Architecture // Design

Mixed Use

Dwellings with double-duty spaces make a market surge in LA

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photography Courtesy of Brandon Arant

In Venice, 2473 Walnut Avenue—an original 1915 custom Craftsman bungalow with a separate, architecturally modern structure featuring
exterior wooden slats in back—is a prime example of the market’s move toward live/work residences, a trend gaining traction in Los Angeles.The merging of charming bungalows and multi-million architecturals with collectivity and creativity makes Venice a breeding ground for the live/work movement. And homeowners here are capitalizing, putting flexible detached spaces to work—as art studios, startup offices and other places of business.

Telecommuting culture is nothing new, but the surging tech scene and soaring prices for prized commercial space, off coveted Abbot Kinney in particular, has made live/work residences a boon for homebuyers and profitable for sellers. “Commercial space in Venice is extremely high,” says Justin Alexander, director of sales for Pardee Properties, which is listing 2473 Walnut Avenue. “Because of all the people coming from Silicon Valley, New York and internationally, buyers are purchasing homes with separate spaces, which, while not commercial buildings so to speak, function as one.”

With high-tech equaling high-end, sellers have responded with bold rethinks of existing spaces—typically, a detached structure in the rear of the property with a separate entrance. “We’re seeing sellers maximize their home’s value not by spending a couple hundred thousand on building a new structure, but investing in converting a space they already have,” Alexander says. “Putting cool touches on an existing bonus space, for example, to make it look like finished space [that] can be used as an office or art lounge— to take advantage of unused space in profitable ways.”

For instance, the addition to 2473 Walnut Avenue is, like the main house, designed to maximize light, highlighting the spaces’ vintage-modern appeal  their architectural supports and thoughtfully landscaped yards.

An influx of homebuyers, a demand for inventory and swelling expenses for traditional commercial real estate—the market is making way for a live/ work landscape. As Alexander puts it, “Until that product is actually launched and there’s millions from investors to help buy or even lease commercial space, the trend will continue to grow.”

Cape Cod Emanates Coastal Elegance

Comfortable living that luxuriously transcends time

Written by Joclene Davey | Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by Forbes Corrales
Price upon request

Nestled on a cozy, tree-lined corner in Manhattan Beach, behind a whitepicket fence, awaits a radiant Cape Cod home—1313 Pine Avenue, an elevated version of a timeless style from popular builder David Odle. True to character, with white siding, Virginia bluestone and Odle’s signature blue door and windows, this coastal beauty is elegant and livable for the Manhattan Beach family desiring a comfortable yet luxurious lifestyle.

A dazzling foyer and open living room introduce the approximately 3,260-squarefoot home bathed in bright natural light. Equally striking are the 22-foot ceilings, from which dangle marvelous overhead lighting. This extraordinarily appointed room displays custom wainscoting trim complemented by a refreshing soft-gray paint that adorns walls throughout the home. Its gorgeous Calacatta marble fireplace, meanwhile, is elegantly trimmed with molding from flume to ceiling, and is surrounded by bench seating with clever built-in storage for tucking away blankets.

Just off the living room looms a stunning, private guest bedroom with 12.5-foot coffered ceilings and a three-quarter bath with glass tile. Pass back through the living room and one enters the dining room through a transom entryway that allows light to pour in through surrounding massive windows. Expansive, this space features a contemporary chandelier and beautifully designed coffered ceilings with painted insets in Loyal Blue by Sherwin Williams (a signature color reflective of the sea, which can be viewed throughout the coastal abode).

Moving into the area just beyond, an open floor plan kitchen and family room beckon. Adjacent to the family room is a dreamy kitchen that reveals an oversized Caesarstone square island with Loyal Blue cabinetry below. Conveniently located on one side of the island is an eat-in bar; opposite is a farm sink. Impeccably placed herringbone micro tiles, a detail throughout the kitchen, create a dramatic backsplash behind the Thermador stove. Also here is a large walk-in pantry and breakfast nook surrounded by enormous French windows overlooking the outdoor dining area.

As for the family room, while large in scale, it has a cozy sensibility and layout, with aesthetics like built-in custom cabinetry and gorgeous black brick work around the fireplace paired with elegant coffered ceilings, softening the space and resulting in a contemporized coastal style.

Glass doors connect the home’s indoor space with its pristine patio and outdoor living area. The tidy manicured lawn and lovely fountain set a tone where one envisions relaxing in front of the stone fireplace on cool evenings. Ceiling heat lamps add additional warmth for grilling a delightful meal on the large Wolf range. “This space is one of our favorite places in our home,” shares owner Michele Blumenthal. “When we entertain, we are always out here.” No matter  the season, this space is where a family can truly enjoy the beautiful weather that Manhattan Beach offers.

Back inside, ascend the oak staircase embellished with vintage-style, wrought-iron wall sconces and approach the master suite. Emanating peace and calm, this private escape includes vaulted, sky-high tongue-and-groove ceilings and recessed lighting, coupled with a large outdoor patio accessed through French doors through which heaps of light shining in from outdoors play off the shimmer of a dramatic Capiz chandelier. There’s also a large, walkin his-and-her closet, and a bathroom fit for royalty. The en-suite, beautifully adorned with Calcutta marble, incorporates unique custom tile work with glints of iridescent light, all playing off a subtle trellis motif in the flooring and shower.

Moreover, one feels like a star at the make-up counter, with a mirrored tabletop and glamorous pendant lighting. Equally important are the inviting pedestal bathtub, steam shower and dual vanity. This bathroom has everything one could wish for in a personal retreat from the world.

Also on the upper level are three additional well-sized bedrooms, two of which are connected by a Jack-and-Jill bath. All rooms feature high-coffered ceilings and customized tile work with artistic panache (floors, backsplashes and showers) in bathrooms. Additionally, the front bedroom has a lovely balcony overlooking beautiful trees; just across the hall sits an impressive laundry room with plantation-style cabinets and black porcelain floors.

