See How This Midcentury Modern LA Home Honors the Legacy of Its Previous Owners

Saving the original woodwork was top priority for Michelle, as well as preserving the overall integrity of the home as much as possible. “That entire front area, which is what I remember growing up, is most original to the house. That’s what hasn’t changed. Everything from the desk to the built-in sofas to the sliding glass doors, that whole section is original.”

BEFORE: The Robinson home holds a solid place in African-American history, and the intention and care put into the original design is an ongoing testament to its timelessness.

Courtesy of Michelle Runles

AFTER: Bursting with history and character, this midcentury-modern LA home blends elements and decor from various periods of time while honoring its original owners.

Michelle remembers the home as bursting with love and energy, as her aunt and uncle’s famous (and soon-to-be-famous) friends floated in and out. “​​The house was just always full of life. My Aunt Doris was always cooking,” she recalls. “I lived there for several years as a teenager, and I would come home and there would be octopus and things in the sink. She made all kinds of dishes. She was always throwing parties, and we always had a house full of people.” It was a house full of treasures; Michelle once opened a book on a whim that was signed by Maya Angelou. Another time, she found a piece of memorabilia sent to the Robinsons from Ike and Tina Turner. “Actors, celebrities, and prominent people in the community were always coming through. Attorneys, architects, you name it,” she adds.

Marc and Catherine are dedicated to preserving the history of the home. “A house is always more than just architecture,” Marc says. “It’s the stories and everything that took place in it. I think of how LA, and so many neighborhoods, had all the racial covenants. It was unreal that the Robinsons were able to build such a beautiful house as this, at that time and during that climate.”