by: Anita Baab
Architect Robert Sawyer of Westchester, CA teamed with Developer and Interior Designer Joel Mark for the redevelopment of this single family residence at Ridge Circle in the Mulholland Corridor of Los Angeles. This custom home in a gated community represents the efforts of a team including the owner’s son, working with, and supporting in many facets, the architect’s vision for clean, clear lines, accentuated by sharp contrast, and modern amenities. Joel Mark was instrumental in finding the pieces which were used throughout the residence including custom cabinetry imported from China. But, not as you might expect, these imports are highly vetted – very high quality and durability. Mark’s search led him to foundries also in China where the hardware was all forged and imported.
According to Mark, this was a significant achievement in that the cost for the project was decreased while the quality was increased. This allowed for the implementation of other improvements where the budget would have otherwise been diminished. The architect Robert Sawyer, who also acted as the structural engineer, removed all of the second floor’s interior walls. Thereby, opening up space where there was none as usable before and actually adding a significant amount of square footage back into the home. The result is a smooth continuous flow between rooms and enhanced improvements to the ergonomics of the building. Previously, the house had been used as a dance studio and a legal office. By combining the sense of space and recombining that space again with the enhancements of open space the house has a restored functionality. The spirit and soul of the once misused and neglected space breathes easy once again.
It’s a sense one obtains initially when entering the home. It has a wide, open, relaxed and accommodating feeling. The Dining Room is a remarkable space once again with over 35′ high ceilings, and decorative stained glass windows on two sides. Outside, a spiral staircase leads all the way to the third floor balcony which has breathtaking City and Mountain Views. “By preserving the bones of the house,” Sawyer says, “I believe that we captured the best of both worlds. We scooped out the needless corridors, closets, and confusion, and kept the shell intact. This results in a serious degree of transformation which actually added square footage and the sense that was achieved overall lends credence to the theory that a good design program can be implemented wherever one has the ability to see the outcome.”
“Cold modern design with ugly sharp edges is for amateurs with a vengeance, and arrogance. I much prefer to celebrate the clean lines of modern not for the sake of modernity itself – but more for the reflection that one sees in Nature. This house is fresh like a new fallen snow.”
Without Joel Mark, and his team, all of whom patiently listened to and advised the architect, Sawyer claims these were all seriously needed input components. A clear mandate and regularity to the program coupled with the consistent approach to the end result is always a very rewarding way to go about it.