Further adding character are three-panel doors; French wide plank oak floors, lightly washed and complemented by crisp white molding; and bright white coffered ceilings and statement-making light fixtures throughout. “For a home that was not custom-built for a specific client, this home has all of the attributes of a fully custom designed residence,” states realtor Lauren Forbes, of Forbes Corrales. Notably, the home is also conveniently located just a few blocks from Pacific Elementary and American Martyrs School.

Ultimately, 1313 Pine Avenue has everything—and so much more—one could desire in a Cape Cod. It’s so much more as a family home that sparkles with elegant beauty while still remaining comfortable and livable.

No Boundaries

LA designer Betsy Burnham bridges East Coast and West Coast cool for an aesthetic all her own

Written by Jenn Thornton

For Betsy Burnham, owner and principal designer of LA-based Burnham Design, it’s real simple: “I like an unfussy palette, a laid back attitude and clean, design-modern lines, edited details, contemporary art, and lots of white—all of which are, in my opinion, very SoCal,” says the West Coast designer with East Coast roots.

The Connecticut-born, creatively inclined Burnham found her first professional work in New York fashion. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she and a friend threw elaborate themed fetes. “After a particularly ambitious one,” Burnham recalls, “a guest asked us to design her house. Things grew organically after that; I’ve been working on interiors ever since.” Most prominently through Burnham Design, launched in 2002.

Now, with 20 years in LA (and two kids) under her belt, Burnham considers herself a native, simpatico with SoCal style. “I love how there really are no rules here. I love the bright light, the crisp air, the view of the ocean you can have while you’re standing in the hills,” says the designer, who is known for mixing styles and materials in a collected, high/low aesthetic. “I’m super inspired by indoor/outdoor living, and how casual even the most luxurious homes can feel.” Yet Burnham also is called to “old-school” East Coast classics like vintage rugs, subway tile and wallpaper. The result is a mash-up of bicoastal cool she bestows to projects both near (from Pasadena to Manhattan Beach) and far (from Hawaii to Massachusetts to London).

Unhindered by borders, Burnham is bound only by the limits of her imagination, stirred by an eclectic soup of inspirations—travel, books, street style and daily gratifications Pinterest and Instagram. “People who seek me out as their designer know that I’m not afraid of color or mixing furniture shapes and periods, so most of them are up for a bit of boundary pushing  from the start,” Burnham explains. “I encourage clients to invest in some meaningful pieces. I pay attention to trend, but feel design shouldn’t be dictated by it. And importantly, I try not to take myself too seriously.” In Burnham shorthand, this means fabrics that are comfortable and pieces not too precious. “I think that’s why even the highest-end work I’ve done has a relaxed feel,” she says.

Though not a traditionalist, Burnham is drawn to definitive interior elements, from tongue and groove, ceramic tile and painted wood floors to linens and denims, plaids and stripes. Along with something organic in every room—natural woods, hand-thrown pottery, potted trees and houseplants— she relies on vintage pieces to keep a space from looking overly staged. And, she adds, “We encourage all of our clients—if they don’t already—to collect fine art. It doesn’t have to be museum quality! It just has to speak to you.”

Her own dialogue with the living room speaks volumes—it’s a space she loves, as it typically allows for an original furniture plan and top-notch fabrics and furnishings. But, reflecting her New England sensibilities, Burnham says,

“I also love designing kitchens and baths, because those are spaces that endure.”

Which is precisely what Burnham aims to do through her full-service design firm and its virtual arm, Instant/Space, which offers custom-designed spaces, one room at a time, for a flat fee. Ahead for the practice is a ground-up, new build, Nantucket-inspired home in Manhattan Beach; an English Tudor-meets western ranch in Orange County; and a “classic with an edge” residence in Seattle. Also in the works is a small line of upholstered furniture. “And, I keep threatening to put a book proposal together,” the designer divulges. “There’s no shortage of creative ideas—just not a lot of spare time.”

The time that remains, however, is very much of her essence.

Living The Dream

A fully furnished modern beach house on a generous acre of oceanfront property along the finest surf break

Written by Abigail Stone | Photography Courtesy of Ciro Coelho
Presented by MariSol Malibu, Rodrigo Iglesias & Helena Deeds
List price $27,900,000

Los Angeles is unique in that it offers one the ability to move from the city to the beach with ease. Nowhere is this magnificent juxtaposition more apparent than in Malibu. Can the hustle and bustle of LA be only a short distance away? The best parts of the beach community can fool you into thinking that you’ve been transported to the Bahamas, the Caribbean or Hawaii. This is especially true for the home christened MariSol Modern at 11846 Ellice Street. Located in MariSol, Malibu’s exclusive, private resort-style community, the home’s design has already won numerous awards.

Fittingly, it is award-winning architect Doug Burdge who created the home. Impeccably built by Cal-Point Builders and fully-furnished by On Pointe Design, it speaks to the singular needs of the area and its citizens. Situated on a full-acre oceanfront bluff, 80 feet above and with 137 feet of beachfront along the finest surf break, the property offers a secluded compound with unparalleled first-class amenities. Everything, from the Minotti furnishings to the art to the electronics, was chosen to support the life of grace and leisure that only a few are privileged to experience.

From the moment you swing down the circular driveway to the front entrance of this 13,814-square-foot (under roof) house, lined with mature palm trees swaying in the breeze, you are left with the distinct impression that you’ve somehow managed to escape the rat race and land in paradise. That feeling is magnified as you push through the home’s large pivot front door and take in the view of the ocean. Fleetwood doors glide out of sight, completely opening the living room to the exterior. French limestone floors, melding indoors and out, seemingly run straight into the shimmering sea. The home’s infinity edge pool partners with the ocean, creating a vision of water and sky that is endlessly mesmerizing.

