Heal the Bay Keeps South Bay Shores Sparkling

Beach Clean

Heal the Bay Keeps South Bay Shores Sparkling

In 1985, Dorothy Green, Howard Bennett and a group of L.A. residents banded together to stem the pollution in the Santa Monica Bay. Just a year later, the group, named Heal the Bay, secured a win when Hyperion Treatment Plant stopped dumping partially treated sewage into the bay due to their efforts.

“It’s rare for a South Bay site to be on our Beach Bummer List, which ranks the 10 most polluted beaches in the state each year”

The group lives on today and the Santa Monica Bay, stretching from Malibu’s Point Dume to Palos Verdes, remains their prime focus—meaning that South Bay residents owe much to their work, which range from beach clean-ups and marine education to ocean advocacy and the completion of their highly useful Beach Report Card, which grades local beaches weekly from A to F.

“Heal the Bay has a large group of volunteers and board members that live from Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach,” says Heal the Bay board member and Beach Cities resident Paul Stimpfl. “While our aquarium is in Santa Monica, the collecting of food for the animals that we study comes right off the Palos Verdes coast.”

Ask someone why they live in the South Bay, and chances are it has something to do with the beach: surfing, walking the water’s edge, catching the sunset—priceless activities that have the power to shift one’s mood in a moment.

Good news: “The South Bay historically has some of the best water quality in Los Angeles County,” reports Heal the Bay’s Communications Director Matthew King. “It’s rare for a South Bay site to be on our Beach Bummer List, which ranks the 10 most polluted beaches in the state each year.”

Even better, four South Bay beaches made the organization’s most recent Honor Roll, meaning they scored perfect A+ grades throughout the year: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, Portuguese Bend Cove, Bluff Cove and El Segundo Beach.

Perhaps you’ve seen, or been among the folks who walk the sand, buckets in hand, cleaning trash and debris from the beach. If you have a notion to join them—last year volunteers collectively pulled 800,00 pounds of trash from California’s coast and waterways in just three hours—consider signing up for Coastal Cleaning Day 2018. Happening Sept. 15, it is the world’s largest volunteer day on behalf of the environment, and a powerful way to invest in our most treasured local resource.

Photograph courtesy of Heal the Bay

The Case Oceanview Residences is Taking Shape in Malibu

Last year, designer and builder Scott Gillen purchased one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels in Malibu for $50 million in what has been recorded as the largest land deal in the city’s history.

Now he’s in the midst of creating his latest project on the site: The Case, consisting of a guard-gated community featuring five single-story, Mid-century modern residences situated atop a bluff offering panoramic coastal and mountain vistas.

“When the project was listed for sale, I walked the site and the concept just came to me, and I knew that I was going to buy it. The views from the property are extraordinary, and the project was approved for one-story homes, which I love.”

Designer and builder Scott Gillen’s latest project is The Case, featuring five Mid-century modern homes atop a bluff in the guard-gated Malibu Colony community that are slated for completion in mid-2020.

“I followed the project for many years as it wound its way through a very long entitlement process,” says Gillen, president of UNVARNISHED, who has designed and built 23 houses to date and is for the first time collaborating with an architect, Richard Landry, on the development.

“When the project was listed for sale, I walked the site and the concept just came to me, and I knew that I was going to buy it. The views from the property are extraordinary, and the project was approved for one-story homes, which I love.”

Set on 24 acres at 24108 Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of Malibu—just minutes from the Cross Creek, Malibu Village, Malibu Creek Plaza and Malibu Colony Plaza shopping centers, as well as Nobu Malibu and Little Beach House restaurants—the community is set for completion in mid-2020.

Prices start at $40 million for the estates, which will range from 10,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet and feature lots as large as 5.5 acres. Expect residences reminiscent of the Case Study Houses built primarily in Southern California in the 1950s and ’60s by architects such as Richard Neutra, A. Quincy Jones and Charles and Ray Eames (hence, “The Case”), but with updated touches such as zinc roofs and large open spaces ideal for family living.

