LA HOME /
$6.99 | FALL/WINTER 2017
HOME + LIFE IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
+ ART, ARCHITECTURE + PHOTOGRAPHY
AT HOME WITH LISA+DONALD PLINER ILSE ACKERMANN+MEENO PELUCE BEAUCHAMP FONTAINE KRISTEN HALL
6/BRIEFING: SHOPPING Retail experiences which are worth exploring. House of Honey in Montecito.
9/MAKERS A showcase of Los Angeles artisans who create small batch, hand crafted designs. IN T E RIO RS
9/SHERMAN OAKS Designer, Lucie Ayres, of 22 Interiors gives an insight into one of her interior design projects in Sherman Oaks.
H OME TOURS
FIVE FAVORITES h
Five Furniture Designers choose their favorite designs.
ARC H IT ECT URE
14/McCADDEN PLACE A modern addition by June Street Architecture which mimics the original Tudor house in Hancock Park. 26/WINNING A selection of Los Angeles winners from the recent AIA Residential Awards.
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ARTISTIC VISION REQUIRED i
Ilse Ackermann and former child actor, Meeno Peluce, live La Vie BohÃ¨me on their Skyfarm, high above Downtown LA.
72/KRISTEN HALL A personal tour of the Beverlywood home of Kristen Hall, publicist at CBS Television Studios. PH OTOG RAPH Y
78/SIGNS OF THE TIMES In his photo essay, GREGG SEGAL reflects on the pervasiveness of garbage in our lives, and our growing apathy towards it.
Iconic shoe designers, Donald and Lisa Pliner, find decorating inspiration from their extensive travels.
A personal tour of the Glendale family home of feature film and television set decorator, Beauchamp Fontaine.
A WALK IN THEIR SHOES h THE PERFECT SETTING i
82/CROSS POLLINATION Through her indoor hanging garden installation, artist, Karolina Maszkiewicz, muses on the attractions of beauty and impermanence in both humans and nature. 84/UP-LIFTING An organization founded by Liz Powers, gives artists who are homeless or disabled a chance to profit from their talent, and to create a positive change in their lives. REAL ESTAT E MO GULS
86/WILLIAM McMORROW IS BLOWN AWAY IN KONA Christopher Damon talks to developer, William McMorrow, at the Kohanaiki Resort in Hawaii. G ETAWAY
96/CATALINA ISLAND An escape to Catalina Island. 103/LOS ANGELES LANDMARKS A series of historical LA landmarks which have stood the test of time.
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LA/HOME E D I TOR I A L Publisher Andy Waldmanfirstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Mark Castellinoemail@example.com Tech Editor/Editor at Large Jenna Atchisonfirstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Felicia Kaplan Design Editor Britt Lovett
CON TR I B U TO R S Photographers Joanne Garcia Todd Goodman Jessica Isaac Meeno Peluce
Writers Christopher Damon Lucy Lean Kelly Woyan
I N QU I R I ES Advertising, Subscriptions, Custom Publishing and Distribution inquiries: email@example.com Submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org Events: email@example.com
LA HOME is printed 4 times a year by Focus Media Agency, ISSN 2378-5381, and is available on newsstands, retail outlets, bookstores and also strategically placed in upscale locations throughout Los Angeles. FOCUS MEDIA AGENCY 149 S. Barrington Ave #178 Los Angeles CA 90049 All rights reserved. LA HOME is published by Focus Media Agency. No articles, illustrations, photographs, any other editorial matter or advertisements herein may be reproduced without permission of the copyright owner. Focus Media Agency does not take responsibility for the claims provided herein.
Cover photo: Pliner House by Todd Goodman
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BR I E F I N G
HOUSE OF HONEY
visit to House of Honey in Montecito will reward you with a glimpse into Tamara Kaye-Honey’s thought-provoking new, bespoke goods and vintage rarities arranged in sophisticated vignettes. The showroom is the exclusive source for Honey’s debut custom lighting line, as well as the sole stockists for several limited-edition collections of home furnishings and accessories created in collaboration with designers around the globe. House of Honey is the ultimate source for lighting by Roll & Hill and Lindsay Edelman; Heath Ceramics; Fornasetti; Zak + Fox wallpaper; modern seating from Taylor Forrest; The Society Inc. Chalkboard Paint; Sole Bikes; and accessories from Tom Dixon, Missoni Home, Alexandra Von Furstenberg, Werkstatte Carl Aubock and Kelly Wearstler, among many others. Art aficionados will enjoy a rotating exhibit of contemporary photography in partnership with the lauded Los Angeles-based, fine art photography gallery Fahey/Klein. House of Honey not only provides a new retail experience, but access to celebrated interior designer Tamara Kaye-Honey’s design services. An extensive selection of wallpapers and fabrics are available, as is an experienced in-house design team.
House of Honey 525 San Ysidro Road, Montecito, CA Tuesday - Saturday, 11-5
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There’s no doubt that Los Angeles is witnessing a renaissance in artisans – ‘makers’ who painstakingly hand craft textiles, apparel, lighting, ceramics and furniture, often in tiny workshops, with not much more than passion driving them forward. We singled out a handful of these brave craftspeople from the dizzying array of talent in the city.
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M A K E R S
open the kimono Photography by Joanne Garcia
ISABEL HARTLEY Open the Kimono was cofounded by Ibby Hartley, an LA-based fashion designer, and Lise Matthews, a Venicebased architect. The two women draw upon their design backgrounds and creative experiences to make artistic, unique, kimonoinspired clothing. Ibby and Lise create individual pieces that are lovingly crafted.
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NOW WON Photography by Tiffanie Byron
ERIN CASTELLINO Now Won is a positive force composed of people and their intentions, working to heal or nourish others via thoughtful products. The Compassion Collection is a range of unique shawls, throws and hats which are hand-knitted by Erin Castellino. The super-chunky ReLove yarn is lovingly sourced from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Each ball of yarn is made from an exclusive blend of family-raised alpaca or merino and premium American recycled plastic bottle fiber. So soft and cozy, youâ€™d never know that each 50 yards of yarn rescues some 10 plastic bottles from the landfill.
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M A K E R S
SHELDON CERAMICS PETER SHELDON + ELLEN WOGLOM Based in East Los Angeles, and inspired by the coupleâ€™s rustic Vermont heritage, Sheldon Ceramics features hand crafted and distinctive pieces for everyday use. They formulate and develop all glazes from scratch in their studio. Their ceramic products are personal: made by experienced hands, through meticulous process, to ensure quality and originality.
MIRENA KIM Photography by Dawn Di Carlo and Staci Valentine
MIRENA KIM Mirena Kim starting making pottery in the â€˜90s while living in New York but she is now back in her hometown, Los Angeles, and in business making pots. Her exquisite and unique work is in stores across the US and Canada, and she works on custom projects with architects, interior designers and restauranteurs.
M A K E R S
BLACK CROW studios
TRACY HINER Black Crow Studios creates unique and custom, artdriven design, like this Teal and Black Drips wallpaper. All artwork is digitally printed at their design studio in Long Beach, CA. From mixing custom paint colors to matching a particular color story, or photographing flowers fresh from the flower mart, if you have an artistic idea, they can help you to bring it to life.
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BROOK PERDIGON textiles Photography by Amy Bartlam and Jared Richard
BROOK PERDIGON Artist and designer, Brook Perdigon, launched her first collection in 2015. Her hand-printed fabrics are now available in showrooms worldwide. In addition, she offers a collection of internationally-sourced antique textiles and produces custom fine art. Through her work, Brook examines cultures or groups of people where that impulse is raw and untrained. The result is a process and practice that stems from hand drawn geometrics - where imperfection is embraced and designs celebrate a folk-like element. Her designs begin with either a painted sketch, block print, or hand-cut silk screen and end in a handscreened fabric on Belgian linen. All of her fabrics are printed in Los Angeles.
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M A K E R S
DE JONG & CO.
RUTH + PETER DEJONG De Jong & Co. strives to live and work at the intersection of art and function. They design products that are hand crafted, with a hope they are used regularly. Their desire is to elevate the everyday lifestyle and to create beautiful things. Their belief is that the goods we own, the goods that make our life function, should be measured against a simple utility and an practical beauty.
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DESI G N ER
S P OTLI GH T
sherman Oaks Interior designer, LUCIE AYRES, of 22 Interiors reveals a personal insight into one of her recent renovation projects. PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY BARTLAM
his adorable family of four bought a lovely house on a beautiful street in Sherman Oaks. It was an old home, however, and it felt incredibly closed in, with outdated rooms.We made major changes to the interior; gutting the entire home and reworking the layout by creating a master bedroom, bath, closet and two additional en-suite bathrooms. The family room, kitchen, and dining room were completely opened up. We added large sliding doors leading to the exterior of the home to create that amazing indoor/outdoor flow. To accommodate the new layout, we chose to forego a formal living room, and instead created a comfortable entry sitting area.
Lucie Ayres Designer, 22 Interiors Born in the Czech Republic, raised in New York City, Lucie’s passion for design started when she was very young. Lucie remembers rearranging the furniture in her room constantly. Being the daughter of a carpenter, she also helped design furniture that he would then build for her. Lucie continued her design journey, studying Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University. Post graduation, Lucie traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa before settling in New York City and working for Cushman & Wakefield. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Lucie’s style is a hybrid of soulful European meets playful Californian – comfortable, modern, slightly surprising, and always interesting. Lucie is driven daily by her passion for design, color, and creating the most efficient layouts possible for her clients. She is opinionated, hard-working, and lives for the installation – she loves to see her designs come to life, achieving both happy rooms and happy clients. Lucie lives with her husband, Chris, a New York Times bestselling author, their two kids, Milo and Mae and cat, Ginger.