The extensive deck has been designed for entertaining. Once you step outside in the morning, there’s barely any need to go back in for the rest of the day. Everything you want is here: a lounge area draped with Sunbrella pull curtains—the perfect spot for an afternoon siesta—with an outdoor television, fireplace and heat lamps for when the weather turns chilly. Also here is a dining patio with a kitchen and outdoor shower. When cocktail hour arrives, drinks can be created and served at the bar—located just inside the house, fully stocked, and even boasting a keg dispenser —whose long window opens to the patio.

As the shadows lengthen, life moves inside. Whether entertaining guests or spending a quiet evening alone with family, the first floor’s open plan lets everyone find their favorite spot: in front of the fireplace in the main living room; overseeing dinner preparations while nibbling on appetizers; perfecting their skills in the billiard room; or, curled up in the lounge with a book. After dinner, eaten inside or under the stars on the patio, everyone gathers in the theater. On the bill, rushes from last week’s shoot, the latest unreleased blockbuster or a foreign film—all presented to perfection. This screening room offers the latest technology, impeccably installed, while Minotti’s luxe Italian-crafted seating cradles everyone in comfort.

Every detail has been thought of and attended to. There’s a second chef’s kitchen, perfect for the galas this house invites, allowing food to appear as if by magic, the mess well-hidden behind the scenes. Two wine refrigerators, one for reds and another for whites, beautifully display a carefully-curated collection of fine vintages. There is a fully stocked, eco-friendly saltwater fish tank. A laundry room, with two washers and dryers, also  includes a special bath designed to lather the family pet. A maid’s suite is tucked nearby. In addition to the sculptural staircase, there’s an elevator leading to the second floor. A bedroom suite, nestled into a corner near the media room, allows guests to come and go—from the house, pool and public spaces—without disturbing anyone upstairs.

Once the evening has concluded, bed beckons. Matching the breathtaking view downstairs is the one from the 2500-square-foot master suite, where a deck spans the length of the bedroom. One can either wake to the sun’s rays or let the motorized sunscreen and blackout shades by Creston cradle you in perfect darkness. Entertainment is enjoyed via the wall-mounted television or the in-ceiling theater screen.

His and her bathrooms are designed to take advantage of the view (though privacy glass allows for discretion if boats are nearby). There’s an office, his and her closets large enough to accommodate four seasons worth of clothes, a wet and coffee bar, a safe room, even a putting green. This suite is completely self-contained. You don’t even need to step outside the area’s circumference to work out; there’s a spacious gym here with a separate entrance for a personal trainer.

There’s also a two-car garage guesthouse on property that can be used either as a mother-in-law suite or for guests not occupying the main home’s three guest rooms. It’s spacious enough to host an editing bay or work as a rehearsal space, studio, or office. After all, why leave if you don’t have to?

Some people dream about moving to a private island. No need to do that when every day here feels like vacation—and yet, with the city within reach, so much more convenient. With the best of both worlds, some days you have to pinch yourself to make sure this home isn’t a dream. Turns out, it’s better.

All Grown Up

Smartened-up kids’ spaces give rise to family-home values

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photo Courtesy of Eric Poe Miller

“An innovational space crafted with ‘Rubik’s Cube’ mix-and-match capable components that swivel and morph into other functionalities”— that’s what the kids want today, says Alison Clay-Duboff of RE/MAX Estate Properties Manhattan Beach of the trend toward savvier kids’ spaces. “By adopting the emergence and morphology of an updated children’s live/ work space, sellers will potentially attain a higher sales price that comes with a more sophisticated buyer.”

Integral to the state-of-the-art kid’s space is technology, with rooms in this sphere just shy of a high-wired act. Given that a child’s world is an increasingly virtual place, it makes fiscal and practical sense to create kid-friendly rooms that evolve in tandem with technology, notes Clay-Duboff. “High-tech visual stimulation,” she adds, “is moving off the tablet and into their physical spaces, and homes need to adopt these memes.” Those that have boast kids’ rooms with a strong utility quotient via high-tech amusements ranging from dualfunction computer stations and retractable bunk beds to electrical storage spaces and mini DJ stations. “The sky’s the limit!” claims Clay-Duboff.

Although teching-up a kid’s space is an attractive prospect, the technology itself is not always thus. To this end, interior designer Lara Fishman of LAbased Storm Interiors, currently at work on a Beverly Hills estate and a Cape Cod home in Brentwood, keeps kids in mind. These days, it’s about “Figuring out cool ways to hide outlets [and] cords, a la James Bond,” finds Fishman, who also incorporates workspaces into her designs (a component parents desire) and involves kids in the process to collaborate on solutions and aesthetic.

Further adding value are made-to-age spaces, transitional areas that give way as children grow. Enter the kids’ zone—a hangout wing, essentially, within the privacy of the family home. Safety is, notes Clay-Duboff, particularly important to today’s parents, which these souped-up spaces accommodate with both protection and expanse. Adds Fishman, “Many clients want the longevity of the space, so creating the room for the child to grow into is definitely a requirement, as most clients do not wish to redo the room a few years later.”

Thankfully, as kids mature, so does a home’s bottom line.

The Tech Effect

With two new kids on the block, Playa Vista situates itself as head of the creative class.

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photograph Courtesy of Eric Figge

Much has been made of LA’s ubiquitously christened “tech boom,” the ripples of which have caused an epic cultural shift on the Westside. Here, between Marina del Rey and the Westchester Bluffs, Playa Vista pulsates as a connected community with the bona fides of a small city—residences, retail, recreation, and even its own zip code.

Visit the place today, and one only faintly recalls the land where billionaire Howard Hughes placed his aircraft plant. Those days are gone, but Playa Vista is flying high as a best-of-class address with everything in one place and walkable proximity to it all. Like everything else in Playa Vista, its newest singlefamily neighborhoods—Everly and Marlowe— are community-centric.

With Playa Vista helping fuel SoCal’s humming tech engine, the notion of the master-planned community has taken on a much cooler tone with a much cooler set—one concerned with location and lifestyle in equal measure. (If that weren’t true, half of its populace would still be in Mountain View.) Epitomizing connectivity in its broadest, most essential sense as a shared community among social groups, Playa Vista speaks volumes about the way we want to live now. Here, Brookfield Residential Director of Marketing Alison Girard speaks to DIGS.