“I have lived in Malibu for the past 30 years, and this was truly the last premier undeveloped site in the heart of the city,” says Gillen. “As for the location, it’s an unsurpassed opportunity to create what I like to call an architectural mountain.”

The Case

24108 pacific coast highway
424.346.2616 |

Photographs: courtesy of UNVARNISHED

Pacific Union International Brings its Commercial Brokerage to L.A.

Market Masters Pacific Union International brings its Commercial Brokerage to L.A.

Pacific Union Commercial Brokerage was established in 1974 as a complement to the residential side of business. More than 40 years later—and on the heels of merger with local powerhouse brokerages John Aaroe Group, Partners Trust and Gibson International—the firm has officially launched its Commercial Brokerage in L.A. with a team of 40 professionals headed by President Stephen Pugh, plus the ability to tap in to 50 offices and 1,700 real estate agents statewide. Here, the new entity’s operations manager, Robert Fitzgerald, discusses the move, along with his take on L.A.’s up-and-coming commercial areas and more.

Why is it the right time to bring a new commercial brokerage to L.A.? The commercial real estate market is booming. The region is gaining traction in a variety of areas, from business expansion and low office-vacancy rates to an increase in land sales and strong activity at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Where is the new brokerage located, and why did you choose this area? We’re centrally headquartered in Beverly Hills. The real market advantage for Pacific Union is that we have 22 offices spread out over L.A., and with a commercial team member in every office; Pacific Union Commercial is very neighborhood-centric. We’re able to have a presence in well-established areas such as Venice and Pasadena and in up-and-coming areas such as Highland Park, Baldwin Hills and View Park.

What is the mission of the new brokerage? We have a unique opportunity to leverage the largest independent real estate brokerage in California to help advise and facilitate commercial sales, acquisitions and leasing services, as well as tenant and landlord representation, to our clients’ advantage. We want to provide a value-added service for our buyers and developers; a world-class platform to showcase our sellers’ properties; and expert local deal knowledge in all transactions.

What types of services will you offer? The brokerage will focus on investment sales and leasing, with an emphasis on commercial land development, and apartment and commercial sales. We can provide a property or portfolio analysis that focuses on increasing cash flow and value appreciation. Then we can advise on ways to enhance the value of the assets and provide other investment opportunities.

Tell me a little bit about the team. With my background in hospitality and mixed-use development, I will be point of contact for all commercial agents and staff in the region, and also will direct brand development and marketing. Our executive vice presidents and regional directors include Tim Byrne, an L.A. native who comes from the real estate pension fund advisory field, and Dario Svilder, an expert in the construction and real estate business.

What types of clients are you targeting? Private and institutional clients and developers who are looking for new, ground-up construction opportunities for apartments, mixed-use and hospitality-related uses. We’re looking for investors who are seeking advice on how to increase their property value in this quickly evolving market. With the influx of Silicon Valley tech companies and the ever-expanding entertainment industry seeking new commercial space, we can advise on how to monetize these new opportunities. We also specialize in 1031 transactions, helping those investors to complete the up-leg of their transaction for stabilized, tax-deferred investment properties.

What types of properties will you handle? We are a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and have strong representation in all commercial property types, including multifamily, office, retail, industrial, land and development investments. We specialize in development opportunities and apartment and commercial properties.

What are some of your current top listings? We have 679 N. Spring St. in Chinatown, which offers 5,700 square feet and is a great land opportunity for mixed-use or hotel development [price undisclosed], as well as an 11-unit Beverly Hills offering for $7.775 million. There’s also 6345 Primrose Ave. (10 units in Hollywood Dell for $4.5 million); 409 & 512 S. Rampart Blvd. (77 low-income housing units for $7.35 million); 8301 Santa Monica Blvd. (a three-tenant retail development/redevelopment site for $13 million); 130-6-1316 S. Glendale Ave. (37, 486 square feet of land zoned C3 for $5.5 million); 7038 Sunset Blvd. (33,520 square feet of land zoned C4 for $20.8 million); and 6908 Knowlton Ave. in Westchester (18 newly constructed units for $11 million).

