Designed by renowned AIA architect Paul R. Williams, this elegant, gracious and glamorously detailed home offers timeless beauty and a pedigreed past
It’s impossible to discuss the history of Los Angeles without devoting a large portion of the conversation to architect Paul R. Williams.
The first African-American admitted to the AIA, he came of age as did the city, and created homes for some of its most illustrious citizens, from Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant to Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Williams’ designs became synonymous with Hollywood glamor; his elegantly composed homes boast perfectly proportioned rooms with sumptuous details, including tall ceilings, exquisitely rendered cabinetry, sinuous archways and curving staircases. Equal parts show and substance, their opulence is balanced with restraint, sophistication, and warmth.
This Williams-designed home is a case in point: working as well for the dance of entertaining as it does meeting the demands of daily life—a rare combination, even without the architectural pedigree.
Though many know nothing of Williams, this “architect to the stars” was a master of his craft—a fact that is immediately clear well before one steps inside the house at 241 N. Rockingham, Los Angeles CA 90049.
Situated just north of Sunset and slightly east of Mandeville Canyon, the home that Williams designed for actress Zasu Pitts in 1936 is set back on the property, the sweeping expanse of lawn immediately suggesting luxury and privacy.
Williams was an architect to the stars and a master of his craft.
Surrounded by old growth hedges and punctuated by two tall trees with branches that reach to the sky dappling the lawn with a playful chiaroscuro, the shade and sun elegantly shield the home and its happenings from prying eyes.
Here’s the setting for an elegant lawn party, a well-attended charity picnic or a wedding, the length of lawn promising plenty of time for a few hundred guests to get a good look at the bride’s intricate gown.
Tucked into one corner of this emerald stretch of grass, a fully outfitted playground puts swings and a jungle gym within steps of the front door, offering children a chance to work off their energy without venturing outside the safety of home.
The parallel long driveway, which leads to the home’s attached three-car garage, accommodates a dozen cars.
Of course, cameras underline this feeling of security.
Those who make their way along the long slate pathway to the front door can’t help but admire the graceful proportions of the Georgian-style home.
The initial impression of the structure, elegance balanced by an unexpected yet instantly inviting warmth, is confirmed the moment one steps inside the formal entryway, its intricate parquet floor as welcoming as a cool breeze.
The curving staircase—a Williams signature—playfully coils towards the second floor.
To the left, the library that looks out over the front lawn channels a dream of a home office as envisioned by a set decorator.
Rich with dark wood bookcases and carved cabinets created by one of Williams’ collaborators, renowned woodworker Sam Maloof, it projects an air of studiousness and accomplishment.
A fireplace reinforces this perception, yet there’s whimsy here as well: a secret staircase, tucked behind one panel, leads to the master bedroom, a pathway seemingly made for middle-of-the-night inspiration and productive bouts of creative energy.
Elegant archways form a graceful path throughout the main floor, undulating from the large living room completely, with yet another fireplace and a bowed window (the ideal spot for a window seat), to the intimate morning room and casual family room.
French doors open all of these rooms to the back lawn, which looks out over the treetops of Mandeville Canyon and leads down to the glamorous pool area.
While previous owners of the home have recognized its historical and cultural significance, it has undergone updates that bring it in line with the needs of a modern family.
Williams himself was a fervent believer in renovations to make a home relevant to the time.
Working with an unprecedented sensitivity to the home’s design, architects Tichenor and Thorp, in conjunction with interior designer Michael S. Smith (known for his work on the Obama White House), has updated the house with contemporary conveniences and subtle luxuries—like the Zuber wallpaper in the morning room, a pattern that dates back to the 1800s—that layer it with texture.
Other upgrades include the terraced garden that leads down to the home’s chicken coops and a grove of fruit trees and Hollywood Regency-style pool house.
A seamless match to the main home, it’s the ideal spot for a gym, with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and windows suffusing the space with light.
After a concentrated hour of deep muscle work or a private Vinyasa flow session, one’s ultimate reward is a dip in the home’s pool, refreshing strokes accompanied by the musical splashing of the fountain.
There’s no need to wander back to the house for a shower: a separate bath house including a sauna is here.