Talk about how Playa Vista is affecting local urban living.

The Campus at Playa Vista—the creative office component of Playa Vista—is now home base for Silicon Beach. It has attracted tech titans such as Google, Yahoo, IMAX and YouTube Space LA, along with creative powerhouses 72andSunny, Fullscreen, USC’s Institute of Creative Technologies, and many others. IMAX and YouTube chose Playa Vista for their Southern California headquarters. And Google has purchased 12 acres within Playa Vista for its future creative offices.

Playa Vista has become the Westside address of choice, both for these companies and for their employees, as well as for entertainment professionals seeking convenient commutes and beautifully designed new homes with tech spaces and home-office options.

How are new neighborhoods Everly and Marlowe playing into the tech-savvy lifestyle?

Built by Brookfield Residential, Everly and Marlowe join the other highly successful new-home collections within walking distance of creative offices at Playa Vista, and close to many other Silicon Beach and Westside employers. These residences have energized the Westside real estate market: Practically all other homes available in the area are relegated to resale properties or new homes developed on single lots.

Everly and Marlow—a limited collection of homes that are among the final new residences that will be available at Playa Vista—respond to market demand by emphasizing smart spaces, style and flexibility, including spaces designed for workingat home. They are detached, yet connected to surrounding community amenities, with contemporary, window-filled vertical architecture that offers space and privacy within Playa Vista’s vibrant urban environment. Marlowe is designed to advanced LEED Silver specifications; the homes include Title 24-compliant LED lighting throughout, and Category 6 data wire for phone lines and high-speed data connection in all bedrooms, [the] kitchen, great room and family room.

The stylish third-floor lofts and spacious decks of Marlowe epitomize this lifestyle: Many of them overlook the creative offices such as IMAX and YouTube.

What do you make of the symbiotic relationship between Downtown LA’s emergence as an art capital and Playa Vista’s rise as a tech center? Is there a sense of reciprocity between the two?

It is more than a coincidence that world-class art institutions such as the new Broad museum in DTLA are emerging at the same time Playa Vista has become the home for LA tech and media industries. Both are a sign of the city’s maturation. LA has long been a world capital of creativity. But now, tech powerhouses such as Google desire to be as close as possible to the city’s creative class. That includes being in healthy proximity to the city’s art and entertainment talent, many of whom are based on the Westside.

And don’t forget: The beach cities—Venice and Santa Monica, in particular—have a history of producing international visual artists such as Richard Diebenkorn and Ed Moses. This has always been a creative place. It is exciting now to see Los Angeles thrive in so many ways and in so many neighborhoods.

How is Playa Vista encouraging creatives seeking a sense of individualism to put down roots in a collective community?

Tech culture is by definition creative. That’s why tech and media offices are classified as ‘creative space.’ Visit any of the new offices within Playa Vista and you’ll see this culture at work: large, open floor-plans that encourage interactive thinking, indoor/outdoor spaces for impromptu brainstorming, architecturally daring designs drawing the kind of talent that more ‘corporate’ offices simply cannot attract. The Campus at Playa Vista’s Central Park provides even more room to think and create.

This culture is another expression of the social excitement of Playa Vista. Our Concerts in the Park, weekly farmers’ market, summer movie nights and other events attract the many highly diverse members of our community. It’s a diversity and creativity that’s on display every day in the dozens of impromptu interactions between people in the parks, shops, restaurants, workplaces, and in places like The Resort, the new, state-of-the-art residents-only club.

What is Playa Vista saying now about the cultural shift on the Westside—and what does this mean for the future of local tech?

The story of Silicon Beach in the last two years is that as tech companies mature, they are outgrowing their spaces in Santa Monica. Playa Vista has welcomed them. IMAX is one of the most visible examples. The company moved from Santa Monica to create new headquarters on a huge IMAX scale that was only available in Playa Vista. Concurrently, there is a natural shift of tech, creative and entertainment workers moving their homes—not just from Santa Monica to Playa Vista, but from many Southern California neighborhoods. This trend will comfortably continue with Playa Vista projected to accommodate up to 12,000 residents by 2018.

The Provençal Life

Elegantly grand yet refreshingly intimate in Palos Verdes Estates, this sprawling french estate exhibits sweeping ocean views.

Written by Joclene Davey | Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by Kim Hall, Re/Max Estate Properties
List price : $10,450,000

Intimate luxury on a grand scale best describes the monumental French estate home at 1414 Paseo La Cresta in Palos Verdes Estates. Built with family and entertaining in mind, and paired with supreme elegance, this is a place to call home, where family and friends desire to gather. In a perfectly orchestrated space like La Cresta, a home designed for making memories, every holiday and special occasion is realized.

In approach of the gate, the home commands superior curb appeal with a beautiful circular paver driveway surrounded by a meticulously manicured lawn. Fragrant jasmine fills the air, whisking one away to the Provençal countryside of France. But behold, vast views of the Pacific abound as far as the eye can see. This is a home that seemingly puts one in another place. Naturally, “It is a pleasure to represent such a beautifully maintained property,” states realtor Kim Hall. “Furthermore, the home is also warm and inviting, unlike many of the newer builds in our community.”

Once dubbed “Chateau La Cresta,” this more than 10,000 square-foot home was a labor of love for owners Harry and Sylvia Bruni, who, over the course of a few years, added an additional 3900 square feet to its original 6500 square feet. The façade of the home is built in French-estate style with classic keystone limestone trim, two symmetrical grand verandas along the front, travertine floors and floor-to-ceiling French windows and doors.

