LA Home Winter-Spring 2016

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$6.99 | WINTER-SPRING 2016






Contents 6/BRIEFING What’s hot in this season’s home decor, shop openings and upcoming events. 9/COMING UP ROSES Melissa Merwin Malina and her actor husband, Joshua Malina, in their chic Palisades flower shop.



A grand Parisian themed restaurant in the historic Stowell Hotel in Downtown, Los Angeles



Actress Lisa Edelstein and artist Robert Russell’s mid-century, Japanese home.

A home tour of the art collection of realtor, Matt Altman, during which he also discusses the art of selling houses.


18/BETH HOLDEN Q&A with designer and architect Beth Holden on her design for Le Petit Paris.


20/FAVORITE ROOMS Five interior designers pick the favorite rooms that they have designed. 26/THE NATURE OF DESIGN Architect, Grant Kirkpatrick discusses his design philosophy, designing for beach living and the nature of beauty. 34/IN TUNE WITH THE PROCESS Architect, artist and musician Anthony Poon, designs buildings much like a music score, with attention to composition and form but he also advocates improvisation. 4 LA HOME | WINTER-SPRING 2016



62/ETHAN MURROW The grandson of Edward T. Murrow is an accomplished artist, prone to flights of fancy. 66/JOSEF HOFLEHNER An interview with the Austrian photographer about his global travels and startling images of jetliners. 70/THE ART OF HEALING Cedars Sinai Medical Center’s trove of artworks donated from renowned artists and patrons, spans 50 years and plays a part in the healing process of its patients. 72/NANCY BAKER CAHILL The artist’s large scale drawings reflect the complexities of the human body.



Rebecca Wilson and Hayley Miner, as Saatchi Art curators, oversee a portfolio of 500,000 works of art.



Jay Belson’s development in the Hollywood Hills commands sweeping views across Los Angeles, from Downtown to the ocean.

74/THINKING OUT LOUD Sean Yashar muses on the nature of art, exploring the concept of an un-gallery.


78/JAY BELSON A candid profile of the mega developer whose contemporary buildings are a testament to California living. 86/GRACE & DANIEL HWANG A personal view of realtors’ Grace and Daniel Hwang’s Koreatown neighborhood 88/120 MINUTES: SILVER LAKE Exploring Silver Lake with a camera and 120 minutes to spare.

92/TECH Technology in home design. 95/DESIGN BOOKS Our favorite design books (mostly) about Los Angeles. 97/NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS Real Estate satirist, The Broke Agent’s New Year’s Resolutions. 5 LA HOME | WINTER-SPRING 2016

LA/HOME E D I TO R I A L Publisher Andy Waldman/ Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Mark Castellino/ Guest Editor Megan Weaver/ Tech Editor/Editor at Large Jenna Atchison/ Design Editors Erin Castellino Christopher Damon

CO N TR I B U TOR S Photographers Roger Davies John Chimon Joanne Garcia Jenna Atchison Writers Michelle Lawetzki Elif Cercel Alice Damon

I N QU I R I ES Advertising, Subscriptions, Custom Publishing and Distribution inquiries: Submissions: Events:

LA HOME is printed 4 times a year by Focus Media Agency, ISSN 2378-5381, and is available on newsstands, 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: Roger Davies




cool stuff

LUKE HOBBS DESIGN The Los Angeles-based lighting designer repurposes vintage pieces and incorporates reclaimed materials in his touch designs. Simply‘touch’ any part of this metal dog (originally a hood ornament on a MACK truck) to control the light (on/off, 3 levels of brightness). 11.5”L x 5.5”W x 17.5”H. $380

FLYTE Almost magical. A light which hovers by magnetic levitation and is powered through the air. Includes ash base, lightbulb with chrome cap and AC Adapter. Light bulbs are also included. 5”L x 5”W x 1.2”H $349

CAMPAIGN A portable furniture line with a chair, a love seat and three-seater couch; in five different colorways with either black walnut or maple legs. The armchair comes in 3 boxes, easy for assembly and for quick disassembly when you move. It’s the brainchild of Brad Sewell, who worked on Apple’s manufacturing design team. It requires no screwdriver, no hammer, no tiny Allen wrench, just slot the pieces together and screw in the four legs by hand. Chair: $495.

AUSTERE A space in Downtown LA which showcases the best in Scandinavian design, fashion, beauty, hospitality, technology and entertainment – both classic and contemporary.