The dressing room above the master suite was another project that found saviors in Tichenor and Thorp Architects and Michael S. Smith.
Inspired by the Oviatt Building, the expansive space, accessed by marble stairs that swirl upwards from the behind the master bathroom’s glamorous tub, includes room for four seasons worth of clothing for one couple, a wardrobe to be stored and beautifully displayed, as well as space in which to indulge in preparations for a formal occasion.
A back room, currently being used as a music practice room and extra bedroom, and which can also be reached via a winding staircase rising from behind a door in the hallway, might be easily folded into this sumptuous closet, offering an area in which to house special gowns, jewelry cases or custom footwear.
The closet is only one facet of the luxurious master suite. Its opulence extends to the marble bathroom, featuring vaulted ceilings and fireplace.
Windows in the shower and above the double sink capture the home’s magnificent treetop views within their panes.
No surprise that there’s room here for a chaise lounge. This magnificent setting is a fitting partner to the main room’s expansive size.
With its wall of windows, a generous terrace that captures the Palisades Riviera in its sight lines and a sitting area with a fireplace—not to mention its direct access to the office downstairs—this space rivals five-star retreat.
The other en-suite bedrooms on this floor are also plush, their attention to detail manifesting in meticulously designed closets and dressing areas, as well as sumptuous bathrooms that elevate even the simple act of getting dressed.
The light-filled, oversized rooms ensure that every member of the family is well cocooned. In addition, an ample room sprawled over the garage provides space for a family’s junior members to entertain friends, enjoy crafting, practice music, or study.
A house born to play host, its eat-in kitchen is spacious with an opulent pantry and capacious marble counters that cater to the needs of a private chef.
Whether mealtime is a casual affair on a table set up on the back lawn, a subdued business dinner with meticulously plated dishes whisked noiselessly to the formal dining room by a discrete staff, an informal evening cocktail party around the pool, or midnight poker in the game room, all is easily manageable.
A nearby laundry room, tucked behind the family room, maintains party linens and beach towels in pristine condition.
One would expect prospective house guests to quickly RSVP if offered a chance to gather and linger in this setting—indulging the pool, the cocktail hour, the sun’s last flash of vibrant color as it sinks into the Pacific.
This is the measure of a true architectural masterpiece: a beautiful view, guests reluctant to leave, picturing life here.
It’s even better than imagined.
Jody Fine of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | 310.230.3770
& Monica Antola of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | 310.230.3755
241nRockingham.com | Offered at $16,250,000
L.A. designer Tim Campbell re-envisions a Holmby Hills abode to reflect the character of its culturally landmarked fountain by iconic Mexican architect Luis Barragán
Designer Tim Campbell of Studio Tim Campbell, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, is a case in point of what can happen when cultures collide in a one truly visionary project.
In this case, the reconceptualization of a haphazardly designed home in Holmby Hills to take the place from “funky little L-shaped house” to one consistent with the style of Mexican modernist Luis Barragán, who decades before created the home’s striking courtyard fountain.
A Los Angeles cultural monument, Campbell Divertimento Fountain 637 evokes the form of a Mayan temple and sits on a parcel that was originally part of a much larger estate from which it was eventually subdivided, leaving behind only a parking garage.
Converted indiscriminately, the structure was variously Tudor, Spanish, and Cape Cod— “architectural goulash,” Campbell calls it. Sisters and Hollywood actresses once owned the home, which was eventually sold to Douglas Campbell (no relation to Tim Campbell), whose work as a commodities trader frequently took him between the U.S. and Mexico.
In Mexico, he learned of Luis Barragán. Taken by the architect’s work, Campbell asked his landscape designer to create a swimming pool in the style of Barragán.
The designer, in turn, wisely suggested that Campbell go straight to the source. The rest is revisionist history.
Campbell approached Barragán with the project and construction on the fountain began in the 1980s. Little was easy. Barragán wanted red cantera stone at a quarry in Mexico that had been closed for several years; Campbell funded the building of a road so that the quarry could be accessed and the stone extracted.
During the course of construction, Barragán died, as did the business partner who succeeded him in assuming oversight of the project.