What’s your take on L.A.’s commercial real estate market right now? The commercial real estate market is really moving, and we anticipate this will continue for the foreseeable future. The hottest commercial development areas right now are Atwater Village, the Frogtown arts district, Highland Park, Chinatown, Boyle Heights, Silicon Beach (which recently welcomed Snapchat) and Playa Vista (where Google recently landed).

What does the new commercial brokerage entity mean for Pacific Union International and L.A.? Expanding the Pacific Union Commercial Brokerage means that we can further serve our clients, and the larger L.A. community, by leveraging the company’s vast residential network to bring our clients’ largest investments—their homes and their commercial assets—under one roof supported by the strong pillars of teamwork, trust and integrity.

Photograph: courtesy of Anthony Barcelo

Katie Hodges Interiors with Soul

The projects of Los Angeles-based interior designer Katie Hodges reflect a timeless aesthetic that combines refined and casual, bohemian and glamour, and classic and modern style

Katie Hodges became an interior designer by chance.

“While I was in college pursuing a career in the medical field (to appease my parents), I worked as a personal assistant to an incredible woman building her dream home,” she recalls.

“This was my first encounter with construction and interior design, and it enamored me! After working together for a few months, the owner noticed I had a good design eye, and before I knew it, I was her personal shopper and home organizer. She encouraged me to continue developing my skills and consider a career in design.”

This experience convinced Hodges to quit her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and follow her passion for design, starting out as intern for a small firm.

During that time, she spent her nights learning all the techniques from AutoCAD drafting to Photoshop to InDesign until she was hired as a full-time assistant one year later.

A fast learner and creative thinker, Hodges launched her eponymous interior design firm in Los Angeles four years ago, offering a personalized approach to every project including residential design, construction (new build and remodels), custom furnishings and architectural consulting.

“My favorite part of the job is that it’s both creative and technical,” she says. “The drafting and construction process keeps the left side of my brain occupied, while selecting furnishings, tiles and colors fulfills my creative right brain.”

Earth tones and natural textures characterize Hodges’s warm aesthetic. Sage green, gray, beige and black evoke a sense of timelessness and help her create spaces that feel comfortable and cozy. “Right now, I am really into playing with a deep eggplant color and camel leather,” she adds.

Nestled in an Art Deco building from the 1930s, one of the Los Angeles apartments Hodges designed combines references to the Spanish architecture and laid-back California influences. In the living room adorned with arches, ceiling beams, a plaster fireplace and a Tiffany-glass window, Hodges focused on a neutral color palette while selecting textural elements and eclectic vintage pieces of furniture such as the black leather safari chairs (sourced online from Denmark), a wooden folk chair and a kilim rug, among others touches.

“My main source of inspiration comes from the city of Los Angeles. There is so much architectural diversity that’s globally influenced—Spanish, English, Moroccan, French… It’s all here,” says Hodges, who observes everything around her and likes to surround herself with design books.

She always keeps an eye on online resources including Pinterest and Instagram and, when asked about her dream project, gives a straightforward answer: “A beachside original Colonial or Spanish with large steel windows.”

Fascinated by the charm of historic properties, Hodges infuses warmth and personality into the spaces that she reinvents for today.

Photographs: courtesy of Amy Bartlam

Heavenly Havens

A global firm known for reimagining paradise creates lush island idylls

VITA Planning and Landscape Architecture has been envisioning and creating luxury resorts and residential communities for almost 17 years. Among the number of high-end projects in Hawaii in the global firm’s portfolio include a duo of private beach and golf club communities on the Big Island, as well as a redo of a longtime Maui resort—all boasting classic and traditional cultural elements combined with a modern aesthetic. Think natural and site-appropriate environments dotted with touches of artistic expression.

