The Moomaw’s friends didn’t really mean to lie. They were just trying to entertain the crowd.

 

          “This is our shrine to fox terriers,” laughs neighborhood homeowner Jim Moomaw, pointing out the art on their stairwell walls. “And our friends, who were hosting different rooms when our home was on tour, told people that our dogs, Nick and Nora, are actually descended from Asta in the old Thin Man movies. They were just being funny.”

 

Vicki Moomaw interjects: “Sure, great. I still run into people who remember that and ask me about it.”

 

With apologies to Metro Goldwyn-Mayer’s classic series of the 1930s and ’40s, the Moomaws do think their wire-haired companions make a stylishly entertaining addition to their historic Hollywood/Santa Monica-area home.

 

And now, eight years after the home tour, there’s even more room to be stylish: The couple recently knocked down a few walls, including the entire back one, and added a downstairs den and kitchen, and an upstairs master bedroom, bath and study.

 

“I knew we wanted more room, but I had trouble deciding how much room was enough … how big do things really need to be?” says Vicki, having discovered the looming question that faces all who embark on creating new spaces. “I did things like put tape on the floor and pace things off.”

 

Jim shakes his head: “She also made little scale models of every piece of furniture we had — little tiny piano, little couches.”

 

“Well I’ll tell you this,” says Vicki. “I knew where everything was going to be by the time we moved back in.”

 

The re-invented cottage is, well, ‘divine’ as Nora Charles would say. Upstairs the spacious master and snug study flank a mammoth bath with a walk-in shower — for which Vicki designed the whimsical tilework — clawfoot tub and charming sitting area. The elegant living and dining rooms at the downstairs entrance retain the home’s formal, antique ambiance while the adjacent new living/cooking areas have a country French flavor that’s quite compatible.

 

 

SPEAKING OF COMPATIBLE

 

The Moomaws grew up within 40 miles of one another in southwestern Missouri but didn’t meet until they were both working in Joplin in the late 70s. They married after to moving to Tulsa where Jim ran a trucking business because he “didn’t know what to do with a degree in finance.”

 

Vicki says that when she went to work for a law firm as a recruiter, she observed to her husband: “You could do this.”

 

“So at age 28, I went to law school,” says Jim. “And after graduating, I got an offer from Dallas .”

 

Having never spent more than a weekend in our fair city, the Moomaws weren’t sure where they’d find the neighborhood of their dreams until they came across Hollywood and the house on Hammond — “Hammond was my maiden name,” smiles Vicki. But another buyer beat them out and it wasn’t until two years later when the home went back on the market that the couple was able to take their place inside its vintage walls.

 

 

AULD ACQUAINTANCE

 

Even before construction was finished, the Moomaws began celebrating their re-born home. “I came in on New Year’s Eve and swept all the debris away. The tape-and-bed guy was here that day and said, ‘You don’t have to do that, we’ll do it when we’re finished,’” recalls Vicki. “I said, ‘You don’t understand — we’re coming back here after dinner tonight all dressed up.’”

 

And so it was that by midnight, Vicki and Jim were decked out in their holiday best, the boom box was plugged into an extension cord strung out to a temporary electricity pole, and a bottle of champagne was uncorked.

 

“It was a little frosty, I’ll tell you for sure, and my eyes were all puffy from sweeping dust … ,” Vicky laughs. “But it was very romantic.”

 


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