Brian Tichenor and Raun Thorp make their California house cool and cozy

We’re only going to say this one more time: Modernist houses do not have to be cold and unwelcoming. Making them user–friendly is no mystery. It’s all in the decorating.This Los Angeles house was designed in 1940 by Harwell Hamilton Harris, a respected Modernist whose influences included Asian architecture and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra, Harris’s employer from 1928 to 1932. Like many modern California houses, it is both elegant and organic, distinctly indoor-outdoor. The house’s current owners, Brian Tichenor and Raun Thorp—husband–and–wife architects and landscape designers who restored the house to its original glory after years of neglect—wanted its interiors to reflect its roots.

They succeeded, partly by design and partly by happenstance. Tichenor combed photos of the 1939 World’s Fair, for example, before designing the wood bookcases that reinforce the living room’s horizontal lines, which connect the space to the landscape. A lushly planted courtyard serves as the living room’s outdoor annex.

The couple bought some furnishings, like the Paul Frankl coffee table, the glamorous curved-back chairs (attributed to William Haines) and the Japanese-figure table lamps. But serendipity provided others: the swank, angular 1970’s sofa (which Thorp recovered in ‘‘fancy, but not too,’’ linen velvet), the vintage Lane end tables and the slipper chairs all came from Thorp’s parents and grandparents. This room is Modernism for grown-ups—part serious architect, part hipster, part Junior League. “It needed to be cushy but also functional,” Thorp says, and it is.