22 Interiors handles projects from initial concepts to completion. We currently have projects all over the United States, including California, New York, and Washington DC. Our work has been featured extensively in local and national publications and blogs, including Angeleno Magazine, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Rue Magazine, and Modern Sanctuary. 22 Interiors has won Houzz Best of Design and Best Service in 2015, 2016, 2017. Most of 22 Interiors clients are busy professionals, many have never used an interior designer before, but they all want a finished, beautiful home and know they need help to achieve that. 22 Interiors encourages clients to be as involved in the process as they would like – via Pinterest and houzzboards, inspiration photos and mock ups. We want to make the process not only easy, but fun.
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Above: This is the entry seating area perfect for playing board games or working on a laptop. Art by Meggie Olsen, sofa by Horchow.
We created a lovely nod to a traditional home with this long hallway, yet made it very Californian by leading it straight to the gorgeous yard. The beautiful millwork creates just enough formality, while the honeystained oak floors have the effect of softening the rooms.
Below: mirror by Made Goods, console by Redford House.
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DESI G N ER
S P OTLI GH T
In the kitchen we did a fantastic, leathered quartz countertop and these super fun leather stools. The pendants are from Rejuevenation.
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We went for a fun painted stripe using Farrow & Ball Hague Blue and All White.
We opted for a clean master bathroom look. Lighting and mirrors from Restoration Hardware.
A double set of pocket doors leads you to the bedroom wing of the home.
In their son’s ensuite bedroom, the idea was to pop a fun color out in the ceiling of the bedroom and use it on the walls of the bathroom. This green is Ralph Lauren Parlor Green. 22 Interiors 22interiors.com
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A RCH I TECT
S P OTLI GH T
McCadden Place Project notes from JUNE STREET ARCHITECTURE on a recent renovation in Hancock Park. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAM FROST
Project Name: McCadden Residence Year built: 1927 Architectural Style: Tudor/Modern Scope of Project: (I.E., New Construction, Renovation, Interiors Only): Full house renovation and 500 SF addition Square footage: 2,473 SF Architect: Charles “Sonny” Ward, Principal, June Street Architecture June Street Project Manager: Xander Tertychny, Architect Builder: Duke Development Interior Design: DISC Interiors
The owners are a young family with two children. The goal for the project was to upgrade a 1920s Tudor home and to add extra square footage for livable spaces and a new master suite. To add a pool and make the yard a flexible space that can be used as an area for their kids to play, but also an area to entertain. Approach:
June Street Architecture Owner/Principal, Sonny Ward, (Charles L. Ward III – Licensed California Architect), is originally from Pelahatchie, MS. He founded June Street Architecture in 2009. Sonny holds a B.Arch. from Woodbury University and a M.Arch. from UCLA. He currently serves on the National Center on Adoption and Permanency Board of Advisors, Woodbury University School of Architecture Board of Advisors, Woodbury University Architecture of Civic Engagement Advisory Board and the Emeritus Board for the Family Equality Council. He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his husband and two children.
We were able to reconfigure the layout of the existing house to accommodate the living spaces that open out the back patio and yard, and use the addition as an architectural element which hosts the master suite. We designed a modern appendage that married with the form of the original traditional Tudor structure, while accentuating the hierarchy of the new master suite space. In order to fit the pool on site, our solution was to locate it against the new addition, giving it the ability to visually function as a water feature, as viewed from the master bedroom. To pull off the design, there were a couple of crucial details we kept our eye on – like the built-in gutters and the deepened threshold, so it could be used as a seating ledge from inside the house. Inspiration:
The family liked the traditional setting of the Hancock Park neighborhood, but they also wanted the modern accents that reflect present day values.
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A RCH I TECT
S P OTLI GH T
The living room was kept in the traditional Tudor style as the original face of the house. DINING ROOM
The dining room was opened up to the newly reconfigured family room/kitchen space for better flow.
The house previously lacked a family room, and had a very tight kitchen/breakfast room space. We created a new open floor layout for the kitchen and family room where the family would spend a majority of their time together.
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The house was also disconnected from the back yard, with the only access through a mud room. We added large sliders from the kitchen/family room to the yard to create an indoor-outdoor relationship.
The master bathroom contains a freestanding bathtub with a beautiful limestone slab wall divider. On the other side of the wall is the shower at one end and WC on the other. Opposite the bathtub is a modern floating counter with a 4â€? stone profile counter and undermount sinks.
The Master Bedroom was part of the new addition. From the outside, the massing of the house keeps a roofline and scale of the original house, but if finished and detailed in a modern way with flush metal panels. This shift from traditional to modern happens on the inside as well, as elegant light wood cabinets cabinets are introduced to the room. The room has a gracious 17â€™ cathedral ceiling, and steel doors that overlook the pool and yard. The pool was pushed up right next to the master bedroom and integrated into the modern detailing and design of the exterior, and it acts as a water feature that can be viewed from inside the master bedroom. There is also a deep threshold at the steel doors in the master bedroom which serves as a ledge, and gives the family the ability to sit at the pool, while still in their home.
June Street Architecture junestreetarchitecture.com
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A RCH I TECTU R E
AIA RESIDENTIAL aRCHITECTURE AWARDS 2017
W IN N NG
Earlier this year, the AIA|Los Angeles (AIA|LA) announced the twenty-nine recipients of the chapter’s Residential Architecture Awards. The program celebrates excellence in contemporary residential design at all scales and variations. Entries were reviewed, and winners selected, by a prestigious jury composed of: Erika Heet - Editor in Chief, Interiors; James Mary O’Connor, FAIA - Principal, Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners; and Billy Rose - Founder, President, The Agency.
A selection of the AIA/Los Angeles award winners.
SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (up to 2,500 square feet)
SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (5,000 square feet and up)
MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (up to 50 units)
Affordable Starter Home Prototype (South LA, CA) Lehrer Architects LA
Chiang Mai Residence (Chiang Mai, Thailand) wHY
Peace Creek Villas (Chengdu, China) John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
IVRV House (Los Angeles, CA) SCI Arc
90 Pheasant (Southampton, NY) Marcello Pozzi Architecture & Design
Wagner Guest House (Los Angeles, CA) Schmidt Architecture
Romero Canyon (Montecito, CA) Studio WIlliam Hefner
Vertical Venice Prefab (V.V3) (Venice, CA) Jennifer Siegal, Assoc.
Edges Residence (Los Angeles, CA) Belzberg Architects
Nurizzo Residence (West Hollywood, CA) Patrick Tighe Architecture
La Moraleja Villa (Madrid, Spain) XTEN + Extudio + Losada Garcia
MULTI-FAMILY SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL RESIDENTIAL (up to 20 units) (up to 5000 square feet) Honor Honor MU77 (Los Angeles, CA) Arshia Architects
Blackbirds (Los Angeles, CA) Bestor Architecture
Skyline (Santa Barbara, CA) ShubinDonaldson
Merit Wall House (Ojai, CA) Johnson Fain Garrison Residence (Redondo Beach, CA) Patrick Tighe Architecture Citation Hedge House (Los Angeles, CA) Jacobs Chang Architecture
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Cloverdale 749 (Los Angeles, CA) Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA]
Merit Mariposa1038 (Los Angeles, CA) Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA] ADAPTIVE REUSE | RENOVATION | HISTORIC PRESERVATION Honor The Elysian (Los Angeles, CA) David Lawrence Gray Architects, AIA Oakdell Residence (Studio City, CA) Assembledge+ Hide Out (Los Angeles, CA) Dan Brunn Architecture Merit Edwin Residence (Los Angeles, CA) AND studio Bowen House (Manhattan Beach, CA) ORA Restoration of Marina Tower Model Apartment by Killingsworth, Brady & Smith (Long Beach, CA) Ted Hyman FAIA, LEED AP® BD+C Citation Rear Window House (Culver City, CA) Edward Ogosta Architecture
SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (5,000 square feet and up)
edges residence Belzberg Architects Located in the Hollywood Hills, this residence seeks to resolve the desire for both a generous program on a relatively small lot, and the long and low profile of a mid-century bungalow. Using oblique and layered angles throughout the house, perspective is played with, elongating and lightening the mass of the architecture while disguising its generous vertical volume. The dynamism of the resulting geometry distorts the appearance of the residenceâ€™s rectilinear plan. Photography by Jim Bartsch
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A RCH I TECTU R E ADAPTIVE REUSE | RENOVATION | HISTORIC PRESERVATION
hide out Dan Brunn Architecture
Los Angeles-based architect Dan Brunn, AIA, Principal of Dan Brunn Architecture, redesigned the 3,600 square foot former Janss Family residence – a hub associated with the contemporary L.A. art scene in the 1970s and 1980s – by using his minimalist aesthetic, while incorporating design cues from the home’s original architect Frank Gehry, FAIA. The entire first floor was gutted to create an open-air plan that accommodates work and display space for the owner, artist James Jean, as well as domestic necessities. Interiors are arranged around
an existing oversized rectangular skylight. New windows were added to bring additional natural light into the kitchen and living areas. Brunn created a dynamic undulating staircase wall and utilized primary building materials – such as wood, concrete, and glass – as a nod to the architectural shapes and material palette famously used by Gehry at the time. Photography by Brandon Shigeta
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ADAPTIVE REUSE | RENOVATION | HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Bowen House ORA
A 750sf addition to a 3,500sf family home close to the beach. The design was conceived as a rustic, modern “art barn” to house the owner’s growing art collection as well as creating an open family space with improved outdoor connections to a generous outdoor deck. Photography by Eric Staudenmaier
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A RCH I T ECTU R E SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (up to 2,500 square feet)
vertical venice prefab Jennifer Siegal, Assoc.