Still, Campbell persisted and the fountain was completed later in the decade. He lived in the house until his death.
Next to acquire the property was a developer—and a client of Campbell the designer.
Together they walked the property and Campbell, who has worked on a number of Modernist buildings—a few Cliff Mays, some Wallace Neffs and Richard Neutra’s Singleton House included—suggested a home that Barragan himself might have designed had he the opportunity.
But in such a way that it would not upstage the fountain. To that end, the house would be white; a neutral in comparison to the bold fountain.
Campbell reoriented traffic flow in the house and reduced its square footage to create more of a courtyard setting. The result is something referential of Barragán but “does not mimic anything he had done before,” Campbell says.
This was a way to pay a quiet homage to his work.
Quiet, perhaps, but a glorious tribute all the same.
Famed photographer Julius Shulman, of Case Study House renown, agreed to photograph the home that features the form, texture and functionalist influence of Barragán, and experts have recognized Campbell’s work as something the Mexican master might have indeed designed.
To this, even the characteristically humble Campbell says, “I felt rather vindicated by that.”
Despite his accomplishments, architect and designer Jean-Louis Deniot continues to constantly challenge himself. He likes to experiment, take risks and get out of his comfort zone. “Usually, my next project is my dream project!” he says.
Based in Paris, Deniot works all over the planet, designing private homes and creating furniture and lighting collections for different brands, including Jean de Merry, George Smith, Pouenat Ferronnier, and Baker, the American designer and manufacturer of fine home furnishings founded in 1890. “I discovered Baker when I started to spend a lot of time in New York, 15 years ago,” Deniot explains. “Since then, it has been at the back of my mind to create a collection for them. I didn’t expect that would happen so quickly.”
Last year, the 80 versatile, layered pieces of the Deniot collection for Baker entered the market, blurring the line between art and furniture. The pieces act as chameleons, with the ability to either stand out or mingle with antiques as well as mid-century and contemporary finds, depending on the finishes one chooses. “I love all of the pieces with metallic accents because they catch the light and shine,” he confesses. “It’s like jewelry for furnishing.” Handcrafted by artisans in Italy—Venice, and on the island of Murano, in particular—the lighting and mirrors incorporate age-old techniques and modern elements such as hand-blown glass, gesso, resin and water-jet designs.
Drawing inspiration from fashion, art, architecture, nature, music, past projects and travel, Deniot ably mixes design genres from classic to modern. Promoting harmony and well-being through design, he uses different materials and combines geometric shapes and curved silhouettes. “My collection for Baker represents the variation between classic-chic and cool academic that is inherent to my style,” Deniot says. “The designs have been influenced by the styles of various cities. Some have a hint of Paris, others of Vienna or Los Angeles. I am a citizen of the world in that I really embrace and love all cultures and countries I am exposed to, and I think my collection reflects that.
“I would call my Baker designs ‘classic contemporary’ or ‘futuristic-classic,’ ” he adds. “I was influenced by vintage furnishings of the 20th century and by the sense of presence in grand, aristocratic decors. But I still want my designs to have a relaxed side and a sexy elegance that make them feel timeless.”
This fall, Baker introduced 25 new products of the Denoit line, including mahogany and brass case goods, upholstered bar stools and a Carrara, brass and bronze table lamp, among other pieces. Featuring exquisite details such as Murano crystal bubbles, the Silice table lamp is one of the highlights. Mounted on a polished brass base, it references a rock crystal obelisk, according to the designer. “My work is always about geometry and silhouette,” he says. “All these creations were designed to complement the existing collection. Some focused more on functionality, others are quite poetic; but all of them are intriguing and sculptural.”
In addition, Deniot continues to work on private properties and commercial projects across all continents. Among his most impressive realizations are a 30,000-square-foot palace in India—which took him five years—a 20,000-square-foot private home in Knightsbridge, London, a revamped original Paul Williams property in Beverly Hills, townhouses on New York’s Upper East Side, and Hotel Nolinski in Paris. “Our work deals with how a space is organized with an architectural approach, also in terms of furnishings, the selection of materials, forms and proportions in order to add elegance,” Deniot says. “The interiors we design emphasize substance, scale and light.”
