Midcentury Minimalism in Long Beach

Cat Madrid-Barone and Giovanni Barone desired a house with just the correct amount of character. And when they eventually discovered one in Long Beach, California, they needed it to reflect their own characters — contemporary and streamlined, yet lively.

“Our house has an urban-loft feel to it, especially with all of the industrial bits integrated into it,” Madrid-Barone says. “However, it still thrives on its midcentury shell. It feels fantastic residing in a house and neighborhood that you know has been around for at least 50 years. It’s very simple to appreciate a house that’s been a house to others for a very long time.”

in a Glance
Who resides here: Cat Madrid-Barone and Giovanni Barone
Location: Long Beach, California
Size: 1,289 square feet; 3 bedrooms, two baths
That’s intriguing: The living room features a loft crawl space accessed by a metal ladder.

Katrina Guevara

A leather Ikea sectional sofa with Mongolian fur pillows from David Galindo divides the living room. A vibrant Lourdes Sánchez for West Elm carpet ties together other industrial-style items, such as a lamp at the corner, an antique mining cart (used as a coffee table) from InRetrospect plus a midcentury stool from the Long Beach Antique Market.

Katrina Guevara

In the living room, Cat and Giovanni painted a wall using chalkboard paint to permit for an ever-changing canvas for artwork. The current drawings on screen are by Cat and her sisters.

Katrina Guevara: How can you discover your property? Can it be love at first sight?

Cat Madrid-Barone: Gio and I found our house from a program on our iPhone. The actual estate agent we were dealing with in the time could not move with us to look at the house, so we went by ourselves. Once we walked, we instantly knew it was the house, no questions about it. We did not even speak to each other when we first saw it — we sorta just knew together. It felt cool, odd yet familiar at the exact same time.

Katrina Guevara

KG: Where’s your favourite place to search for your property? What is your ultimate dream house thing?

CMB: My favourite place to shop is the Long Beach Antique Market in Veteran’s Stadium, which I’m so blessed to live really near. If money were no object, I would splurge on what at Factory 20. They have the most amazing finds!

Katrina Guevara

KG: Why is the clothing boutique, Moss & Rock, motivated by your house in any manner?

CMB: Yes and no. I knew that I needed my own shop to be much more rustic and much more industrial. Though my house is very gender neutral, I had a fantasy of my shop to be much more masculine, much like the M&R emblem. Additionally, given the fact that I’ve teams play in my shop, the interior and overall design of the shop required to be rustic and industrial.

Copper and alloy wall art sculpture: present from a buddy

Katrina Guevara

KG: What is your favorite place in your house?

CMB: The kitchen. It’s pretty spacious, and we love how large the kitchen island is. It’s been the center of the house, especially when guests are over. The island serves as a gathering place for food. We love our backyard. It’s quite big for just being the two of us, so maybe 1 day once we have a dog, we can play with him or her in the backyard.

Katrina Guevara

KG: Inform me about this loft space.

CMB: The loft was already there when we purchased the house, but the prior homeowner set the ladder. We had it designed fitting railings to avoid any accidents and sandblasted. The industrial railings were built by our builder. The industrial lamp is from the 1920s and came from an asylum from Northern California. We padded the loft space by incorporating sterile carpeting. We use it to unwind, drink and listen to songs, since we have the house speakers hooked up there.

Katrina Guevara

KG: Who are your favourite artists?

CMB: My Treasured midcentury designer is George Nakashima. My favourite clothing designer is Phoebe Philo throughout her Chloé days.

Katrina Guevara

A terrarium sits atop a stool made from an older tree. The stool was one of the first pieces Cat bought for the house.

KG: What was the biggest design dilemma?

CMB: Storage distance — or lack of it. When we purchased the house, we were forced to get rid of a good deal of things. We reside pretty damn now.

Katrina Guevara

KG: In a crisis, what’s the very first thing you would grab?

CMB: If the house were on fire, I’d grab at least one of my crops and maybe one of my classic necklaces. If I was strong enough to grab my tree chairs and also my tree table, I would. It’s a set of one bench, 1 seat and a table which we purchased as our very first pieces of furniture to the house. I really don’t think we’d even closed escrow yet and decided we could not pass this up. They’re very Nakashima-like in design.

Katrina Guevara

KG: What is your next home project?

CMB: What we would like to do alongside the house is actually spend some time in it! We both are so active that we believe we never actually get to appreciate it as much as we want to. If we needed to renovate anything, though, it would probably be to have a bigger closet space in our master bedroom.

Katrina Guevara

In one of two baths, dark wood shelving homes a hand-shaped ring stand from Urban Outfitters and porcelain candle votives from Stockholm, Sweden.

Katrina Guevara

KG: Tell me about your workroom and this bookshelf.

CMB: This mid-18th-century bookshelf is the earliest piece of furniture in the house. I randomly bought it from an antiques mall, but it turned out that two of my friends used to own it too and had it in their homes for several years.

Katrina Guevara

This metal utility cabinet came from a science laboratory in Sacramento, California, and the hand-drawn portrait of Lucille Ball was a housewarming present from friends.

Katrina Guevara

KG: Would you tell me more about your backyard?

CMB: We utilized our shed to get a photo shoot for my shop Moss & Rock’s site at one point. It seemed like a barn. Actually, we always thought that maybe the owners retained animals back there because of the barnlike overall look of this shed. Our two-car garage is back there too, and we love that it is distinct from the house, like most Long Beach homes. We only use the backyard during the summertime, once we have guests over.

Malm fireplace from the late 1960s: Craigslist; snowy Harry Bertoia wire chairs: Long Beach Antique Market

Katrina Guevara

Cat and Giovanni recently installed windows and a storm door on the exterior.

KG: What do you love most about Long Beach?

CMB: What we love most about our city is the fact that it is not completely manicured and hasn’t yet been completely taken over by mainstream commercial design. We actually love seeing old homes and how Long Beach has kept much of its appeal intact and untouched. The folks also match humbleness and the uniqueness of town.

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