The Vertical Venice Prefab (V.V3) is a triple-stacked steel modular addition to Siegalâ€™s existing 1920s Venice bungalow home. Craned in over the existing home and installed in one day, the 560 sf modular addition uses a diagrid structural system wrapped in Polycarbonate panels to maximize light, energy and efficiency. Designed as a prototype for future residential infill projects, V.V3 introduces less material waste, faster construction time, a tighter building envelope, green
finishes and higher insulating properties resulting in a lower total life-cycle cost of the home. Responding to the housing crisis and meeting the latest requirements from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety the V.V3 offers a solution to urban dwellers looking to increase density without unsettling the neighborhood. Photography by Dominique Vorillon
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ADAPTIVE REUSE | RENOVATION | HISTORIC PRESERVATION
rear window house Edward Ogosta Architecture The Rear Window House is a discreet, yet assuredly modern addition and remodel to a seventy-year-old bungalow in a neighborhood abundant with intact dwellings of the same era. Through careful sequencing of new spaces and strategically located apertures, the project opens itself up to become deeply integral with the rear garden. Photography by Steve King
FIVE FURNITURE DESIGNERS
In a regular series of Favorite Things, five Furniture Designers show us their favorite works.
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FURNI T URE DESI GNER
Photography: Carley Rudd
Riley Rea & Alex Segal crofthouse.com
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Brooks Credenza “We have found that some of our very favorite products in our collection come to be through inspiration from the custom pieces that we do for our clientele. Our Brooks Credenza is a perfect example of how a client’s needs and interests can help us to design a unique piece that works not only for them, but for future clients as well. By combining our California modern design elements, quality materials, and our customer’s needs – in this case, a modern credenza that fit alongside his stunning, but specific, speakers, we’re able to shape a unique design solution that also fits the Croft House aesthetic.”
FAVO R I T ES FURNI T URE DESI GNER
Stephen Kenn stephenkenn.com
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Potomac Leather & Antique Nickel Two Seat Sofa â€œThe Two Seat Sofa in Potomac Leather is one of my favorite products right now. This size was a response to repeated requests from clients for a smaller version of the full Sofa. I love the soft cognac leather and airy feel of the exposed frame. Every time I see it I am reminded that one of the great things about the work I do is getting to interact with my clients. To me, design is elevated problem solving, and my clients offer me new opportunities to do that every day. I also love the vegetable tanned leather we use on our upholstered pieces. Our leather tannery Moore & Giles is a leader in sustainable leather production and I am proud to be working alongside them.â€?
FURNI T URE DESI GNER
Reza Feiz phasedesignonline.com
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Bride’s Veil Low Stool “I always say all of my designs are like my children, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for the Bride’s Veil Low Stool. This low stool is an off-shoot of our Bride’s Veil Bar Stool, which was inspired by Warren Platner’s wire pieces. From initial ideation, I strive to design pieces that lend themselves to creating a whole collection. As we designed the Bride’s Veil stools, it was evident right from the start that a nice family of stools could be accomplished, and the low stool came from that foundation. This low stool has great proportions, presence, and purpose, and can work in most any environment, making it versatile yet unique piece.”
FAVO R I T ES FURNI T URE DESI GNER
4th period woodshop
Chaffee Graham 4thperiodwoodshop.com
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Maine Table “The Maine Table is one of our first original pieces. I felt like a dining room table is a staple in a family’s home. So the Maine Table is a staple of our furniture line. I found that a simple design with minor details can go a long way. I went on a trip to Maine and was able to visit some other wood shops and talk to some craftsmen about simple joinery that’s been used for hundreds of years. After our trip, I designed this piece back in my shop in Los Angeles, California. My hope with each hand made Maine Table is that our clients find themselves spending more quality time together.”
FURNI T URE DESI GNER
Michael Felix michaelfelix.com
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â€œMy current favorite piece in my collection is the Madda Chair in Red and Blue. It references classic designs from the past, and adds a hint of postmodernism to make it very playful. The base color also comes in customizable colors, which adds an extra element of personalization for the client.â€?
4 DIGITAL EDITIONS - $8 4 PRINTED ISSUES - $20 LAHOMEMAG.COM/SUBSCRIPTION
LA /HOME SHOWCASES ART, CULTURE, INTERIOR DESIGN, PRODUCT DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE AND INSPIRATIONAL HOME TOURS IN LOS ANGELES. AVAILABLE ONLINE AND ON NEWSSTANDS, WHOLE FOODS, SPROUTS, BARNES & NOBLE, PHARMACA AND INDEPENDENDENT BOOKSHOPS.
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THE ACKERMANN/PELUCE H OME
Artistic Vision required The eclectic homestead, Skyfarm, sits on a hill high above Downtown Los Angeles, and is proof, as characterized by ILSE ACKERMANN and MEENO PELUCE, that a family can truly live La Vie BohÃ¨me in the heart of a big city. BY LUCY LEAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEENO PELUCE
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In Skyfarm Yurt, the only white on white decor in their whole world. Ilse and Meeno and their daughters Bindi, 16, and Mette, 12, with their Boston, Archie.
LI N CO L N
H E I G HTS
“We live on Paradise Hill... and just down there is Happy Valley.”
t was love at first sight. “I knew Skyfarm was going to be our home,” says Meeno, “in the same way I knew when I first laid eyes on Ilse that I was going to spend the rest of my life with her. She knew before me, the moment she read that small ad in the paper: “For Sale by Owner, Artistic Vision Required.”
A single ribbon of uneven pavement winds along the hillside to a lush oasis of romantic whimsy made up of layer upon layer of culture, ideas, hard work and stories: Skyfarm. Perched on this hilltop in Lincoln Heights, with a million-dollar view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline, is the homestead of renaissance woman Ilse Ackermann, and her husband and world-class photographer Meeno Peluce, and their teenage daughters Bindi and Mette.
Opposite View of Downtown LA from the east. The top of Paradise Hill is just above Skyfarm. It’s one of the last undeveloped open spaces in Los Angeles. During the wet LA winter the hills turn emerald green. Year round there’s an abundance of wild life on the hill and Ilse and Meeno walk the goats a mile or two around the top daily. Page 44 Top: Their Boston Terrier, Archie, stands guard over the veggie garden which they built after tearing out the lawn. The old gardener’s shed is now the private pink mission style domain of their 16 year-old daughter, Bindi. Bottom left: Ilse and Meeno rescued some 10ft tall bamboo 15 years ago and planted it in front of their house. It has grown well above their roofline. Bottom right: Built from earth bags, the 12’ diameter saltwater pool was inspired by a recent trip to Mexico. It was hand built by Ilse. Page 45 Top left: Meeno scrapes sap from their new Yurt dining table as Ilse bubbles it up with her flame thrower. Top right: Installation of Rondel bottle glass in the Yurt bathroom (with special assistants, Lincoln & Nilla). Bottom left: The covered veggie garden keeps squirrels and birds at bay. It was built by Meeno so that Ilse’s tomatoes could flourish. Bottom right: More Japanese Shou Sugi Ban – the blackening of wood to protect it.
A gaggle of geese announces my arrival and out pops a crazy mop of dark curls and a big, friendly personality: Meeno. We zigzag down a gravel pathway to a new yurt where Ilse is preparing dinner in an outdoor kitchen. A linen apron covers her simple navy Dosa dress, no makeup, long blond hair: a handsome woman serenely at ease with the world and who she is. This is the latest addition to the home they have built together, a unique and magical place, exuding warmth and bursting with life – over 40 animals and counting call Skyfarm home. The most recent exploration in animal husbandry, pygmy goats, and a new family ritual: Sunset walks, grazing them on the unused parched grassland that surrounds their urban farm. We sit at the candlelit table, made from the giant pine tree in Meeno’s late father’s backyard. This family tree poetically rests at the heart of their lives where family and friends gather for memorable meals. Meeno grew up as a Hollywood child TV actor – his first role was on Starsky and Hutch – whilst Ilse followed her manifest destiny, moving to LA from rural Massachusetts. Having met at Hollywood High where they were both teaching, they lived for a time in an artist loft building. When their first daughter arrived, they were illegally evicted from the loft. They sought justice, successfully suing the landlord for family status discrimination. “The settlement built our guesthouse,” says Ilse. “The best part is it led us here.” Neither of them had much experience with construction, gardening or raising animals. However, Ilse and Meeno are doers – fast learners, diligent researchers and resourceful in the true sense of the word. Even the story about how they came to buy Skyfarm is filled with determination to overcome the odds: A listing with no address, a house that was written off as a tear-down, a half an acre of land that was as good as dead, parents who felt they were making a huge mistake and a new family with very little in the bank. The sellers, dressed in overalls, drinking moonshine from glass jars and with a pet parrot adding to the surreal scene had probably exhausted their search for a previous owner’s gold – hence all the walls stripped back to the studs, except for a beautiful marble bathroom. “Legend had it she ran a whorehouse, didn’t trust banks and hid her money in the walls.” A little gentle persuasion and a lot of help from an escrow officer, who empathized with the young couple and their baby, and Meeno talked the bank into closing the deal.
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This page (above) Bindi in her eclectic space with Nora Kitty and Archie, surrounded by elements she’s collected at flea markets, yard sales and auctions around the world. (below left) 12 year-old Mette’s room with her custom bed which she designed and Meeno built from Balinesian temple wood. The 1930’s chandelier was salvaged from the trash. (below right) The outdoor bedroom is the original 1920’s sleeping porch. People would come from all over the country to California to “take the cure of air”.
