At home with Working Holiday founders Carlos Naude and Whitney Brown

Explore their new Granada Hills pad, blending Mexican minimalism and midcentury modernism

Carlos Naude and Whitney Brown have a knack for transforming underwhelming buildings into beautiful spaces that skillfully meld design influences while reflecting their heritage. The self-taught interior designers and founders of studio Working Holiday found success with their widely published high-desert hideaway Casa Mami, but we first met the couple back in 2021 when they’d just renovated a Los Angeles fixer-upper as their family home and embarked on their greatest adventure to date—parenthood.

Three years on, we’re back in the couple’s living room as they welcome their second child. But the surroundings—and their postcode—have changed somewhat.

‘We were about to have our second baby, and we wanted to have a bit more space plus a pool,’ Naude explains of the couple’s move half an hour north to leafy Granada Hills on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It’s a sleepy suburb with large lots, big trees and plenty of quiet. ‘It checked all the boxes it needed to check,’ says Naude, who also works as a creative director and producer in addition to the couple’s design studio.

The couple found themselves a big if slightly bland-looking, property on a 21,000 sq ft lot that backs onto a golf course.

‘It was built in the 1960s, and it’s somewhat of a midcentury-ranch-style home, but we wanted to mix and match styles,’ he adds, sensing the house’s untapped potential.

Outside, they opted for a restrained refresh—a cosmetic paint job that modernised it instantly. They replaced the roof and painted the facade a dark and moody moss-green shade, a sophisticated look that gives it intriguing curb appeal. And inside, it’s also a total departure from the dated décor they inherited from the seller.

‘The house had a lot of potential from the get-go—really high ceilings, exposed wood beams, etc. But the finishes were outdated and all over the place, and the layout was not optimised for modern living.’ First, the couple opened up the kitchen so it was more integrated with the dining room and ripped out old carpets and tile in favour of brick and sleek, solid oak flooring from Hallmark.

Photography: Carlos Naude

Then, they addressed one of the most significant challenges: light flow. ‘The house felt dark so we added skylights and worked with All Weather Aluminum Windows to replace all doors and windows throughout the house including replacing the main solid wood front door for outswing glass.’ French doors – including a set to the kitchen – enhance light flow between spaces while also helping zone the house and cut down on noise. This latter point is especially crucial when accounting for toddlers, not to mention the couple’s work-from-home operations, which include product shoots in the space.

As for the aesthetic that marries everything together, it’s a personal medley drawn from experience.

‘Whitney and I are both drawn to Mexican design, minimalist interiors but in a warm setting,’ adds Naude, who grew up in Puebla, Mexico, before moving to Sweden and the United States.

When ripping out the dated bathroom suites, they opted to install mustard Fireclay tile with cream floors and a checkered tile ceiling. ‘[It’s] a funky eclectic vibe,’ says Naude, and one that contrasts the moody, sophisticated aesthetic of the primary suite.

Photography: Carlos Naude

Harking back to the Mexican influence the couple loves, they added arches throughout the house to soften the sharp lines and added subtle texture by painting the walls with Portola lime wash paint. Other nods can be read in the wavy wrought-iron staircase railings and the brick floors, which cross the ground floor, imported from Tijuana.

‘It’s very surprising and revealing when you see the exterior of the house and then you walk in…it feels like you are transporting yourself to a different place.’

“No matter how hard you try, you’ll always be over budget”

The couple also matched with some of their favourite brands and collaborators when outfitting the Haçienda Granada with furniture, including Mexican brand Comité de Proyectos, whose funky cabinet and accent chairs feature in the dining room. While primarily their personal residence, Granada Hills functions as a ‘living showroom’ for their interior design clients to explore, offering an immersive space that demonstrates their studio’s interior vision.

Haçienda Granada is also available to book for productions, offering a sophisticated backdrop for videos and photography shoots.

Photography: Carlos Naude

Now that the Granada Hills home is complete and they’ve got several renovation projects under their belt, what have the couple learned from their experience? ‘We know that if you don’t want to spend too much time on the renovation, the first thing you do before you even start is order tile, doors, and windows since those usually take the longest to produce.

‘We are also coming to terms with the fact that no matter how hard you try, you’ll always be over budget,’ Naude says. ‘Even with enough money in contingency, for some reason, it’s always more than what you initially imagined.’

Photography: Carlos Naude
Photography: Carlos Naude
Photography: Carlos Naude
Photography: Carlos Naude

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