Sensual curves and geometric symmetry, clean lines and organic energy, every space and piece of furniture created by Jean-Louis Deniot is an ode to the past with an eye toward the future.
“We favor the strategic over the thematic, the cosmopolitan over the typological, and the atmospheric over the static. Ever-focused on the contemporary, we take diligent note of the past while day-dreaming the future.” This is how Rafael de Cárdenas, founder of Architecture at Large, describes his work.
Before taking the plunge into architecture in 2006, de Cárdenas started his career as a menswear designer at Calvin Klein, then became a creative director at the special effects production house Imaginary Forces—two experiences that forged his aesthetic.
In his words, de Cárdenas is “interested in culture at large—fashion, cinema, music, art—and how quickly those things change and evolve.” He draws inspiration from eclectic references to design conceptual, artful and sculptural spaces. His just-released book, Rafael de Cárdenas/Architecture at Large: RDC/AAL (Rizzoli), features some of his most iconic projects. With its mirror-lined walls and malachite trompe-l’oeil, the Delfina Delettrez boutique in London is at once glamorous and intimate, elegant and exuberant. The two-story fritted glass façade, patterned with triangular arrays of Baccarat’s flagship in New York City, catches the eyes of passersby, inviting them to discover a space where black granite, crystal chandeliers, niches of white gold leaf and diamond-motif details in the wood flooring evoke the preciousness of all items on display. In Saint Petersburg, Russia, Au Pont Rouge department store is nestled in a historic building while inside, a contemporary look and concept prevail.
For private projects, de Cárdenas starts his creative process by writing a fantasy script where he imagines the client’s ideal lifestyle. “Then as the project gets more real, the fantasy aspect is embedded in the design’s DNA,” he says. An admirer of Dutch contemporary architect Rem Koolhaas and Austrian modernist architect Adolf Loos, de Cárdenas also sees travel and new experiences as ways to stay creative, explaining, “You have to get out of your comfort zone.”
Written by Jenn Thornton
“WE ARE A WOODWORKING COMPANY, YES, BUT WE ARE ALSO ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS, CONSULTANTS, METAL WORKERS, CLASSICAL CARVERS, INSTALLERS AND MORE.”
– Michael Merritt, Merritt CEO
Our attraction to wood is as enduring as the material itself. When it’s well crafted, honed with a sure hand, there is a no more authentic aesthetic. Wood is substance, legacy and deep roots. It’s also the métier of the remarkable family enterprise Merritt.
Founded as a regional woodworking firm in 1967 by George A. Merritt, the heritage company is a model operation, helmed by its namesake’s sons, G. Michael Merritt (CEO) and Keith Merritt (executive vice president). “Our father instilled in my brother Keith, and myself, a respect for the tradition and craft of woodworking,” says Michael Merritt. “This is paramount and fundamental to delivering the exceptional results that we do. He also taught us to exceed expectations—and that is largely what has fueled our growth.” That while also embracing new technologies and time-honored techniques, resulting in work informed by the bedrock principles of precision and passion.
Today, the international provider of interior solutions for residential estates and superyachts is a standard bearer of craftsmanship in its category that has blasted far past the boundaries of the traditional woodworking outfit. “We are a woodworking company, yes,” says Michael, “but we are also engineers, architects, consultants, metal workers, glass workers, classical carvers, installers and more.” Which means vast capabilities and full-scope services. Bringing the entire breadth under its umbrella has allowed Merritt to jettison the need for subcontractors and outside vendors, giving the company complete control of its most important asset—quality.
Merritt’s painstakingly detailed product has earned the devotion of some of the world’s leading interior designers and architects. The company has worked on a wide range of projects, including a modern beach house in Malibu designed by Richard Meier and Christian Liaigre; a Manhattan penthouse designed by Robert A.M. Stern and Nathalie Droulers; and a massive traditional residence in East Hampton designed by Hart Howerton and Bunny Williams.