Opposite The living room, the bohemian heart of the house, sags under the weight of its library. There’s the storied marlin and the 60’s Swedish stove picked up at a junk yard. The artwork behind the stove is an early piece by the famed California artist, Queen-of-Plastics, Betsy Davis. Bottom Right: The man who built the house was a marble layer in 1920’s Downtown, hence the bathroom all tiled in boosted pieces.
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The living room, the bohemian heart of the house, sags under the weight of its library. Thereâ€™s the storied marlin and the 60â€™s Swedish stove picked up at a junk yard. The artwork behind the stove is an early piece by the famed California artist, Queen-of-Plastics, Betsy Davis.
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Together they set about renovating the 1920s house, their artistic vision knew no bounds. Evidence of this capable couple is found throughout the property – whether it’s a large red homemade aviary for their birds, nestled in the bougainvillea, the pink earth bag swimming pool with the cool water reflecting the surrounding lush foliage or the original 1920s screened bedroom where the family sleeps most of the year. “In the spring the racket of baby birds in the nests built in the eves wakes us for our farmer’s dawn rituals.” More homestead than working farm there are chickens, quails, geese, goats and bees. An edible garden bursts with produce - ripe heirloom tomatoes, deep yellow squash blossoms, rows of lettuce, basil, Swiss chard and deep purple string beans climbing up wooden teepees. It is a lot of work to maintain but something Ilse is devoted to and time well spent as the family tucks in to fresh eggs for breakfast and homegrown salads at suppertime. Nicole Richie, calls Ilse her “chicken lady… someone who is always there for me” and she adores her chickens and the beautiful coop Ilse built for her. This is just one of many Hollywood clients that Ilse has introduced to the wonders of raising chickens, building secure coops similar to the various enclosures at Skyfarm. She enjoys sharing how to carve out a simple life raising backyard chickens and collecting the eggs. Life is experienced at a slower pace as they reconnect with nature and where their food comes from in the heart of Los Angeles. One day a nonagenarian arrived unannounced, bringing photos taken when his parents had built the house. His father laid marble in all the fancy theaters on Broadway and he’d squirrelled away end cuts in his coat pocket, hence the incongruous marble bathroom, perhaps the first up-cycled room at Skyfarm? Eclectic items are often acquired without a place to put them. “I have to keep the hording in check,” Ilse confesses. The door for the goat barn was purchased long before the goats arrived. Skyfarm bursts with examples of how they have made something old new again. The deep pink living room with densely patterned rugs, rich velvet sofas, silk fringed cushions, a vintage crystal chandelier and row upon row of books, was carefully
curated slowly over time from flea markets, auctions, roadside finds and Craigslist. Ilse found a giant marlin in a junk store in Florida and drove it across country strapped to her Cadillac. “You begin to see why I’m so easily and heartily swayed by her,” says Meeno. “Once in California, she set to rebuilding the fins and front blade and then doused it with glitter. It served as a talisman assuring me that we would spend our lives making home and family together.” The majestic fish now sparkles high on the wall of their warm inviting living room. The family’s ongoing love affair with travel is perhaps their greatest muse. Be it a Bedouin tent in the Moroccan desert, the vibrant colors of a market during travels to India or shocking pink adobe bricks in Oaxaca, this is inspiration that is brilliantly borrowed to decorate their home. The most recent endeavor is the Skyfarm Yurt, emanating a soft golden light, looking like a giant from a fairytale forgot his lantern on the hill. Painstakingly painting the skeleton trellis white and adding custom made curved curtain rails, diaphanous drapes and crisp white bed linen all adds up to the most romantic and peaceful place to relax, lying on the king sized bed looking up through the middle at the stars. All-white is a surprising departure from the usual pink palette. The two pops of color: A luxurious deep pink Persian rug and the prettiest blue French wood-burning stove. “We were in a store in Copenhagen and we both spotted the little blue stove independently,” says Ilse. It now sits on two slabs of solid grey slate, two thirds of a pool table that Ilse purchased for $20 not knowing what she’d use it for until Skyfarm needed a yurt and the yurt needed a stove and the stove needed a hearth. Nearly two decades in to the artistic vision and Sky Farm is transformed. Although one gets the feeling Ilse won’t rest on her laurels and relax in the middle of her stylish snow white yurt for long. Next up a new kitchen, “I plant a seed, slowly the idea grows and eventually the project takes shape – Meeno throws his hands in the air and shouts “Not another project!” But he’s there mucking in,
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either one of us or both with power tools in hand, happily creating our dream.” I feel sure there’s everything and a porcelain kitchen sink squirreled away somewhere just waiting to be reincarnated.
Opposite The furred, feathered, hard shelled and rosy cheeked denizens of Skyfarm. Hedwig, Lincoln, Mette and Rex. This page Bindi in a hanging chair, scored on Craigslist, that serves as centerpiece of the outdoor kitchen down at the Yurt.
Their future plans include expanding to accommodate a flower farm, a house pig and perhaps one day even a horse. Although they are one lot shy of equine zoning, you know it’s only a question of time until Ilse figures out a way to make her next artistic vision a reality. “We live on Paradise Hill,” says Meeno, “and just down there is Happy Valley.” It’s all in the name.
Al fresco summer dinners on the Yurt’s spacious deck, capped by s’mores around the fire pit.
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THE PLINER HOME
a walk in their shoes Iconic shoe designers, DONALD and LISA PLINER, find decorating inspiration from their extensive travels. BY KELLY WOYAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY TODD GOODMAN
D Challenger, widely considered America’s leading artist of Native Americans, once said “The thing I do best is paint. I prefer to look at it as “not me” doing it, I’m just the instrument. The Creator, the brush, the paint, and then me.” Challenger’s portrait is prominently perched above iconic designer Donald Pliner’s desk in his Bel Air Crest home as inspiration and is one of his favorite art pieces. Donald explains “He always believed that the American Indians were the true Americans. And I always wanted to be a cowboy.”
“I am an artist. I happened to design shoes. But...I am an artist.”
Opposite Page Top: View of the Master Bedroom. The rugs were sourced from Morocco during their travels. Rattan lounge wood-beaded pillow. The ottoman, with original zebra skin, is from Bali. Balinese doors as headboard. African war mask. Bottom: Entertainment Bar Area. Cow hide rugs over black wood floors. Original python snakeskin chair, designed by Donald Pliner and made in Italy. Zebra ottoman with ebony wood lion claws, Moroccan pottery, Eastern African mask, African beaded baskets, voodoo doll. On the glass table, sterling silver, various glasses and goblets and a vase by Castillo. The vintage, pink bicycle and car were gifts to their daughter, Starr.
In many ways, Pliner is indeed a cowboy and a creator, along with his Texan wife, Lisa. From the time he headed west from his family’s home in Chicago, Donald has only looked forward. He opened his first retail store in Beverly Hills in 1967, led a new Spanish line of footwear called Glace’ which successfully sold two years later, and then in 1989 Donald launched his own footwear company which catapulted to success rapidly. Years later he sold it and now has launched Right Bank Shoe Company. From the beginning of his successful career, Donald always thought of himself as an artist first. “Often, while I’m sitting in airports waiting to board my next flight, I’ll pretend to read the newspaper and just look at people’s shoes. They both protect and connect us to the earth beneath us. And yes, they can also become works of art”. Donald is especially inspired by his creative muse, partner and wife Lisa, whom he met on a blind date. Notoriously late, Donald was early to pick up Lisa the first time they met. She walked up to him and said ‘Are you Donald?’. “I told her she didn’t look anything like she sounded on the phone” (she came across as a redhead to him). Lisa hails from Texas and possesses its trademark accent, but she looks like a Greek Goddess with long black flowing hair, emerald eyes and impeccable style. She worked for Versace and on many of her husband’s campaigns and designs. A powerhouse in her own right as Donald’s right-hand woman, Lisa is also a writer and just published her first book “A Puppy’s Dream”, the origin story of their beloved Maltese, Babydoll. It’s about a time when the Pliners wanted to start a family but lost a child. Donald gave Babydoll as a gift to Lisa and it eventually helped them to heal. Shortly after that Donald and Lisa adopted their daughter Starr from a Kazakhstan orphanage in 2005, which later inspired them to start a charity called Peace for the Children Foundation. It was founded to help bring peace through communication and play for children all over the world. (Babydoll Pliner passed away at age 12 in 2014). The Pliners live in one of Los Angeles’ most coveted neighborhoods, Bel Air Crest, along with their 13-year-old daughter and four-legged adopted family members Moonlite and Sunset. It’s a gated neighborhood that is tucked away in a strategically located corner of Bel Air, right off the highway. Its extensive grounds seem almost out of place within LA’s concrete jungle. Once past the security guard and gates, it feels like a pristine and idyllic neighborhood with lush and mature landscaping throughout. Each winding road is quiet, leading to breakaway streets where only a few houses sit on each side. Unlike most neighborhoods in LA, Bel Air Crest has unparalleled views of the canyons, hillside, city and
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Above Their daughter, Starr’s bedroom, designed by Lisa along with artist Jeff Griggs, who painted the mural on the back wall. The Alice in Wonderland theme is illustrated with Lisa’s family’s faces as the flowers. Left Lisa designed her bathroom with white Bali pepple stones on the walls. Teak wood floor, deer horn table. The leather bust chair is draped with artifacts and prayer beads from Mumbai.
Opposite page The bannister was changed and wood coverings and wooden beams were added. The horse paintings are by the artist Ethlinda from Santa Fe, NM. African bed, telescope, antique trunk from Thailand. Hand carved pocupines are folk art from Santa Fe, NM. The palace mask is from Tibet.