“We’re extremely sensitive to the social, cultural and environmental scenario of every project,” says Nick Vita, who works alongside his father and founder, Don Vita, as chief operating officer of the San Francisco-based firm, which also completes projects throughout the Continental U.S. and Caribbean islands.

“What we shoot for, and feel is important, is that the landscape and the community doesn’t feel like it’s been designed, but it feels like it’s always been there. We have a passion for place and community and a reverence for the environment.”

The 450-acre private resort of Kohanaiki features a private Beach Club nestled among natural anchialine ponds and historic beach-front sites

Case in point: a pair of Big Island developments, where the firm is creating new environments to blend with the existing natural lava fields and shoreline, all while remaining sensitive to the fabric of the community. Hallmarks of the 700-acre Kukio Beach and Golf Club on the North Kona Coast include preserved shoreline ponds, archaeological sites and parks, and a pedestrian/golf cart trail network that allows homeowners to walk barefoot from their backyards to the beach area.

Meanwhile, at the 450-acre private resort of Kohanaiki, VITA has been working to deliver the Rees Jones golf course, public park along the 1.5-mile shoreline and private Beach Club nestled among natural anchialine ponds and historic beach-front sites. The firm also recently completed work on downtown Honolulu’s Park Lane Ala Moana—a 7.3-acre community featuring eight residential buildings enveloped by lush, tropical landscaping and courtyards—and currently is helping revamp the popular Makena resort in Maui, complete with a 72,000-square-foot Beach Club organized around a central courtyard water garden.

“We’re well-known for bringing the most to any given project based on the natural limits we have to work with,” says Vita. “In addition to that, we have a very sound and holistic understanding of the real estate business and a passion for art. When you marry these four aspects together—culture, art, environment and business—we’ve found a community endures. In doing this, we’ve strived to help the luxury market experience the soul of Hawaii in an authentic way.”

Written by Wendy Bowman
Photographs: courtesy of VITA Planning and Landscape Architecture

Kelly Hoppen and a New Collection for Restoration Hardware

Designer Kelly Hoppen MBE brings au courant appeal to a new textile collection for Restoration Hardware

In designing a new collection of textiles for Restoration Hardware, London-based Kelly Hoppen MBE has brought her sense of easy elegance to one of the most beloved homewares brands on the planet. Graceful and smart, the line of pillows are given to the organic beauty and informal refinement that characterizes Hoppen’s work and the contemporary aesthetic.

At the height of design, Hoppen has designed homes, jets and yachts for private clients worldwide, but this is her first launch for RH. Which is a bit hard to believe. A look at the line and one immediately senses collaborators with complementary styles; Hoppen with her use of mixed materials, texture and graphic attraction, and RH with its harmonious sophistication and holistically appointed environments

For Kelly Hoppen, “Design is full circle, so fashion, product and interior design, and architecture are all one in the same for me… it’s a creative process,” says the self-taught designer. “My range of soft furnishings for RH is an embodiment of my East meets West design philosophy and I absolutely loved creating this new range with a brand that I absolutely adore.”

So if the line of pillows appears worldly, that’s entirely by design. “Everywhere I visit, I’m inspired by the people, the culture, the food, the sounds and smells, the landscape, the buildings, the beaches, and this translates through into my designs,” continues Hoppen. “These furnishings create soft and sumptuous places to curl up and relax and are perfect for every home.”

Newly launched and neutrally hued, the line is plenty plush. Pillows are fashioned from quality materials (pure linen, soft suede, supple leather) and meticulously detailed with monochromatic appliqués, satin stitching, precise pleats, pintucking, and banding. Offered in an array of sizes and with any-space suitability, the collection defines new modern with a season-less essence that resonates so well in Los Angeles.