Although wood is a more orthodox material, it is not outmoded, and thus suitable for any interior style. Wood has sensibilities of strength, but is poetic in a most contemporary sense. “People have worked with wood, crafted things of necessity as well as luxury, since the beginning of civilization,” says Michael. “It is very primal.” It’s also organic, with a natural beauty that’s eternal. Given the pace of today’s world, there’s comfort in this kind of continuity, whether it’s wood or a woodworking brand.
“No matter how advanced society and technology become, we all still crave things that are made from simple, raw materials,” says Michael. “Whether we actually want to use our hands to make those things or are people who admire the work and results, we all still feel that connection to the timelessness of wood, marble, iron–basic, earthbound materials that do extraordinary things.”
Written by Wendy Bowman
The real estate agents for this glamorous Stern + Kind-designed residence have affectionately dubbed it the “House of Perspectives.” Certainly peering through every single window or wall, or gazing at any reflection on glass, leads to discoveries that feel like magic—even in the shower.
“It’s one of the few properties we’ve seen where attention has been paid to space, time and form at every level,” says Blair Chang of The Agency, who is co-listing the Italian modernist/Japanese architectural home with Victoria Gureyeva of Aces Up Inc. for $5.9 million.
“Stern + Kind are an innovative studio that specializes in multidisciplinary and multisensory experiential design, having worked in architecture, fashion, product, music, and live experiential and emergent technologies—with an emphasis on engaging all five senses in every design challenge. This property is a perfect example of S+K’s understanding of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.”
Situated at 7431 Franklin Ave.—in the heart of Hollywood Hills, convenient to Runyon Canyon, restaurants, shopping and entertainment—the two-level residence is a case study for indoor-outdoor living. Think patios boasting wall cut-outs that poetically frame sections of the sky; sun bouncing off the 21-foot-tall perforated brass façade at the main entrance; and a tranquil saltwater pool flanked by a 36-foot-long abstract green wall. A rich, varied textured palette throughout sports subdued colors and artisan-crafted details as a symbolic nod to the five elements (even referenced in the names of plants such as firesticks).
“The materials (leather, custom-mixed Japanese shou-sugi-ban charred wood, concrete, warm white oak, rare and leather-finished marble) and hardware (raw brass, copper and chrome) all tie in to its luxe, brutalist-meets-Zen design,” says Gureyeva.
“It’s the perfect combination of form and function, masculine and feminine, elaborate and subtle.”
Among the wow-factor features: four bedrooms (most notably, a spacious master suite with a walk-in closet and dual outdoor patios with commanding city views), as well as a gourmet chef’s kitchen, an indoor-outdoor living space completed by Fleetwood glass doors and full smart-home technology. Outdoors, the 9,700-square-foot lot also includes five various but connected seating areas completed by meadows of fescue grass and gorgeous drought-tolerant gardens.
“The most unique aspect of the home is its brass façade, which in person feels like an art installation,” says Gureyeva. “The most different aspect is that this is far from a contemporary box—the love and care of every master artisan who worked on it resonates throughout. There is, quite literally, nothing like it on the market in Los Angeles…it tells its own story and invites you to write yours.”
BLAIR CHANG, THE AGENCY AND VICTORIA GUREYEVA, ACES UP INC.
LIST PRICE $5.9 MILLION
Written by Abigail Stone | Photography Courtesy of Paul Jonason
Offered by Anthony Marguelas, Amalfi Estates
List Price $4,795,000
A view of the ocean and easy access to town. A rambling home by a noted architect. A house imbued with history and movie lore. California style permeated with a touch of classic East Coast comfort. And, of course, beauty in spades, with wood-burning fireplaces, a master suite with generous closet space and a sumptuous bathroom. Looking for a home that checks off all the criteria on your list can be challenging. Until coming across this hidden gem at 17751 Tramonto Drive.
Located in a quiet enclave, just a short drive up the Pacific Coast Highway and easily reachable from Sunset, this perfectly positioned home accesses the mellow charms of Malibu, the polish of Pacific Palisades and the sophistication of Santa Monica with a few minutes drive. Beverly Hills, Westwood and Brentwood are also within reach (a boon in these traffic-intense times). “Perfectly positioned” can also describe this home’s setting: on a corner lot on Tramonto Drive, perched high upon a promontory. Wrap-around windows showcase a breathtaking and ever-changing view of the ocean. On a clear day, the panorama seems to extend across to Catalina and all the way north to Point Dume. Should one worry that other homes will interrupt the view, height restrictions on surrounding properties ensure that it’ll be yours to enjoy, unobstructed, for generations to come.