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This page Bottom: King and Queen hand beaded ceremonial chairs from Eastern Africa, Moroccan Mirror. Front of staircase is antique 17th century. Fu Dogs from China. Opposite Top: Philippe Starck couches, Indonesian pillows along with original hand-beaded pillows made in India, designed for Donald Pliner. Balinese hand carved tables, assorted skulls from various artists throughout Mexico, deerskin floor lamp, various masks on wall from different countries. Bottom: Balinese hand carved table, assorted antique daggers from Morocco, Komodo Dragon originally hand-carved. Sea glass on top, designed by Lisa Pliner. Cow hide rugs.
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Red Room. The two painted pigs below the television are by Miami artist, Romero Britto. The flower chair in the foregound was made by Lisa for a charity event.
Zebra hair calf couch by Donald J Pliner, made in Italy. Red, long sheep pillows with his and her monkeys The room is finished with Venetian Red walls.
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Above: Donald Plinerâ€™s office with a custom made desk. Donaldâ€™s favorite painting of a Native American, by JD Challenger, is centered on the wall. On the right of the painting are ram skulls, and a steer skull on the left. A horse hair bridle hangs on the left wall. Below left: Original Native American chaps, Springbok skulls, hand painted, original Donald Pliner shoes by Italian artists sit atop a walnut cabinet.
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Original cow pie signed by Andy Warhol, Right Bank Editorial People magazine, 1978. Original ads in Interview magazine, signed by Andy Warhol.
ocean. It was those sweeping views that first caught the Pliner’s attention when looking at potential homes when they were relocating from their Moroccan mansion in Miami. “I was overwhelmed with it,” says Donald. The home was built in 1989 by owners who worked for President Reagan, and apparently took a play from the White House stylebook. American flags, pink and green walls, and mementos of the White House were everywhere,” says Donald. Most everything else in the house was white. White carpet, white ceilings, and white fixtures all had to be replaced with a color palette that was in alignment with Donald and Lisa’s Moroccan style. They painted dark reds, cobalt blues, and installed mahogany woods. They hung massive fixtures from the high ceilings, raised door jambs and completely transformed the outdoor living space into a garden straight out of Tuscany. A remodel of this scale typically could take homeowners a year or more to finish, and many times, over budget. Donald and Lisa decided to live within the construction zone, allowing them to finish the project in just over six months, and incredibly, within budget. “In my entire history of building out 12 stores and showrooms all over, I have never been late on build outs. All my shoe collections have always been on time, many times even days early. I’m a fanatic. God forbid I do anything small,” says Donald. The previous owners also had filled the entire yard with rose bushes and fruit trees, perhaps another throwback to their time working at the White House. Donald and Lisa instead saw a blank canvas to rip everything out and start over again, a skill they’ve expertly developed through all their years designing showrooms and galleries. They took out 14 stone boulders that surrounded the yard and converted the pool to a black one. Colorful pigs and an iconic Flamingo on Parade (an art installation in Miami which was delicately hand-designed by Lisa) look over the pool in a back corner. One of the most noticeable changes in the landscape is the abundance of Magnolia trees throughout the large yard - a detail that was deliberately planned by Donald as inspiration from one of his elaborate showrooms on Fifth Avenue in New York City. “I had these huge planters of Magnolia trees flown in from California for the terrace outside our showroom. And it turned out it was a landmark building and I couldn’t put those trees in because it wasn’t allowed to go over 18 inches high. So one of the things I wanted the
landscaper to do was plant those Magnolia trees as my token to the New York City showroom,” says Donald. Objects are everything to the Pliners. Peace for the Children inspired them to begin a collection of beaded skulls which is scattered throughout the house, and Donald can always be seen wearing an assortment of skull jewelry along with one of his personally designed statement shoes. “The skulls have become a symbol of peace and communication. Peace only comes when people learn to communicate with each other,” says Donald. In addition, collections of other objects such as horses, pigs, Moroccan mirrors and Donald’s personally designed Python-covered furniture, are focal points in every room - even in the his and her bathroom. Each object has its own story, whether it came from one of the Pliner’s many trips around the world or from one of Donald’s design showrooms in New York City or Miami. Influences from Morocco and the Mediterranean are evident everywhere from the bedrooms to the backyard. The color palette is rich and vibrant, infusing power and energy into each room of the home. Lisa says every house should have a red room, and theirs is no exception. Their daughter’s favorite place to watch television is their Red Room decorated with shoes from previous collections, gifts and trinkets from their various trips. Each room is like a living scrapbook of their years working and living all over the world. “There are no particular reasons why I buy things for who the artist is. I buy only because it is aesthetically what we like.”. Andy Warhol famously once said, “Don’t think about making art. just get it done.” Donald (who worked with Warhol years ago) is above all else, an artist who knows how to get it done. Since his early days working in the stockroom of his father’s shoe store on the Southside of Chicago, to his most recent startup with Lisa, they are both survivors and creative visionaries. They are passionate about style. Next, Donald and Lisa have their eyes reset to create a home and design brand incorporating their decades’ long experience as style influencers. At the end of the day, Donald just wants to create. “I am an artist. I happened to design shoes. But… I am an artist.”
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G L E N DA L E
A perfect setting The renowned feature film set decorator, BEAUCHAMP FONTAINE, at her family home in Glendale. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA ISAAC
eauchamp Fontaine is a feature film and television set decorator who lives in Glendale, California, with her husband, Mads, who also works in the film industry as a production manager, and her step-son Erik.
The sets she has created are as diverse as an exMarines’ dive bar in Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying; a back alley in Tokyo for Suicide Squad; the control room of the treasure ship for Independence Day: Resurgence, and the beloved beach house for Netflix’s hit Grace and Frankie. With Jack Fisk she helped to create an 1812 Pawnee Indian village on the U.S. portion of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. Alexander Payne’s Nebraska allowed Fontaine to reveal a quiet glimpse into the lives of a Midwestern family. Before that, she decorated Louis Leterrier’s blockbuster Now You See Me and Jeff Nichols’ wonderful film Mud. Beauchamp Fontaine is well-respected for her authentic period detailing, notably showcasing the 1960s in The Playboy Club, the 70s in Swingtown, and the 1920s in the exquisite flashback sequences of The Skeleton Key. Her decorating style ranges from a tasteful marriage of masculine metropolitan chic with an understated traditional sensibility to a natural, quiet elegance that remains accessible. “My grandfather’s work with the merchant ships on the Chesapeake Bay gave him access to some beautiful antiques, and our family homes were full from that bounty. My grandmother was an amateur interior designer, my step-father was a talented oil painter, and my mother studied textile design, so I guess it is in my blood,” she says. Under Beauchamp’s guidance, their home has been transformed into a delightful and seamless mix of mementos from her travels while working on film sets, as well as artful, modern elements such as sconces from Circa Lighting and fabrics from F. Schumacher. Built in 1927, the house retains much of its original Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, with wooden beamed ceilings and numerous alcoves. When not traveling all over the U.S. to work on films, she does private residential design. Her work on the first season of Grace and Frankie has received so much attention that she is considering starting her own line of furniture and accessories. 66 L A H O M E | FA L L / W I N T E R 2 0 1 7
1. In this view from the living room to the dining room one sees the Malibu tile I selected to fix an unfortunate remodel. I played on that color palette with my rug and the fabric on my Guglielmo Ulrich dining chairs.
2. F. Schumacher Lotus Garden fabric, in Lacquer. I picked up the orange in Greek key banding on the curtains.
3. I lived and worked in New Orleans for a few years and this piece is reminiscent of the wonderful masquerade balls that have been part of the Mardi Gras celebrations since the 1740’s. The French and Spanish influence and its role as a major port city give New Orleans its unique flavor. There is nowhere else like it in the United States. I feel fortunate that my film career has allowed me to live in so many places, and starting out there as a young decorator NOLA certainly influenced my style.
4. This painting is actually a giclée of “Soir sur la plage Negombo” by Bernard Cathelin. The bar is a custom piece – when space is at a premium one has to become creative.
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Right I forever mix the old with the new, and here is a Clarkson table lamp from Circa Lighting mixed with vintage vases and objets. Bottom In a bedroom niche, I have a print of The Little Dutch Girl – she has become my calling card of sorts. I place her in every film I decorate, and have been doing so for years. Even in The Revenant, she is tucked inside the medicine bundle in the Pawnee Indian village. I challenge myself to find places where she works, and it is surprising how often she is a perfect fit. If not, I tuck her out of sight, but I know she is there!
Opposite F. Schumacher is among my favorite fabric houses, and I love this Lotus Garden print. Particularly in small spaces, I tend to stay in monotones. This porcelain sleeping pig is a symbol of luck and family harmony in China. The pig was domesticated early in the history of China and quickly became a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. If you were rich enough, the pig would live in your house and, in fact, the Chinese character for home is made up of the symbols for “roof ” and “pig” – thus the legend that a pig under the roof equals happiness for the home. There is one in every guest suite at San Ysidro Ranch where we married in late March 2017, so I brought one home, but swapped out its pillow for one in Fortuni silk. It is a sweet and happy memory.
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1. I bought this chalkware parrot 22 years ago in New Orleans while I was working on Adrian Lyne’s Lolita. It was destined to live in this niche above my fireplace. 2. Here is the Aspect Library sconce by Barbara Barry, through Circa Lighting. On my current film project, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, I have placed sconces on shelves to illuminate some Victorian taxidermy to great effect.
3. Mixing decorative objects in with books breaks up monotony. Here I have a piece of my grandmother’s lustreware; a funny Etsy doll from loopyboopy; a carved head and tobacco jar from my grandfather’s years on the Chesapeake Bay as a bay pilot; and a Thai puppet a friend brought back from Bangkok. 4. Although a modest example, Batchelder tile is a much coveted detail. My home was built economically, as is further evidenced by the stamped hearth. The seated bodhisattva signifies tranquility and compassion – an important reminder in a busy life.