Upon entering the home, soaring ceilings steal one’s attention with elegantly trimmed custom crown molding, ceiling and wall medallions. The living room moldings, in particular, were designed by JPWeaver, a beloved craftsman routinely featured in Architectural Digest. Despite the incredible ceiling height, the space feels intimate, due to the fine molding details and oak parquet floors. The stature of the ceilings do, however, vary throughout the home, lowering in more personal places like the dining room, creating a comfy feel during meals by the fireplace. Passing through the space brings one into the formal living room. Wired for optimum musical enjoyment, the room reflects the French aristocratic drawing rooms of the 19th century, with tremendous ceilings, two-story French doors stacked end-to-end with custom valances, wall medallions, circular windows, molding and hand-painted details on walls. The living room opens onto the large veranda with travertine floors to one side, and opposite, the backyard containing a meticulously maintained pool and yard.

Among the Brunis’ additions were complete renovations of the existing home, plus foundational upgrades throughout. The remodel produced a children’s wing with four children’s bedroom suites plus two guest suites, each with a private terrace. Linking top and bottom floors—thereby connecting bedrooms with the playroom, home theater, pub, and an exit to the outside pool area and exterior living space—is a hidden staircase. “With these amenities,” shares Sylvia Bruni, “we did a lot of [sports] team entertaining here…a lot of team building and relationships and memories were built during these times of gathering in our home.”

Throughout the home, no detail goes unnoticed, from custom valance moldings, French windows and doors, parquet oak hardwood floors in rooms and halls to over 40 vintage wall sconces illuminating spaces with a charming glow. While there’s fluidity between rooms, each offers a complete designer combination of paint or grass cloth, coffered ceilings, original tile work and custom-built vanities in every bathroom.

A vast list of bespoke design amenities used throughout the master suite creates a true oasis. This sweepingly grand room reveals picturesque Queen’s Necklace views through multiple travertine balconies accessed through French doors. The suite, accented with elegant crown molding, also features a gas and  wood burning custom-designed fireplace. Open to the bedroom is the dressing area featuring his-and-her bathroom spaces centrally joined by a capacious sky-lit dressing area adorned with patterned brown and blue vintage style wallpaper and oodles of mirrored cabinets and shelving in soft robin egg blue. As one enters the ladies’ bath, an enormous jetted Jacuzzi tub in Carrara marble complements a steam shower, beautiful custom vanity and make-up counter, and facilities all completed with a lovely veranda overlooking the pool—a genuine escape for the busy modern woman.

Descending the curvilinear staircase, one enters the grand family room with wet bar and pool table just opposite. Here, ceilings climb to the heavens, absorbing noise on those nights spent entertaining. Approaching the state-of-the-art French country kitchen with white glazed brick backsplash and a six-inch butcher block island puts one’s inner chef right at home among dual fuel Wolf ranges, a Sub Zero refrigerator, 30-inch Wolf warming drawers and two KitchenAid dishwashers—all for the gourmet cooking on the horizon. Just beyond, a huge walk-in pantry is what every busy family needs, as is the coveted mudroom, where for each child is an elegant “locker” to store their belongings. “Growing up on the East Coast, the mud room is considered essential; I needed an efficient place for my kids to store their backpacks and sports equipment without dragging it through our home,” states Sylvia.

Just off of the mudroom is an exit to the outdoor kitchen space with a Viking grill and refrigerator, stainless steel drawers and ample space for food prep. Beyond the outdoor kitchen is, Sylvia shares, her family’s favorite space: the outdoor living room, which is completely covered and includes a hand-carved fireplace and big-screen TV. Just beyond, is a large, pub-style mantuary with a hand-carved burl wood bar and coffered ceilings. From here, one can look out to the beautiful pool with built-in spa and expansive yard, manicured with a plethora of trees and sky-high pillars on the veranda.

While this French-estate style home is steeped in tradition, the Brunis did make some personal marks on the home like the hidden doors, in addition to a few other smaller details throughout. “One of my favorite parts of the house is accessed by a secret door hidden behind a bookshelf to my home office and gym,” says Harry. “It is a nice escape from the rest of the house.”

Although the home is very large in scale, every detail—travertine floors on verandas, reclaimed French terra cotta tiles scattered about various counters, floors reflecting the temperature controlled wine cellar—flows mindfully throughout. Several notable features include seven wood and gas burning fireplaces, eight full baths plus three half-baths, and nine antique chandeliers, namely Lumieres a’ Versailles from Foundry/Vidari.

Just as prime is La Cresta’s location—situated near both the business center of Palos Verdes (Peninsula Center) and the Golf Club. This puts it in easy proximity to all schools, shopping and the Beach Cities. Ultimately, the grand French estate avails intimate luxury on the Queen’s Necklace, with sweeping ocean views that make it a must-see for the refined family that likes to let down their hair at home, without sacrificing the finer things in life.

Perfect Balance

This secluded compound, in the heart of Brentwood Park, balances privacy with proximity to the beset of the Westside

Written by Abigail Stone | Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Juliette Hohnen, Douglas Elliman
List Price $9,495,000

With trees shading the front gate and a thick, stone wall cocooning this corner property, 400 N. Bristol Avenue is well-shielded from the outside world. Yet, with a location just north of Sunset Boulevard, in the exclusive Brentwood Park neighborhood near the Brentwood and Riviera Country Clubs, it’s convenient to Pacific Coast Highway and the 405, a short drive to the studios and LAX and close to the Westside’s many delights, from luxury retail to award-winning restaurants. So, if you’re looking for a home that combines access and seclusion, you’ve found it.

Stepping onto the brick pathway that leads to this broad shouldered 1940s era home, with its slanted roof and brick chimney, is like being transported to another time. The exterior’s harmonious lines and the wide expanse of vivid emerald lawn hint at the beauty to come. Even before you reach the deep blue front door, you’re smitten and ensnared by the home’s charms.

The promise of the home’s gracious exterior is magnified once inside. Dark floors polished to a rich, velvety sheen bestowed by the passage of time unfurl throughout the house. A landing just above the front door opens up the front foyer to a skylight bathing the two-story entryway in light. Just to the right of the front door, two guest rooms, their bathrooms meticulously renovated with restored vintage fixtures, allow overnight visitors to enjoy both privacy and the freedom to come and go at their leisure.

