has a prolific freelance career, writing for publications including  Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, The Times Magazine, House & Garden, The World of Interiors, Stella, Architectural Digest, The Telegraph Magazine, Food & Travel and Evening Standard among many others. An influential voice among a number of genres, she regularly writes trends pieces, in-depth profiles, homes stories and interiors news. Her first book, London Shopfronts, in collaboration with photographer Rachael Smith, was published in autumn 2021 by Hoxton Mini Press.