Luckily, the collection is available here too, at Restoration Hardware stores throughout L.A., including RH West Hollywood, the Gallery on Melrose Avenue (8564 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA, 90069).,

Schuyler Samperton puts her stamp on the design world

Touted tastemaker Schuyler Samperton puts her stamp on the design world—and an exuberant textile line

L.A.-based interior designer Schuyler Samperton never had a master plan, but always followed her instincts.

“When I was little,” says Schuyler Samperton, the lilt in her voice as lovely as the story she tells, “I would play decorator with samples that my father, an architect, brought home from his office.” Design has always been part of my life.”

Cut from the same cloth as her father, Samperton studied art history with thoughts of a career at Christie’s or Sotheby’s before segueing into the music business and working as a publicist for Fox. Then she met designer Michael S. Smith and he offered her a job.

Two weeks later, she inherited design projects; four years after that, Schuyler Samperton (by then a design manager at the firm) left to start her own company with a co-worker. In 2007, she went solo, and her work has been splashed in the pages of Vogue Living, Elle Décor, Architectural Digest and more.

Celebrated for the elegant, easy aesthetic she employs to transform high-end residential and commercial spaces from coast to coast, Samperton’s comfort zone exists somewhere between these geographies.

Originally from Washington DC, she maintains a house on an island in Maine, a tiny apartment in Miami, and heads her firm in Los Angeles; she designs in all vernaculars and brings a heightened sense of multidimensionality to her work, allowing a project’s specific environment to dictate its character.

Samperton has never fully shed her East Coast side; in fact she rather flaunts it, a Sister Parish for the modern day, with the grand dame’s sensibility for curated flourish.

“I love wallpaper. I love worn rugs. I love pattern on pattern and creating a mood with beautiful lighting—that’s what really feeds my soul,” says Schuyler Samperton.

“I love spaces like that,” particularly if the space is a cozy library.  “Oh, that’s sort of my favorite little spot,” she adds, drawing a picture in words. “Wallpaper, a nice fireplace, a pretty rug, tons of art on the walls, a bunch of pillows—that to me is like heaven.”

A version of heaven is exactly what Samperton creates for her sophisticated clientele. “I went through a point where I had a lot of single men as clients,” she laughs. “It was quite an adventurous bunch for a while, which was really fun because they sort of let me do whatever I wanted. I remember saying to one, ‘I’m just feeling a total Big Sur moment, and he said, ‘I love it, just do it.’”


In 2017, the designer launched Schuyler Samperton Textiles with eight patterns in rapturous colorways. Her mother’s scarves inspired some motifs; one is named for the street of her childhood home. Not one to be in a holding pattern, Samperton is currently at work on a 1920’s remodel in Los Feliz, a place for a prominent TV show actress, an apartment for the screenwriters of American Graffiti and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and a jewelry store showroom. It’s a lot, she concedes, but like the spaces she designs, “always something different.”

The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis

Penthouse Collection: A new collection of eight marquee penthouses rise up in the heart of DTLA

The continuing resurgence of Downtown L.A. as a hot investment market has led the way for some of the city’s tallest, most luxurious projects. Chief among them is Metropolis Los Angeles, Greenland USA’s mixed-use development consisting of four towers replete with more than 70,000 square feet of retail space, top-of-the-line residences and unparalleled amenities.

The crown jewel of the property? The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis atop the 38-story Tower 1, with eight newly completed two-story homes presenting breathtaking jetliner views from Griffith Park and the San Gabriel Mountains to the coastline and beyond.

“In recent years, Downtown has emerged as one of the most vibrant communities in L.A., with a host of great dining, entertainment and cultural destinations including L.A. Live, Staples Center and The Financial District,” says Mike Leipart, managing partner of The Agency Development Group, who is leading the sales and marketing efforts at Metropolis and is working in partnership with James Harris and David Parnes to co-list the penthouses. “With the addition of great neighborhood amenities—including Whole Foods, big-box retailers and boutique fitness studios—professionals who previously worked in Downtown and commuted can now comfortably call DTLA home.”