The impression of light and openness continues in the public rooms to the left of the entryway. French doors overlooking the front garden illuminate the living room and the formal dining room. The generous proportions of these rooms, unusual to homes of this era, blend period details with modern open-plan living, and each space gently flowing into the next. Whatever style of furniture one leans toward, the curved archways, crown moldings and baseboards will set it off to its best advantage. As the ideal setting for a gathering—from dinner for eight, to a boisterous children’s birthday fete, to a cocktail for a few hundred, to a holiday gathering—they provide instant warmth and intimacy.

Overlooking the backyard, the generous kitchen, breakfast nook and morning room set the stage for a perfect Sunday that finds the whole family making breakfast. Period details and state-of-the-art amenities are interwoven throughout the space. After brunch, curled up in the morning room with a newspaper and coffee, the sun streaming in through the windows and the children splashing in the pool, it’s tempting to clear the calendar, swayed by a better idea: inviting friends over for a late afternoon swim and early supper. After all, with everything at your fingertips—including a sports court and enough immaculately trimmed green lawn to perfect your golf game—there’s little reason to leave.

The guest house, which includes a fully-appointed suite for live-in help, also houses a gym and an office. Deftly separated from the main house, it also offers a comfortable private meeting room that can open to the outdoors and a small screening area. And, should work put you in the public eye, where avoiding shutterbugs is necessary, a back garage and entryway promises a quick escape; a slip away with none the wiser.

Upstairs, the bedrooms offer the same genteel charm found throughout the house. The master bedroom, with its large windows overlooking the back garden, seems to be swathed in greenery, courtesy of trees surrounding the property. Spacious bathrooms and generous closets complete the master suite. The children, on the other hand, have their own wing, which includes two additional bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. It’s no wonder that sleepovers at the house are a regular, coveted invitation.

Nestled within the privacy of your own compound, surrounded by the things you love, with the world at your doorstep—this is what you’ve been dreaming of for years. Reality, though, is even better than you thought.

A True Original

Revolutionizing and Nurturing Authentic Furniture Design


USC alumnus Jerry Helling has revolutionized Bernhardt Design, one of America’s oldest furniture companies, all while tirelessly working to preserve authentic design. Approaching furniture ideas from fresh perspectives and investing in LA County’s young designers, DIGS gets a snapshot of this visionary’s direction.

Since the onset of his career, Jerry Helling, president and creative director of Bernhardt Design, has elevated the company from a family-run wooden furniture business to an internationally acclaimed design brand with a conscious. Celebrating his 25th anniversary with Bernhardt, Helling has accomplished much for the future of streamlined furniture design.

Famously known for collaborating and nurturing fierce talent from all over the world, Helling has brought under Bernhardt’s umbrella such talents as Ross Lovegrove, who designed the famed Go chair, and Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, designer of the cheeky backless-armless sofa in the brand’s recent Colours collection. With a vast hit list of unique and groundbreaking designs from great creatives, Helling shares,

“There’s no particular formula I use to find great designers; I am just attracted to really talented people…not necessarily furniture designers, either. They are typically photographers, fashion designer, artists, or the like. This allows a fresh perspective and approach to design.”

Bernhardt remains a family-owned business, one with a history of being lovingly committed to community and environmental welfare. Helling himself holds an even deeper conviction to maintaining design authenticity and nurturing young talent. One initiative dear to his heart is Be Original Americas, a program created to educate consumers and designers on why we should concern ourselves with original design, which is not limited to furniture design or apparel design or art, but is an architectural, museum and music issue, as well. Helling was the first president of the program—originally a collective idea encompassing 10 different manufacturers and designers that addressed compromised designs (aka knockoffs), taking the problem from a conversation to action. The group offers education through lectures, events and teaching young designers one on one. Now on the board after years of service, Helling explains, “There are environmental, performance, and social issues about where and how these products are made, and in the end, copying a design is stealing.” Thus, the Be Original website calls designers, decorators, architects, musicians, interior designers and anyone in the creative field to join the initiative to protect design originality.

On a similar note, Helling is part of a handful of programs for design students and young designers just starting out, including Tools for School initiative, Contempto and The Carrot Concept in El Salvador, yet his self-proclaimed favorite project, ICFF Studio, is based in Los Angeles County at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Here, students gain professional hands-on experience such as seeing a product from conception to completion then through the sales and marketing process, and, finally, to retail. Bernhardt Design, meanwhile, presents these designs at market, and even pays royalties to students for their original work. Every other week each fall, Helling actually works in the school’s studio, where six local LA design students recently won candidacy for the Bernhardt ICFF scholarship project.

Furniture by Bernhardt Design is available locally at Twentieth in Los Angeles as well Hive Modern. Outside of growing the company’s brand, Helling desires to encourage the design community to strive for accountability and originality to preserve and protect the industry as well as nurture and protect talent.

Written by Joclene Davey | Photography courtesy of Bernhardt Design


The Good Life

Strand views on the cusp of downtown Manhattan Beach

Written Joclene Davey | Photographer by Paul Jonason
Offered by Richard Haynes, Manhattan Pacific Realty, Inc
List Price $3,899,00

There’s no better way to unwind after a long week than parking your car after work on Friday, knowing there’s no reason to use it again until Monday. Equally invaluable, being seconds from the sand and to the South Bay’s hottest restaurants and boutiques. And so, there’s 216 9th Place, a contemporary beach stunner that commands unobstructed Strand-like views, without the Strand-like price tag.

Built with one inspiration in mind—to enjoy life to the fullest—this beach beauty delivers. Mere moments on the home’s upper level and one can attest that it embraces the best of what Manhattan Beach offers: sand, sea, a quaint downtown and, above all, beautiful sunshine. Because, with 25 feet of folding glass doors, the home’s inside and outside become one.

