While our studio may be known best for custom single-family residences, our portfolio also houses much more… from multi-family townhomes to a late-night bar! Our team enjoys these unique projects – that are as diverse as our design experience. This month, we look at some favorite projects that fall outside of our typical scope.
Our studio was commissioned to design a residential building with four townhome units along one of Pasadena’s idyllic tree-lined streets fronting the annual Rose Bowl Parade route.
The four townhomes lie around a main garden space that preserved a massive camphor tree. Each townhome unit is unique, yet they share common themes: The ground floor contains all public spaces – living, dining, kitchen and powder room – while the second floor contains two private bedroom suites. Each home has a private roof terrace with views of the street and the garden and partial shading from the sun. Underground gated resident and guest parking is connected with private elevators and accessed by a ramp at the rear of the property.
The 1930’s horizontality and upper floor balconies pay homage to Pasadena’s surrounding Garden District buildings. Warm buff brick and ivory stucco contrasts with bronze windows, roofs and pergolas without advertising the energy efficiency and water conservation strategies we employed.
Natatorium and More:
The Jonathan Club
When approached by one of the oldest private clubs in Los Angeles to reimagine several spaces within their downtown building, we were ready to take on this unique project. The first task was to restore the dimly-lit natatorium, which was muddled by past restoration attempts. Utilizing archival photographs for inspiration, we replaced mismatched 1960s wall tile with mosaic tile color-matched to the original; changed standard issue doors to match original deco-inspired ones; and restored and replicated original brass fittings.
To flood light into this interior space, we also integrated indirect cove lighting to the existing coffered ceiling; added historic pendant lighting to the surrounding walkway; and in the previously covered window wells we installed backlighting with new steel grilles to match the doors. The original men-only club (founded in 1895) voted to welcome women in 1987. We created a new womens’ changing area entrance, celebrated by a relocated marble statue and table, and also restored the viewing gallery.
Our subsequent Jonathan Club projects include a rooftop “tented” bar and cigar lounge, new valet parking, and reimagined barbershop and an internet lounge, to accommodate members where the historic club spaces prohibit laptops and cell phones.
Years ago we tripled the size of the popular Mark’s Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard, now home to Barton G. When our restaurateur friends relocated to The Vermont in Los Feliz (now home to BlackRose LA), we designed a bar that channeled Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Named Rockwell Restaurant & Bar as a tribute to painter Norman Rockwell, we took on the assignment to design two new bars, a stair and terraces.
Our research started with images of 1800s apothecaries (where we quickly saw the connection between spirits and remedies). We treated the patron bar like a 19th-century service counter. Black enameled millwork and “Root Beer” tile from an historic LA vendor wraps the space; and the staff bar and pantry is tucked behind the main bar with black doors and a transom.
We’re always eager to take on unique projects like these where our love of history and passion for repurposing existing structures create unexpected alchemy. Do you have a quirky design challenge? We would love to learn more. Contact us here.