LA STREET MAPS PINT Drinking in LA – 16 oz pint glass etched with the streets and neighborhoods of Los Angeles. $15 Above: Dome Table by Lith Lith Lundin, a furniture company from the small village of Torsåker in central Sweden. $1,186

BEND GOODS Inspired by the antique barns of the Pennsylvania Dutch, this Farmhouse Lounge Chair from Los Angeles based Bend Goods is typical of their playful and colorful wire furnishings. Take a look at their ‘wildlife’ collection of wire animal head sculptures and African-inspired wire baskets too. Hot-dip galvanized iron, powder coated finish, wire chair. 34.5”H, 22”W, 25”D. $480

Left: Roadster Saab Based on the very first Saab — A Sixten Sason prototype 92001, the Roadster Saab is part of Playsam’s Rideons, model cars that kids can actually drive and steer. Founded in 1984, Playsam is the leading Scandinavian design company for wooden toy gifts. 37” Length $500 Austere DTLA 912 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015




MODERNISM WEEK 12-22 February More than 200 events highlighting midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture in the greater Palm Springs area. HUDSON GRACE Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton’s San Francisco-based home decor and entertaining brand, recently opened in a Gensler designed store in Brentwood Country Mart. On display is a collection of quintessentially modern dinnerware, glassware, table linens, napkins, flatware, candles, interior scent and other serving and entertaining products. As modern classics, they exude a comfortable blend of masculinity and femininity. Hudson Grace crafts and sources original and vintage designs, often made in Europe. “I am particularly excited about introducing florals into our Brentwood shop,” says Totah. “The garden experience adds a wonderful scent and warmth to the space, giving the feel of handpicked and foraged flowers. The organic materials set against vintage garden pieces and the modernity of our signature products is just right.” Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th Street, Santa Monica CA 90402 | CONSORT The cutting-edge interior design firm founded by Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone, whose list of clientele include Jessica Alba, Jimmy Kimmel and Sophia Bush, has opened their first retail store on Melrose Avenue. The 2000sq ft space will be representative of the firm’s design ethic, featuring custom furniture, reimagined vintage pieces, small décor items, artwork and entertaining essentials. Consort will also feature exclusive partnerships and collections, including upholstered pieces from Estee Stanley, Sabin, photography from Andrew Arthur, textiles from Shilo Engelbrecht, ceramics from Lux / Eros, lighting from Pletz, select décor pieces from MVNGMTNS and bedding from Parachute. 6918 Melrose Avenue CA 90038


THE HILLSBOROUGH ANTIQUES + ART + DESIGN 26-28 February The annual show which benefits United Veterans Services will feature over 200 premier exhibitors from across the U.S., Canada and Europe offering fine antiques and decorative arts representing all design movements of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and introducing vintage 20th century modern. MAD ABOUT DESIGN WESTWEEK 2016 March 23 and March 24 WESTWEEK delivers two robust days of compelling showroom activities, open houses, receptions and new line introductions to educate and inspire attendees. The 2016 Spring Market theme, ‘Mad About Design,’ gives special focus to the joyous, enthusiastic, largerthan-life approach to the design process that is the trademark of some of the industry’s most creative bon-vivants.