Low-maintenance Innova Concrete Porcelain tile beautifully canvases the entire upper level floor, which stretches to the outer edges of an immense veranda. Through floor-to-ceiling windows in the kitchen, which further the picturesque views, light pours in over the eat-in bar with polished quartz counters and a quartzite island. In addition, the chef’s kitchen includes a Sub-Zero refrigerator and Wolf range, and heaps of counter space complemented by a brilliant trio of contemporary pendants over the island.

The open floor plan on the top level includes a sleek family room with built-in surround sound, and large dining area with a dramatic chandelier and light fixtures all opening onto the balcony for the sensation of dining outdoors.

Elevated design details include an upward sloping roofline and ceiling that leads eyes toward the view. The tongue-and-groove Thermory Ash wood ceiling contains well placed skylights that further saturate the space with light.

The entire home, meanwhile, is painted Revere Pewter, by Benjamin Moore, a refreshingly light color that blurs the lines between gray and taupe. “We chose a very neutral color palette for the interior details to allow [the] focus to be on the views and the surrounding beauty,” says interior designer Stephanie Shafer of Fowler and Moore Interiors. Adds architect Joe Spierer of Joseph Spierer Architects, Inc., “Conceptually, we were aiming toward the view when designing the home,” which features sleek, contemporary finishes and hardware along with unique curiosities including an extraordinary quartz vanity in the upstairs powder room. “As you progress through the home from the bottom floor, the rooms get lighter and airier as if you are floating up from the first floor.” In keeping with this sense of airiness, a floating staircase leaves a smaller footprint throughout, thus creating a more cohesive flow.

Ascend the stairs to find two bedrooms on the second level. The first is the impressive master suite, with enormous windows availing incredible panoramic views. Meanwhile, the artfully designed master bath is an enchanting retreat, featuring a freestanding soaker tub highlighted by a wonderfully unique three-dimensional limestone tile backsplash. Laying the perfect foundation  for this personal escape is beautiful tile work throughout, modern touches and a separate water closet, all finished with sleek countertops, streamlined finishes and ample storage space. The second light-filled bedroom boasts a large balcony, sizable closet and floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as a private bath with beautiful grass cloth tile work in the shower, a modern vanity and an abundance of natural light.

The lower level presents an additional spacious third bedroom with a generous closet and private bathroom. Also on this level is the entryway with a grand chandelier and space for an art-wall, as well as a top-notch security system with LED cameras surrounding the home easily managed via a home automation system. A few steps up from here is the two-car garage and laundry room finished in lovely gray cabinets and a quartz countertop.

Alluring details throughout the home are fluid; including reglet-style moldings that perfectly trim the dark wide plank wood floors covering the lower two levels. Adding to the minimal style is dark cabinetry paralleling the wood floors.

Overall, this gorgeous beach home, created with impeccable views, offers a truly walkable lifestyle, one where the beach, town, and award-wining Blue Ribbon school Robinson Elementary are just steps away. Savor the views and live the good life in this quiet spot on the cusp of downtown Manhattan Beach.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Located in an award-winning mixed-used complex, in the heart of Venice’s thriving Abbot Kinney Boulevard, this light-filled loft offers privacy, quiet and convenience

Written by Abigail Stone | Photography by Paul Jonason & Shooting LA
Presented by Mark Kitching, Partners Trust
List price $2,395,000

Some pleasures of city living are rare in Los Angeles—popping downstairs for a cup of coffee and a croissant at the local bakery; a quick walk around the corner for yoga class; a leisurely stroll home after dinner and drinks; and the joy of window shopping and bumping into neighbors. These charms are more in keeping with cities like Paris, London or New York. If combined with the singular benefits of Los Angeles—proximity to the beach, perfect weather, indoor/outdoor living—the scenario would make for a home encompassing the best of both worlds. If this is your quest, 1121 Abbot Kinney is the answer.

Architect Michael Sant of Sant Architects designed this sleek, white, award winning building that includes eight units in 2006, garnering accolades from its inception. Located on the quiet end of the Boulevard, near Main Street, in the vibrant heart of Venice’s main thoroughfare, the building is just a quick walk from the beach. It’s also within yards of some of the area’s most lauded eateries, among them is Gjusta, The Rose Cafe and Gjelina. The building itself is home to two cafes—3 Square Cafe and Rockenwagner Bakery—as well as a number of exclusive retail shops. Coffee aficionados have their work cut out for them: Bulletproof,  Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle and Tom’s are just some of the shops within steps of the building. And fitness junkies, cross-train to your heart’s content; whether it’s yoga, body-building, circuit training, a fresh-air jog or a long bike ride, your workout space is just outside your doorstep.

Pushing through the steel gate leading upstairs to Unit D is, in a way, almost magical, with the hustle of Venice’s bustling street life left behind. Here, just one flight up, the quiet loft’s serene energy belies the action below. Sunlight, pouring in through large expanses of glass, sparkles off white walls. Polished concrete floors run throughout the space, seamlessly weaving together indoor rooms and outdoor courtyards, public areas and private ones, into one cohesive whole. This Condo has the airy, expansive, open-plan feel of a classic loft, making it ideal for entertaining, whether it’s hosting an intimate dinner gathering or a summer cocktail party. But, with the needs of everyday life in mind, the architect has also thoughtfully created some private spaces as well.

The living room is magnified by an adjacent terrace that is open to the elements, yet sheltered from the street life below. The dining room, at the center of the home,  seems to capture light from all angles. Just past the sleek, all-white kitchen, warmed with wooden countertops, there’s another courtyard, granting privacy to the bedroom and a generous workspace located on its other side. Here’s the space to enjoy breakfast and your morning coffee before the 10-step commute to work. Separated from the main living area, the studio space has been designed with the comforts of those who work at home in mind. Light-filled and expansive, it can fit workstations that underpin a small start-up, the oversized canvases of an artist or a large cutting table, dressmaker dummies and sewing machines needed by a bespoke couturier.