I was delighted to find these Coral & Tusk pillows — with a reindeer even! I think it is important for Erik to be proud of his Norwegian heritage and I know he loves these little reminders of fun times we have spent there.
My husband, Mads, is Norwegian, so for my step-son, Erik’s bedroom I decided to enlarge Olaus Magnus’ Carta Marina from 1539. It is fun for him to see his father’s hometown of Tromsø in northern Norway, although it is inaccurately placed on this map.
Left: Zeolla Marble did my Italian leathered granite counters and suggested the surround behind my farmhouse sink. This six burner Gaffers and Sattler stove came with the house. Lucky me! There are some fake movie bees on the top next to my vintage Chia head.
Beauchamp Fontaine beauchampfontaine.com
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/ B E V E R LY W O O D
the story of M Y H Om E
KRISTEN HALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOANNE GARCIA
s a fourth-generation LA native, this city will always be home to me. I love that people come from all over the world to live here, or even just visit. Frank Lloyd Wright famously said, “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” We are a microcosm for the world, representing and absorbing influences and people from all over – which is a beautiful thing…
I’m a publicist at CBS Television Studios, working on global publicity and branding campaigns for TV series such as NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. Most of my family were in the music industry in Los Angeles over the past 5 decades. My Grandfather was in the Music department at Disney Studios; Great Uncle in the LA Philharmonic/ Hollywood Bowl; another Uncle owned a recording/mastering studio, and my father directed a Grammy-winning studio album and he taught music for LAUSD. The house was built in 1938 in Reynier Village and is Spanish Revival Style. The street itself is steeped in history. The Rocha Adobe, built in 1865, was the center of a ranch known as “Rincon de los Bueyes.” My home sits on what was once the entrance to this adobe’s driveway. The story that has been passed down is that the homes on my street, which have very similar layouts, were built for the staff that worked at that Adobe before being subdivided and sold back to the city. This adobe has also now been declared a Historical Cultural Landmark by the LA Cultural Heritage Board. Opposite MASTER BEDROOM
My favorite thing I added to this house was a builtin custom book shelf by Franzle Custom Homes, surrounded by French doors. I asked Norm Franzle to give me a sliding ladder to complete the look and he located a vintage ladder from the 1880s. BLACK AND WHITE WEDDING PHOTO
This photo was restored and scanned by West Coast Photo, and shows my Great Aunt and Uncle on their wedding day. My grandfather in the lower right of the photo is tossing rice. DINING ROOM/BAR CART TABLE
My attempt to mix Spanish with Vintage. The decanters belonged to my grandparents and I use them now. BROWN GLASS BOTTLE
The most interesting things about renovating my house were the items we found in the walls when we knocked some down, including this whiskey bottle from the 1930s preserved as a time capsule inside the house.
I purchased the home in January 2015 after a year-long search for a property. The house had not been renovated or updated since it was built in 1938, and was in desperate need of updates, both structurally and cosmetically. Luckily, I have the greatest Uncle, who had spent years in construction and he served as my General Contractor. He kept me in line and on track – giving daily or weekly “homework assignments” so that I could be involved, even though he was overseeing the project. I wanted an additional bathroom and to add on to the master bedroom, gut the kitchen, knock down walls, and more. The first phase of renovation took about 6 months and included a total gutting of the kitchen and existing bathroom, adding a bathroom, extending the back of the house into the backyard, adding AC, earthquake retrofitting, etc. The biggest challenges? Trying to stay within budget and on track. It’s true what they say – it takes twice as long and costs twice as much as any estimate that comes in. The other challenge I faced, was trying to blend the Spanish Revival Style look and feel of the home, but to modernize it in a way where everything flowed together in an organic way. I spent just about every free minute in Home Depot or online, trying to match gold fixtures for a guest bathroom. It was overwhelming in the moment, but the result was a house that is completely my style. Everything in my home tells a story or makes me smile. If renovating took 6 months, decorating took a year. Many of my favorite items in my house belonged to family. I lean toward grays, blacks and whites, with clean, simple lines.
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/ B E V E R LY W O O D
Opposite One of my goals was to try and save the original hardwood floor, but since I added square footage to the house, finding someone to blend the planks was no easy task. ART IN LIVING ROOM
Three black and white photos hang over my couch – vintage family photos from the 1930’ and 40s that were scanned and restored by West Coast Photo in Hollywood. The photos are of my great-grandparents and grandparents, and are such beautiful shots and so wonderfully restored that most guests don’t realize they are family photos. I also have a Polish poster silhouette of Indiana Jones, a gift from my parents.
THE KITCHEN/DINING ROOM
BOWL OF MATCHES
My great aunt and uncle, who were both involved in the LA Philharmonic during their lives, traveled the world for decades. They collected matchbooks from hotels and restaurants during their many adventures. After their passing, I took over the bowl and now add matches from my travels.
Anyone who owns a home built around the 1930s probably has a similar issue. The original rooms were literally “rooms.” The dining room was a very closed off room with doors. The kitchen felt a little claustrophobic and cut off from the rest of the house. I knew I wanted to open up the home so the first thing we did was take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room and replace it with an island, to give it a more open feeling. Norm Franzle, (Franzle Custom Homes), also worked with me to lay out my kitchen in the best way to maximize space, and to also customize the kitchen for how I wanted to use it.
I splurged on the floor in this bathroom, and it was one of the decisions I’m still happiest about. The floor is hand painted Encaustic Cement Tile. It’s expensive to buy, and even more expensive to ship, but since I was only doing one bathroom, I made it work. One of my favorite things about this entire house is this clawfoot bathtub from the late 1800s. My Uncle’s friend had it in storage, and let me have it. Granted, we had the feet re-dipped and the tub restored with new porcelain. I also custom ordered special hardware. So a free tub was not exactly a free tub at the end of the day, but it was well worth it in the end.
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GALLERY OF ART IN MY OFFICE
Odds and ends that Iâ€™ve collected over the years come together in one big mosaic. Some of my favorite items on this wall are the 1950s sketches from the Oscar-nominated costume designer, Mary Ann Nyberg.
LOVE IS LOVE GRAFFITI ART
I bought this large 4 x 4 ft canvas from a local artist, Burt Bakman, and it adds a nice pop of color to what otherwise would be a very black and white hallway. BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO WITH HEART
Another family photo that was scanned and restored by West Coast Photo. My grandfather worked on a fishing boat during the summer in the 1940s and he painted his initials, along with my future grandmotherâ€™s, onto the side of the boat.
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PHOTO G RA P H Y
“The average American generates 29 pounds of garbage a week.”
talking trash In his photographic essay, GREGG SEGAL reflects on the pervasiveness of garbage in our lives, and our growing indifference towards it.
ver since I was a kid, I’ve wondered about garbage – where does it go and what happens when we run out of places to put it? The average American generates 29 pounds of garbage a week. As a nation, that amounts to about 9 billion pounds per week! I’m concerned not only by how much we throw away, but by how blithe we are to the problem. With 7 Days of Garbage, I call attention to the problem of waste by personalizing it. I asked family, friends, neighbors and other acquaintances to save their trash and recyclables for a week and then lie down and be photographed in it. I photographed my family because I want my 8-year-old son to understand that we’re contributing to the problem, too. Why recyclables, some have asked. For several reasons: much of what is designated recyclable isn’t recycled, recycling plastic has environmental costs, and packaging is excessive. I created the settings for the pictures in my yard in Altadena, CA: water, forest, beach and snow. Garbage is pervasive; no environment is untouched. In 2015, I was commissioned to add to the series, shooting several more portraits in Toronto. By asking us to look at ourselves, I’ve found that many are considering the issue more deeply. Many have said the process of saving their garbage and laying in it reconciled them to a need for change. Others feel powerless. It isn’t their fault that the products they buy are disposable and come with excessive packaging. Our economic model and its necessity for growth fuels the waste epidemic – and makes conservation seem untenable. Still, by personalizing the problem of waste – by starting with myself and working outwards from there, I’ve found that some are taking small steps to mitigate the crisis. Reflecting on the pictures I’ve made, I see 7 Days of Garbage as instant archeology, a record not only of our waste but of our values – values that may be evolving a little. – Gregg Segal
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Gregg Segal and his family with their week of garbage.
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PHOTO G RA P H Y
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he Polleo Alluve installation was comprised of locally harvested tree trimmings that created a unique hanging garden, in which the plants and flowers gave way to an ever-changing experience accompanied by live butterflies. Maszkiewicz’ hope for Polleo Alluve was that visitors would enjoy the aromas, colors and textures, as well as the insects drawn to her creations and that they would surround the viewer, allowing them to reflect on their impermanence and beauty. She also commissioned ambient monotone music to play for the viewers further enhancing the mood of the experiment. As part of the installation, large-scale sculptures hung from the ceiling. These botanical compositions were reminiscent of structures burned during Bhutan’s fire blessing festivals, where the hanging bundles are set ablaze to purify and bring prosperity to all that run under them. Polleo Alluve also had a series of faucets mounted on the walls from which floral arrangements poured out ‘dripping’ pollen onto the floor. These compositions created the suggestion of moving water and the flowers flowed throughout the room mimicking the source of life. Throughout the course of the show, the semi-permanent installation is designed to dry and wilt, as a kind of fast-forward analogy of our own life’s trajectory. Though her floral installations are awash with metaphor and meaning, Maszkiewicz chooses to shift the focus of these installations to the more tenuous side of humanity’s relationship with nature. As a Los Angeles-based artist working in the era of celebrity, social media and during a historic drought, Maszkiewicz’ sculptures and temporary installations take on a profound sense of both celebration and melancholy within the context of the urban jungle. Maszkiewicz’ intent is not to be morose, rather, she uses the flowers as a symbol to represent our basic human instinct that strives for beauty, no matter the impermanence. karolinamaszkiewicz.com
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cross pollination Through her indoor hanging garden installation, artist, KAROLINA MASZKIEWICZ, muses on the attractions of beauty and impermanence in both humans and Nature.