Dating back to 1947, the home, designed by Mid-Century architect Alfred“Hap” Gilman (who’s also behind the Santa Ynez Inn), was one of the first residences to be built in the area. Naturally, given its long history, it’s also the repository of legend. According to actor Peter Fonda, who references the home in his liner notes for the soundtrack to Easy Rider, the house, which was once owned by fellow actor Robert Walker Jr., inspired The Byrds’ music for the cult-classic film. With its clean lines, wide expanses of glass, post and beam construction, and access to gardens from each area in the house— all Gilman signatures—it’s easy to see the home as the muse for an experiment in modern living and out-of-the-box thinking. Then there’s the architect’s playful side, revealed in ingenious nooks and crannies, hidden private spaces and quirky details, such as the window over the built-in office in one of the Jack-and-Jill bedrooms found in the front of the house. Seamless updates by the current owners enhance this home’s natural gifts: solid construction, a celebration of the surrounding landscape, a balance of public and private spaces and tons of natural light. And, in the fall, liquid amber trees turn a brilliant scarlet, washing the property with the beauty of an East Coast fall.
The kitchen, dining room and living room encompass most of the first floor, offering easy access to the backyard (where, should you desire it, there’s plenty of room for a generous pool) to enjoy the mesmerizing ocean view. Though these spaces merge into one another—a bonus for the large parties this home can easily accommodate—each is deftly set apart from the other to better balance the needs of daily life, allowing occupants to enjoy time together while still pursuing their own interests. A study, just around the corner from the living room portion of the main floor, takes full advantage of the home’s views and supplies a bit more privacy for times when solitude is an absolute necessity. Skylights ensure that every room is bright and inviting.
This home is full of secret sanctuaries; and older children will appreciate having their own space. The bedroom just beyond the kitchen faces out to the garden. Above it, the sprawling master bedroom suite, which extends over most of the second floor on this side, mimics the view from the study: a mesmerizing seascape that never fails to enchant. There’s enough space here for a well-appointed sitting room. This retreat also includes a step down master bathroom, with a bathtub big enough for two, and, around the corner, a generous walk-in closet.
More solitude is found in the aforementioned trio of rooms at the front of the house. With its long balcony overlooking the backyard, they lend themselves to a variety of uses: as the perfect home office set-up, for independent teens or grown-up children, or inviting private quarters for live-in assistance. Hidden downstairs is another retreat: a basement finished as a cool screening room.
However, it’s at sunset that this home truly glows. The sun dipping into the ocean spreads its warmth throughout the house, reaching into every corner. It’s an aspect of Los Angeles only a few are privileged to experience in person. In this home, you’re one of them.
Written by Wendy Bowman
Where can you find a powder room that doubles as an art installation with antique glass tiles and floral-and-striped wallpaper; a high-tech media room highlighted by a custom-painted ceiling mural and petite wine room hidden within a closet; and a nursery showcasing a handmade macramé baby swing and puppet theater? All under one roof, at the 53rd annual Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, one of the country’s oldest and largest home and garden tours.
Running through May 21, this year’s tour features a stately English Tudor-style home that has been completely redone by more than 20 of the area’s top interior and exterior designers using the latest color trends, concepts, products, and technology. Visitors also can peruse boutiques featuring 22 curated merchants from throughout California offering a wide range of items, including jewelry, linens, gourmet food, clothing and gifts, and also enjoy everything from gourmet sandwiches to mini-pizzas at The Wisteria Terrace Restaurant and Ivy Court.
Designed by noted architectural firm Marston & Van Pelt, the home was built in 1916 for $25,000 for lawyer-turned-actor Samuel Hinds (best known for his role as Peter Bailey in the 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life) and his wife. Most recently, the residence has hosted several movies and TV shows, including La La Land (its loggia and garden backdropped the garden party where Ryan Gosling’s character played the piano); Beaches (as the home of Barbara Hershey’s character); and the 1985 version of Alice in Wonderland, along with episodes of Mad Men and Parks and Recreation.
