There's nothing unusual about being bicoastal anymore, but embracing life in regions as different as the solid, big shouldered Mid-West and flighty, golden Southern California is something else. Chicago real-estate super broker Katherine Chez set off down that less-taken road in late 2007, when she and her longtime companion, a major Chicago based real-estate maven himself, purchased a pretty but small home in the Hollywood Hills. The impetus, at first, was work. A development project was bringing Chez to Los Angeles for a week or more each month; she was not only "sick of packing, unpacking and hotel rooms" but planned to move there for an extended period once the property was up and running. Renowned LA decorator (and Chez's friend) Michael Smith was given the task of re-imagining the new place as a glamorous pied-a`-terre. Unexpectedly, it has proved to be something more. Smith's alchemy - and perhaps that of LA itself - has given the workaholic Chez, whose days routinely stretch to twelve hours, a sanctuary where she can explore some fresh concepts: relaxation, serenity, domesticity. "It's my oasis," she says.\r\n\r\nWhen Chez decided to buy in LA, she didn't know precisely what she wanted, although she was familiar with California because she'd once owned a home in Carmel and she and her companion already had a place in Palm Springs. Chez's search began in the usual affluent Westside neighborhoods, with her usual single-minded focus: she looked at twenty-seven properties in one day. Then she went to a dinner party at the home of Smith, whom she'd met when the two collaborated on a work project the year before. "There I met a broker who told me, 'I just listed the cutest house in West Hollywood,' so I arranged to see it. It had a 625-square-foot living room with high ceilings and two of the tiniest bedrooms I'd ever seen, and the price was $1million. It was the ideal hotel replacement. I did what I tell clients never to do: I immediately looked at my broker and said, "I'll take it."\r\n\r\nSmith says his goal was to transform an attractive "but slightly masculine" home into one with sophistication and a bit of magic, with an aura like Chez's own. "Katherine is someone who understands architecture and design, dresses beautifully and is pretty in a dramatic but very feminine way," he says. The creation of several tiny but exquisite outdoor living spaces (the dining terrace off the kitchen features a crystal chandelier) and the additions of antique oak floors, an enormous 19th century Oushak carpet that Smith likens to a "beautiful piece of fabric," hand-painted Chinese wallpaper from de Gournay and a canopy bed swathed with yards of raw silk produced what Smith calls "a small home with an amount of detail and specialization that make it extraordinary - a jewelry box of a house."