Images by Michael Underwood courtesy of Ochi Projects.
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Up-lifting An organization founded by LIZ POWERS, gives artists who are homeless or disabled a chance to profit from their talent, and thus create a positive change in their lives. “The existing infrastructure (shelters and disability centers) was already in place, and the artists themselves were already creating art using the materials in these programs. The only thing missing was a niche marketplace for their art!”
rtLifting is an organization that empowers artists facing homelessness and disability through the sale and celebration of their artwork. A Public Benefit Corporation, (a forprofit, for-purpose business), the company operates as a business, while also maintaining a social mission. ArtLifting was founded in 2013, by two Boston siblings, Liz and Spencer Powers. They started with four local Boston artists, and have grown to over 120 artists nationwide.
Liz Powers worked as a social worker running art groups, when she discovered that a lot of the quality art being produced in these shelters and disability centers were being thrown away or left to collect dust. She started ArtLifting to give these artists a platform to show their talents. Artists have the chance to secure their own income through the sale of original paintings, prints, and products. They submit an application, go through a curation process, and then are able to sell their work on the Artlifting website, artlifting.com. By showcasing and selling artwork via ArtLifting, artists gain self-confidence that permeates all aspects of their lives. Every artist earns 55% of the profit from the sale of their work; 1% from each sale goes to a fund, which provides art supplies to art groups nationwide; and ArtLifting uses the remaining 44% to further their mission. Liz discovered that thousands of art groups existed in shelters nationwide, but just had very little public exposure. This population was already creating artwork, had free art supplies, and already had art therapists or caseworkers to support them. Yet, the artwork created in these groups oftenended up being discarded or collecting dust. Liz was struck by the waste of talent, and set off on her mission to spread art, opportunity, and happiness.“I’ve seen artists secure housing, gain confidence, and overcome obstacles through the sale andcelebration of their art. ArtLifting gives its artists opportunity, not a handout, which validates the artists and their art. I’ve seen that validation permeate other areas of their lives and create positive change. Some may have more energy to complete job applications, others may be more motivated to stay healthy. The stories of these artists continually inspire me; it’s what fuels me todo the work I do. I am constantly fueled by our artists. They are unbelievably talented and their talents have been ignored for too long. My goal is to make their invisible talents visible and bydoing so, change stereotypes. Instead of defining people by their circumstance, we should define them by their talent.” ArtLifting has secured licensing deals with: Leesa, ThinOPTICS, Starbucks, Parlor Skis and Costco. Notable corporate clients include Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Staples, Bain & Co, and BCG. ArtLifting has been featured in NYT, Today Show, Forbes, Business Insider, CBS News, NBC Nightly News, and Ashton Kutcher Media, among others. artlifting.com
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Eric Santamaria was born and raised in Los Angeles, graduating from McBride High School in Los Angeles, CA. Santamaria utilizes full body motion with toolsâ€”such as brushes or pensâ€”attached to his chair. The motion of rocking back and forth in his chair provides consistent, linear markings that distinguish his work. Variations in size, shape, opacity and color of marks are complemented by organic splatters of color. Santamariaâ€™s signature track marks serve as a path, guiding the viewer through his pieces.
Above Mapping Four Eric Santamaria Prints from $75-$500 Below Circus Hat Terri Renner Prints from $75-$500
Terri Renner was born and raised in Salinas Valley, California and now currently lives in Oceanside. She began making watercolor paintings in high school and has engaged in a long practice of regular art making. Before facing challenges and limitations brought on by Multiple Sclerosis as an adult she enjoyed farming organic food with her husband and volunteering at local hospitals and nursing homes with their therapy dogs. Terri participates in the Rancho San Luis Rey art group and enjoys the camaraderie she experiences there.
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Real Estate Moguls BY CHRISTOPHER DAMON
William McMorrow... Blown Away in Kona PHOTOGRAPHY BY MURPHY Oâ€™BRIEN
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“I’m just very passionate, not only about the island, but about doing things the right way,” William McMorrow, Kennedy Wilson
os Angeles is a beautiful yet vast and sprawling metropolis, a place of diverse pursuits, where you can hike the canyons, grab brunch with friends at the hottest foodie spot, hit the waves and bar hop in your favorite neighborhood all in one day. The never ending explosion of opportunity here keeps the modern Angeleno from ever being bored — and yet for all of the city’s offerings, there is still a good chance that he doesn’t feel like he truly “belongs” to a community. It’s easy to see why cultivating community — that feeling that each person matters to the collective group — is a challenge here. Geography is a major reason. It has been said that Los Angeles is “a city within a city within a city,” a meandering web of regions like The Valley, the Basin, the Eastside, the Westside and even far-flung locales like Malibu and Pasadena, linked only by traffic-jammed freeways.
I recently had the pleasure of spending a week at one of Kennedy Wilson’s properties on the Big Island of Hawaii — a private residence club on 450 oceanfront acres set between the Kona International Airport and Kailua-Kona. Kohanaiki brings together a world-class golf course designed by Rees Jones, bars and restaurants, a spa with hot tubs, dry saunas, plunge pools, relaxation garden and yoga lawn, as well as 400 very exclusive property offerings ranging from $3 million to $30 million. Purchase options encompass everything from a 3-bedroom attached home on the golf course, to a 5-bedroom custom estate, or a vacant lot to design and build your own home. Those who are fortunate enough to become part of “The Lucky 400,” as club members are unofficially called, have a $100,000 entrance fee and $25,000 annual dues.
“It was like Mayberry,” he says with nostalgia in his voice. “Nobody locked their doors.”
Despite its exclusivity, my wife Alicia and I felt immediately welcomed into the Kohanaiki community as soon as we stepped foot inside the spectacular 67,000-square-foot, Shay Zak-designed clubhouse overlooking the 18th hole and the ocean. Almost immediately, we felt the weight of Los Angeles leave us, as the staff embraced us as family and showered us with “Aloha Spirit.” I was struck by their effortless and genuine hospitality, their ability to slow life down for us and their focus on creating true human connection beyond the superficial “What do you do for a living?” questions of Los Angeles. McMorrow, who purchased the property on faith — site unseen — describes it this way: “You go there with no agenda. When I’m there, it doesn’t matter to me what somebody does for a living. In fact, I barely ever talk to people about business.”
His early experiences in Malibu, as one of nine children, fortified his belief in community and building relationships with people — a belief that he carried with him through his years as a graduate student at University of Southern California, then as a banking executive lending money to Fortune 500 companies and later as the CEO of Kennedy Wilson, a global real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily and commercial properties located in the Western U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Spain, Italy and Japan. When he purchased Kennedy Wilson in 1988, the company had one office in Santa Monica with 11 employees. Today, the public company boasts 27 offices around the world with 545 corporate employees and another 6,000 employees that work at various properties globally. McMorrow, who inherited a strong work ethic and discipline from his father who was a Navy fighter pilot, is remarkably down-to-earth about his business philosophy: “We’re all about building relationships with people all over the place and then doing business with them.”
Slowing down to enjoy life is practically a calling at Kohanaiki. Not that you would want to do anything else in such a paradise setting anyway. Once the retreat of Hawaiian royalty, Kohanaiki—which takes its name from its traditional land division, the Kohanaiki ahupua‘a – takes its place among an exotic mix of white, black, and green sand beaches and lush rainforests, ancient lava flows, preserved anchialine ponds and sacred cultural sites along the Kona coastline. The beauty of all of these natural wonders coming together can be overwhelming to mainlanders at first. Taking a private boat tour. Swimming with dolphins. Relaxing with massages. Touring the golf course and the incredible private residences for sale. Alicia and I enjoyed it all during our stay, inspired by the serenity of the nature that surrounded us and thoroughly blown away by the sophistication of the real estate offerings. One really spectacular 2,264-square-foot residence we toured, Hale ‘Alani Residence 40, hooked us with its contemporary Hawaiian design, spacious bedrooms and open-concept great room
This version of Los Angeles may resonate with many of us today — but not William McMorrow. He remembers a simpler time, growing up in Malibu during the 1950s — long before the celebrities and the crowds came.