The Jean-Gabriel Neukomm-designed Penthouse Collection includes four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom residences ranging from 1,735 square feet to 3,534 square feet, with prices from $2.194 million to $6.388 million. Interiors for the contemporary, two-story homes have been crafted by Harley Ellis Devereaux and Hirsch Bedner Associates, with first-class touches including floor-to-ceiling windows, automated shades, Caesarstone countertops, Miele and Bosch appliances, wine fridges, solid oak flooring, Toto and Waterworks bath features, and Nest Learning Thermostats.

Expect expansive floor plans that separate gathering and entertaining spaces from sleeping areas, with stand-out features including great rooms with towering window walls and open, gourmet kitchens, and opulent master suites with sweeping vistas, spa-style baths and walk-in closets.

Among the amenities and services: a 24-hour lobby attendant and dedicated concierge, and a clubhouse with indoor lounge and chef’s kitchen, resort pool with Jacuzzi, cabanas and lounge. A sky park boasts fire pits, a barbecue area, fitness and yoga studio, game and screening rooms, a meditation garden and a dog park with bathing station.


“The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis presents a unique opportunity for those seeking the finest in luxury living high above all Downtown L.A. has to offer,” says Leipart. “These penthouses will raise the bar of luxury living in Downtown L.A., and we are honored to bring them to market.”

Penthouse Collection at Metropolis

889 Francisco St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
855.657.8300 |

Photographs: Courtesy of Metropolis

Norton Simon Museum Stages an Exhibit of Ellsworth Kelly’s Lithographs

Uncommon Bond

Norton Simon Museum stages an exhibit of artist Ellsworth Kelly’s lithographs

In the 1960s, artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015) started creating lithographic prints. At the time the American artist was midway through a successful art career and had confined himself to sketches and sculpture and painting. His first two collections of lithographs, started at roughly the same time, are a study in contrasts, and how things that appear very different on the surface can have more in common than one might initially think.

Currently on display at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Line & Color: The Nature of Ellsworth Kelly exhibits these two collections side by side: Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs is a collection of brightly colored abstract works; Suite of Plant Lithographs is a classicist’s study, figurative and sparse, of plants, flowers and fruit.

Photographs (from left) Blue and Orange and Green (Bleu et Orange et Vert), 1964-65 Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015), Lithograph on Rives BFK paper, 35-3/8 x 23-7/8 in. (89.9 x 60.3 cm), Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist, P.1969.019, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and Maeght Éditeur; Camellia II, 1964–65 Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015), Transfer lithograph on Rives BFK paper 35-3/8 x 24-1/4 in. (89.9 x 61.6 cm), Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist, 1969, P.1969.044, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and Maeght Éditeur

Though visually different, the artist meant for the two collections to mingle. Their connection? The soft geometric shapes of Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs were informed by the clear-cut lines and silhouettes of the plant lithographs—and vice versa. “Shape and color are my two strong things,” said Kelly in 2012. “And by doing this, drawing plants has always led me into my paintings and my sculptures.”

The different aesthetics of the two collections makes sense given Kelly’s biography, which includes postwar years spent in Paris studying classic art forms—and drawing plants—followed by a return to America in the 1950s that coincided with a burgeoning Abstract Expressionist movement in New York City. It was there that Kelly set up shop in Lower Manhattan alongside Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and others, and his bold, abstract works found a home.

Accompanying the exhibit are two of Kelly’s paintings. At nearly 30 feet long, “White Over Blue” consists of two oversized panels that hand alongside each other, commissioned for Montreal’s Expo 67. The other is “Red Orange White Green Blue,” a collage of five panels joined together to create an unbroken spectrum across the wall. Should one find oneself seeing double, the exhibit runs through Oct. 29.

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Written by: Constance Dunn    

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