“One of the reasons this house is so special is that it’s never been a Showcase House before,” says Dana Marevich, the tour’s 2017 benefit chair. “Additionally, this house is surrounded by mature trees. You can’t see it from the street, so a lot and people are very curious to view the inside of the home.” Visitors to the residence will find more than 7,000 square feet of living space including six bedrooms, six baths, a living room, library, dining room, conservatory, kitchen, laundry room, servants’ quarters and enclosed sleeping porch. Outdoors, 2 acres of park-like grounds feature numerous rose bushes, an arbor, more than 100 trees of various species, a small stream with waterfall and footbridge, along with a pool, badminton court and plentiful seating areas.
Those seeking design ideas will find inspiration in areas such as a teen bedroom decorated with endless shades of gray to create a monochromatic glam-rock vibe; a light and airy kitchen outfitted with an exquisite china hutch adorned with beautiful carvings; and an elegant, modern dining room crowned by a twisted Venetian glass chandelier. The loggia is one of the estate’s most picturesque locales, complete with a palette of navy and peacock blue, with gold accents, aged patina ceiling and romantic sheers. Parking and complimentary shuttle service for this year’s tour available at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. Tickets are $35-$45, with proceeds going to local music and arts programs.
For more information, call 714.442.3872
or visit PasadenaShowcase.org.
Written by Constance Dunn | Photography Courtesy of Paul Jonason
It’s a strange idea that a creative person must work in a single lane; confine oneself to producing paintings, sculptures or other works in a single discipline. It’s a concept certainly not adhered to by Dan Janotta, whose output includes paintings, furniture and home decor—when he’s not designing buildings. “See those models?” the artist asks while sitting behind the desk in his new Hermosa Beach gallery, pointing to a series of crisp-white 3D architectural models that rest along the counter. “That’s what I do during the day. I design high rises.” A senior design architect who’s been with the same Los Angeles firm for 30 years, Janotta recounts exploring furniture design in the early 1990s and, for a brief spell, having a store where he sold his works. “It’s like designing a building,” Janotta says of the discipline. “You have to come up with a concept. You have to figure out how the measurements work.” Then there are materials, engineering, and so forth. About a dozen years later, Janotta expanded his creative repertoire by painting—first watercolors, then acrylics, now oil. “It’s a contrast to what I do at work,” he says, citing the painstaking detail and precision, not to mention long computer hours, work with clients, and creative compromise of his profession. “When I paint it’s just me and the canvas. A different creative energy.”
To showcase his works on his terms, Janotta (who’s lived in both California and Florida for many years, and currently resides in Marina del Rey) recently opened a sunny, intimate gallery amid a new cluster of boutiques that line Pier Avenue, a block or two from where the street meets the beach. Much of the walls are given over to Janotta’s canvases—oil paintings depicting the surf-meets-sidewalk sensibilities of current-day Los Angeles, with plenty of beach scenes and cityscapes. “I like to bring architectural influence to beach scenes and surfing,” says Janotta, referencing perspective, color and composition, where his formal design background comes into play most prominently.
There’s also a revolving display of his furniture designs, including a birch plywood coffee table with part of an airplane wing in its center, and a Hawaiian shirt lamp—where a starched, antique shirt cloaks a lamp poised on a Koa wood base, with a fishing lure switch dangling below. Home accessories range from printed pillows to lamps. Janotta designs some items; all are selected to be consistent visually: geometric, un-ornamental and influenced by the clean lines and patterns he works with in his architectural practice.
The gallery, opened in January, is the ideal vehicle for the entrepreneurial-minded artist to exercise control over how his works are marketed and displayed. “It’s better from a business point of view and from a creative point of view,” says Janotta, who can freely choose what he wants to showcase and, creatively unconstrained, can usually be found painting away at his gallery on Saturday afternoons, his easel set up inside or on the sidewalk. “It’s satisfying to have everything in one place so it explains the whole story, from painting to furniture to other designs. It’s a one-stop shop.”