The Joffre project in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, CA, is a renovation of the interior of this mid-century home and a rear yard redesign. The home was originally designed by Rodney Walker and built in 1947. Walker was one of the famed Case Study House Program architects. This home was later the personal residence of legendary Mid-Century Modernist architect A. Quincy Jones, who himself was a Case Study House architect. The home’s structure and design was classic mid-century, but lacked modern amenities and considerations for the way we live today. Our firm’s focus on honoring the original architect’s intentions, while modernizing the home, delivered in another stunning renovation.
Original mid-century architectural details are highlighted and embraced in this renovation. A wall of windows lines the rear of the home with an open and expansive view of the backyard. We kept the brick fireplace as the focal point of the room. The clerestory windows on the front elevation are the perfect frame for floating shelves for much needed storage and display space, as well as a media center. Orange doors punctuate the space and bring a fun, bright accent to the calming tones of the room’s interior design. Opening the wall to the kitchen and expanding the original footprint was essential to improving the function of the space. Determined to improve the original compact workspace, we extended a peninsula into the den and pushed the cabinetry down to match. This created a wall of pantry storage and plenty of drawers in the island for all the kitchen gadgets of modern living. Around the hood vent, we installed floating wood shelves stained in a natural tone, which brings an earthy vibe so reticent of our brand of California Cool design.
Another original detail of the home are the wood clad ceilings with exposed beams. Painted white throughout, this unifies the space and brings texture to the design. The home’s bedrooms were also refreshed and the bathrooms were completed gutted and renovated. When working in an historic home, the rooms sometimes aren’t very large. This is typical of in-town, mid-century moderns in the Bretnwood area. The goal for this home was to maximize the space and, where possible, to give the appearance of more room. With the two main bathrooms, we achieved this by using the same black, hex tile on the floor and white subway tile on the wall. The black on the floor grounds the visual boundaries of the room, which makes it feel larger. Where it made sense, we positioned alcoves in the gaps of the wall studs for increased storage in the shower, above the water closet, and adjacent the free standing tub. Rich, natural wood tones in both the vanities and accessories make the spaces feel warm, luxurious, and inviting.
In the first phase of this renovation project, we started with transforming the exterior spaces. Long an overlooked space, it was our goal to create a relaxing rear yard area in a very limited space of only 24’ x 50’. Our solution was to organize various zones for gathering and activity within a larger coordinated open area. This allowed the overall area to feel more spacious but also created semi-private alcoves. A mangaris wood deck extends from the Master Bedroom suite for sun bathing and lounging prior to taking a dip in the Jacuzzi. In addition, there is a hammock area that is situated on the western side of the property to take advantage of the shade from the adjacent tree. Along a concrete paver path on crushed rock, there is a sitting area for casual conversation and a glass of wine.
There was also the need to screen the views from a two story apartment complex that overlooks the corner of the property. To do this, we took cues from the slatted wood ceiling of the home’s living room to create a steel trellis; painted to evoke the feeling of wood but with far greater durability and strength. Along with the trellis ceiling, the olive tree screens the neighbor’s view of those sitting around the firepit on the cantilevering cushioned seats and day bed. When we returned to do phase two of this project to renovate the interior of the home, we were delighted to see that the evergreens we had planted were all maturing nicely and creating the private oasis we’d envisioned for the outdoor space.
From the Blog
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