Ipe wood warms the staircase that ascends to the master suite located above the living room, on the second floor, with its own private bath and dressing room. Here, another terrace with a wood burning fireplace offers couples a private space to relax within.

There are those who think the conveniences and delights of urban living can’t be found in Los Angeles. They can be; you just have to be lucky enough to find them. And you are.

Picturesque Coastal Modern Retreat

Hermosa Beach home built around incredible views

Written by Joclene Davey | Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Robb Stroyke, Stroyke Properties Inc.
List price $3,899,000 (1500 Hermosa Avenue)

Beach life is dreamy for those whose toes can be in the sand in under-aminute walk—a dream that this picturesque coastal modern retreat on Hermosa Ave does much to realize. Perfectly situated just north of town, where noise is minimized, yet still close enough to Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach that you can walk to both, await two lovely town-homes listed by Stroyke Properties: 1500 Hermosa Avenue and 1501 Palm Drive. Boasting unobstructed views of sand and sea, both homes sit at approximately 3,000 square feet and offer four bedrooms and three and a half baths. While both are sublime beachfamily homes, each abode has singular advantages.

The Westside home, 1500 Hermosa Avenue, enjoys completely unimpeded landscapes of the ocean from all floors. Approaching the home from the south side, on the second level, one finds two bedrooms connected by a Jack and Jill bath with modern ceramic and glass tile. Also on this level is the master suite boasting breathtaking views, provided by massive, corner-to-corner windows. The master suite also includes an enormous walk-in closet and an additional seasonal closet, plus a luxurious master bath with freestanding Kohler soaker tub and floor-to-ceiling limestone walls, floors and vanity, paired with a Balinese pebble shower pan. Here, and throughout the rest of the home, is a modern aesthetic with clean minimal lines, contemporary fixtures, walnut cabinetry and knotted hickory floors.

“We believe families want to live by the beach but there are not enough properties to accommodate them; so to that end we are building homes suitable for families,” states realtor and principle builder Robb Stroyke. “We create our floor plans, with kids rooms on the same floor as the master suite whenever possible. We believe that time is our greatest resource and it is fleeting, therefore building in close proximity to town for walkability is invaluable.”

Additionally, to provide guests with more privacy, the large guest suite, still with ocean views, was built on the street level of the home. On the same level are the laundry room and four-car garage plus a driveway. There’s also obtainable permit parking in front of the garage, which avails eight parking spaces for the front unit. From this level one ascends by stairs or a full-size residential elevator.

Just above the gorgeous floating staircase with steel tension wires and walnut handrail are huge light-filtering windows. Tongue and groove Spanish cedar ceilings and skylights cover the top floor of the home, creating a heavenly feeling as one gazes out to the ocean through endless windows and folding glass sliding doors.

Opening the folding doors creates an indoor/outdoor living experience, further perfecting the panoramas beyond the large patio. Overhead is a mahogany trellis, but because the space is wrapped in glass railings, nothing impedes the view. Built with an open floor plan, the focal point of the living area is a beautiful fireplace featuring split-cut, floor-to-ceiling limestone, coupled with skylights on each side, allowing for more light. On this same floor is a half-bath with grass cloth tile and Calacatta marble vanity. The open concept dining and kitchen area includes an eat-in bar with waterfall wrapped countertops in gorgeous vein-cut quartzite, and a Japanese glazed tile back splash, all perfectly paired with walnut cabinetry and top-of-the-line professional Thermador appliances.

The second unit is 1501 Palm Drive. Being cleverly designed, the two units,  Palm Drive and Hermosa Avenue, both have a limestone exterior with enormous windows, and are trimmed with copper metal work that will naturally patina over time, along with reclaimed wood, giving the home an eclectic-modern style that lovingly nods to nature. “We live by the sea; therefore, we love designing homes with flora and fauna colors in mind— blues and greens representing the sea, and stone and sand, all denoting the beauty around us,” says Stroyke about his and designer Jon Starr’s similar design ideas. Echoing this sentiment, Starr says, “We wanted to create a timeless home in keeping with the natural elements around us. I like playing off the juxtaposition of slick versus rough between the historical barn wood, the roughness of the stone and blending it with sleek modern lines and design elements.”

While Palm Drive (the back unit) is almost a mirror image of Hermosa Avenue (the front unit) in style, it has its own special qualities. Entering the home through its 10-foot iron and glass door, one finds the master bedroom level. Here, an expansive master suite with ceilings that soar joins a resort like bath touting floor-to-ceiling tile with a generous shower and pedestal tub. Also included on this level is a garage and an impressive laundry room with patterned encaustic tile floor, plus the aforementioned full-size residential elevator. On the lower level are three bedroom suites, each with a walk-in closet and bath.

The top floor introduces fantastic ocean views and a similar floor plan as the front unit, with folding glass doors opening onto the patio and huge windows for maximum viewing potential. The limestone fireplace brings the exterior aesthetic inside, and waterfall wrapped Calcutta Neolith counters with vintage brick backsplash beautifully complement walnut cabinetry.

This unit, however, has something truly unique. Passing just through the top floor on just the other side of the kitchen awaits a staircase to the rooftop deck. The grand 600-squarefoot deck is spa-ready and includes a fire element and outdoor kitchen with slip-resistant driftwood porcelain tile for easy maintenance. The views are, of course, completely unobstructed; one can see all of Palos Verdes with panoramic views to Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Both 1500 Hermosa Avenue and 1501 Palm Drive meet the demands of the modern beach resident with superior views, walkability, family bedrooms on the same floor and an elevated style that complement beach life. They are not, however, limited to these fantastic qualities. Hermosa Beach continues to grow more upscale, courtesy of local builders committed to improving how family homes are built and upgrading Pier Avenue and downtown Hermosa Beach, along with the City of Hermosa Beach updating the landscape by burying power lines, while local families and businesses invest in the area’s award-winning schools.

Ultimately, though, these addresses are ideal homes for those looking to live the dreamy, walkable lifestyle, mere steps from the sand.

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