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with sliding mahogany doors that open to the lānai and private yard. Once we caught a glimpse of the views of the 8th fairway, neighboring Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park and ocean, we were fully under the spell of Kohanaiki. “Whoever is lucky enough to afford a home here…” We let our voices trail off, and the dream of purchasing Kona real estate hang heavy in the tropical air. Surely, McMorrow recognized the magic here too — and yet he hadn’t seen the property before he bought it. I’m still amazed by this fact. “In 1997, I got a phone call out of the blue from a Japanese company that had the loan on 4,500 acres of land on the Big Island that included about 500 acres on the water at Kohanaiki,” he recalls. “I knew from what he was describing to me, based on my experience of living on the beach in Malibu, that oceanfront properties of that scale only go in one direction over time. I asked right on the telephone, ‘What’s the price?’ I literally bought the property and the rest of those acres over the telephone.” Feeling a special connection to the island people and a responsibility to steward the land’s preservation, McMorrow spent the next 20 years and millions of dollars to carefully steer the property to its current form. Kennedy Wilson and its partner IHP took on the monumental (and expensive) task of grading lava, cleaning up the anchialine ponds and installing basic infrastructure, such as utilities. It’s highly unusual for a real estate investment company to hold onto an asset for two decades (let alone one), but due to the success of Kennedy Wilson and their holding power — a strength very few companies possess — they were able to see the project through fruition. When I ask him where his vision for the Kohanaiki Club originated, he says the epiphany came to him early one morning as he drove the property, alone. “I was sitting out on a rock at sunrise,” he describes. “The surf was big. I had never seen a blowhole. Out of nowhere, it sounded like a bomb went off. I went, ‘What the hell?’ That was as close to a religious experience as I could have.” From this experience, he realized a private club that would be “the modern caretaker of the ocean portion of the Kohanaiki ahupua‘a.” What followed was an unwavering commitment to balance the luxuries of million dollar homes, golf, spa treatments and five-
star dining at the open-air restaurant with nature and historic preservation. Kennedy Wilson endeavored to preserve and restore many historic sites on the property, including home sites that date back to AD 1020, ceremonial sites, ahu, more than 200 anchialine ponds and two ancient trails – Ala Māmalahoa and Ala Kahakai. “I’m just very passionate, not only about that island, but about doing things the right way,” he tells me. “I don’t mean just building a fantastic property. I mean really becoming part of the communities that we’re in.” McMorrow returns to the idea of community again, explaining that Kohanaiki and the people who power it day in and day out serve as “a microcosm for Kennedy Wilson’s entire global business.” “I’ve spent a lot of time at Kohanaiki, and I’ve sent hundreds of my friends there over the years,” he says. “Some just go to play golf and see the place. But every time, I receive these emails or letters back from them that they just can’t believe how amazing the property is. It’s not just about the property itself; it’s the experience of the people and how kind they are and how service oriented they are.” There is a saying: “Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me.” This is the Aloha Spirit. As Alicia and I left Kohanaiki and returned to Los Angeles, we reflected on what it means to belong to community, to the Earth, to the people who make their homes around us. Do you know your neighbor’s name? Do you know his kids’ birthdays? When was the last time you asked someone, “How are you?” and paused long enough to genuinely hear the answer? If William McMorrow’s path from Malibu to Kona has taught us anything, it’s that we can all use a little Aloha. To learn more about how to become one of the “Lucky 400” members at Kohanaiki, visit www.kohanaiki.com
Written by Christopher Damon. The Damon Group specializes in residential real estate sales throughout Los Angeles. thedamongroup.com
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Focus Media Agency Focus Media Agency was established in 2012 as a multi-level platform, to give voice to the community businesses and talent which are largely overlooked by traditional media. With a firm emphasis on storytelling, we publish two lifestyle magazines, FOCUS and LA Home. From our West Hollywood studio, we produce multiple, diverse online shows, and we also organize red carpet events across West Los Angeles.
Printed Publications FOCUS
Focus Media Studio
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BY CHRISTOPHER DAMON
my escape to catalina island PHOTOGRAPHY BY MURPHY O’BRIEN
y nature, humans are dreamers, explorers and adventurers. We discover new frontiers in outer space. We seek out new places for escape. We push the boundaries of knowledge, believing that we can always do better than what we are doing right now. Randy Herrel is just that kind of visionary. Ten years ago, Herrel took the helm of the Catalina Island Company as CEO. The premier resort operator on Catalina Island — founded by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. in 1919 — was looking for a pair of fresh eyes to reposition its 123-year-old brand.
“They called me and said, ‘Do you know somebody who would be interested in moving over to the island and helping this company reposition itself?’” recalls the executive, who was fresh off a year-long cross-country road trip taken in a Porsche Turbo at the time. “I said ‘Gosh, I’ll think about it. I don’t really know anybody right now.’ Six months later, they hired me.” In some respects, Herrel was an unconventional hire for a familycontrolled resort. The real estate company oversees a diverse operation including multiple restaurants and shops, four hotels, two vacation rentals, five campgrounds, the entire village of Two Harbors on the west end of the island, including its mooring operations, and more than 20 land and sea activities. That’s in addition to its robust commercial real estate portfolio. He had never run a hotel or a restaurant, let alone a gas station. But his reputation for growing companies, building management teams and turning profits was well-known; he was generally credited with turning Ashworth into a premier golf apparel brand as Chairman/CEO and helping to rejuvenate Quiksilver’s operations. Herrel’s track record must have seemed attractive to the board of directors, which included Geoff Rusack and Wrigley Jr.’s great granddaughter, Alison Wrigley Rusack. They wanted someone who could inject culture and energy back into the island while also respecting its rich history and traditions. I trace this quality — the capacity to think outside the box, set a vision
and then put it back in the box — to an unlikely place in Herrel’s past. Before he turned his sights to business, he studied aeronautical engineering as an undergraduate and graduate student in the late 1960s and early 1970s. “I actually wanted to be an astronaut,” he reveals. How does a guy go from wanting to journey into the far reaches of the galaxy to earning his MBA at Stanford University and three decades later, helping to restore a 22-mile by 8-mile island as California’s premier tourist destination? I find the answer buried in a story Herrel recounts to me about his early days as the Catalina Island Company’s CEO. He was traveling back to the mainland by boat with his collegeaged son, Randy Jr., who turned to him and said insightfully: “Hey dad, you could actually change the DNA of a whole city.” How many of us have the opportunity to change the balance and harmony of an entire city? As a dreamer myself with experience in real estate development, and as a visitor and observer of Catalina’s evolution for over 15 years, I can appreciate the monumental task Herrel faced. How in the world was he going to bring an entire town constituency on board while trying to breathe new life into a place that is steeped in so much history and magic? I am well acquainted with Catalina’s charms. My personal connections to the island run deep: I married my wife, Alicia, on Descanso Beach five years ago, and we almost named our daughter Avalon. Knowing how special Catalina Island is, I can see that it was going to take daring vision and an explorer mentality to reposition it for the modern tourist. I can appreciate the challenge it must have been in the very beginning to convince many of the island’s 4,000 residents, business owners and the board of directors that the vision was not so much for a “new Catalina,” but for “a better Catalina” — one that respected its heritage and traditions. Never mind the huge leap of faith it took for the entire board of directors to grant a multi-million-dollar capital investment in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession. “I was standing at the end of the board room doing the presentation, and I asked them for 15 million dollars to start our first phase in
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G E TAWAY
Avalon,” he recalls. “They looked at me and said, ‘Randy, you’re asking us to believe that if you build it, they will come?’ I said ‘Yes, I believe it.’” His vision came true. Over the last seven years, Catalina Island Company has nearly doubled its annual visitorship from 476,000 to 703,000. All hotels on the island have increased their occupancy rates by 20 percentage points since 2007. That initial $15 million investment expanded to over $40 million to date, covering everything from the addition of the island’s only spa to the introduction of the swanky Descanso Beach Club, (rivaling Miami’s Nikki Beach), and a zip line tour.
“We want to be known as California’s island escape,” says Kristin Metcalfe, Director of Marketing & Communications. “Some destinations might be great for skiers and others might be great for surfers, but there’s really something for everyone here. You can relax at the spa or try the aerial adventure if you’re an outdoor lover. You can go on hikes or lay on the beach to watch the sunset. You can go kayaking. If you enjoy good food or unique cocktails, you’ll have plenty to choose from too. It’s not a destination that’s pegged on one type of person.” Indeed, Alicia and I recently spent three days on the island (what Catalina Island Company has dubbed “a resort without walls”), and
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we were amazed by the depth and range of the amenities. We enjoyed breakfast on the patio of Mt. Ada, a historic hilltop inn overlooking Avalon Bay, where we witnessed a marriage proposal unfolding at the table next to us. Watching the romantic scene brought back memories of our own wedding on the island — just the kind of moment you’d expect to experience in a dreamy seaside village where the residents drive golf carts instead of cars. We whipped above the trees on zip lines and watched sea turtles swim underwater in a bright yellow submarine. We dined on bison short ribs and crispy Brussel sprouts at the new Avalon Grille, which rivals any high-end restaurant that you’d find in Beverly Hills. And when we were tired? We headed back to our cozy suite at Pavilion Hotel — just 14 steps from the beach. It was like we had our own little magical Mediterranean island, and yet we were only a 60-minute ferry ride from Long Beach. This is exactly the feeling the Catalina Island Company wants all visitors to experience on Catalina Island — the feeling of being transported into another world.
invest resources in developing and revitalizing the island. This year alone has seen the transformation of Two Harbors (Harbor Sands) on Catalina’s west end, and the new Catalina Aerial Adventure at Descanso Canyon in Avalon. There are additional plans for a new four-plus-star resort hotel, restoration and enhancement of Mt. Ada, and the creation of a world-class diving experience near Casino Point.
“We want people to feel like they have left the rat race in Southern California,” says Herrel. “After an hour, they step off the boat and they feel like all of the cares of the world have melted away. When people get back on the boat to leave, they get on their mobile phone right before they lose coverage and they say, ‘Hey, we’re coming back to America.’”
To learn more about the Catalina Island Company offerings, please visit www.visitcatalinaisland.com
The company hopes that this sense of escape, coupled with the promise of new experiences and new attractions, will motivate visitors to return to the island again and again. They continue to
“What will the island look like in five or ten years?” asks Herrel. “It looks a lot like it does today, but it’s a much more vibrant environment with a lot of diversity and many things to do. People will come back many times a year because they can’t see it all, or experience it all.” And, like any visionary with an understanding of how human progress works, he adds: “I don’t think it will ever be done.” For that reason alone, every Angeleno should unplug and take the easy 60-minute boat ride to Catalina Island. You never know what you will discover just beyond the horizon.
Written by Christopher Damon. The Damon Group specializes in residential real estate sales throughout Los Angeles. thedamongroup.com
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L A N D M A R K S
Variety Arts Center
940 South Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA 90015 Architects, James and David Allison Built in 1924