self-confessed Francophile, Melissa Merwin Malina named her chic flower shop ‘isarose’ after the Gertrude Stein line “A rose is a rose, is a rose…” In actuality, there are a profusion of roses, including a smoky, coffeecolored ‘cappuccino’ breed, but also peonies, hellebores, and tulips which she orders online, and which are dispatched overnight from Holland. Tucked away down a side street, it would be almost impossible to find in any setting other than the Palisades village, where people still prefer to walk around. And where the neighborhood population is small enough that word travels fast. “I don’t like flowers that look tortured,” says Melissa. “I like normal English garden roses, but casually arranged. I like them to look like how they grow in Nature. I don’t ever use green florist foam because it’s full of carcinogens and it’s not recyclable. It doesn’t allow the flowers to move.” Another secret – she cuts the stems with a paring knife instead of secateurs, something she learned in Holland. The subsequent clean, unsqueezed cuts helping the flowers to last longer. The shop has been open for 6 months but she started 5 years ago. “It’s all due to being Jewish,” she says wryly. “I did some flower arranging for the synagogue and then a girlfriend asked me to do her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. And that was my real paying gig.” Melissa exchanged her career as a costume designer for that of motherhood. Eighteen years later, her daughter is grown up and a second career as a florist blossomed. The floral life is in her roots. Her father is a farmer. Her sister, who still lives in Northern California, where Melissa grew up, has a lavender farm on her Grandfather’s property. Among the handpicked books, (most of which she has read), soaps and candles that fill her store, there are also scented pouches of lavender which her sister sends to her. “There are a lot of people who subscribe to Melissa’s tastes,” says her husband Joshua. “There isn’t that feeling of it being a sale but more of a complementary gift or possession that complements the flowers.” Melissa is very much a curator and artist. Ask her which flowers are her favorites and she says, “All of them. I love color.” She cites her rules of flower arranging – pay attention to height, texture, be unafraid of negative space, have a hero flower. All things she learned at a workshop in Holland, and which she know uses as a foundation for her instinctive creativity. “It’s like painting – when it comes to arranging flowers, you can overthink it”. Within minutes, in her hands a few random flowers are transformed into a captivating arrangement, which seems to surprise her as much as the person ordering them. g

Melissa Merwin Malina and Joshua Malina in their chic flower shop in Pacific Palisades.


A bouquet of flowers comes to life in Melissa’s hands. For this arrangement, she used Hellebores, Peonies, Dubium, Bay Laurel, Viburnum Tinus, Aussie Pine, Brunia Baubles and Cappucino Roses.

Mostly, her customers come to her through word of mouth. She does Bar Mitzvahs, events, and flowers for the synagogue, as well as in-house consultations. Her shop’s presence is very much suited to the village atmosphere of the Palisades, where people stroll around the town, exploring the boutique artisan shops and cafes. Everyone talks of her specialty, which is a cute flower arrangement in a mason jar. Her success in the village is a surprise to nobody. What is, however, is to see her husband Joshua helping out, ferrying in flowerboxes newly arrived from Holland. He delivers too, and has a hand in helping curate Melissa’s collection of in-store books and gifts. Joshua Malina you may find familiar from numerous movies and The West Wing. He can currently be seen on-screen as US Attorney David Rosen in the 5th season of ABC’s extremely popular show, Scandal. Extremely supportive of his wife, they often travel together from their home in Malibu to the Palisades shop, working harmoniously together. He is learning from her, the subtleties of flower arranging and the obscure flower names. Originally from New York, he says he is lucky that he films in LA, and that gives him time to putter around the shop. Joshua helps

her find vintage props like fruit crates and the vintage Mexican barbecue which acts as a flower container, and which add to the ambience of the store. He also found the pens for the shop collection. So much nicer to receive a beautiful, lovingly crafted arrangement of flowers, looking as natural as if you had swooped them up from a meadow, than the tightly packed flowers that you see online, crammed into a square vase, almost homogeneous in appearance, industrially duplicated like hotel art. Melissa’s enthusiasm is palpable. “My heart swells – I get so excited,” she says, when someone walks through her doors and asks her to make a flower arrangement. Who wouldn’t want to be made to feel as special as that? isarose 863 Swarthmore Ave Suite E Pacific Palisades CA 90272 T: 310 310-2802



Watch and share these stories online. 13 LA HOME | WINTER-SPRING 2016




he Wall Street of the West now has an authentic taste of Paris with the opening of Le Petit Paris in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. A collaborative transformation, Beth Holden of NEW THEME INC. – an LA based architecture and designbuild firm – has crafted a home for restaurant Le Petite Paris and streetfront marketplace La Boutique in the former lobby of the historical Stowell Hotel.


The first sister establishment to the famous French restaurant of the same name, the restoration and reopening of this Historic-Cultural Monument – named HCM #1030 by the Cultural Heritage Commission – signifies the emergence of a 10,335 square foot multi-purposed bar, restaurant, and boutique that introduces an artisanal French flair to the epicenter of LA’s Financial District. Once frequented by Hollywood royalty including silent film star and onetime hotel resident Charlie Chaplin, the stylized landmark designed by architect Frederick Noonan in 1913 was rediscovered in 2013 by French restaurateurs David and Fanny Rolland after seeing a long-term abandonment in the 1980’s. Situated in the Historic Core neighborhood of LA, the building was refashioned as condominiums in 2008 with a lobby awaiting a much-needed renewal. Constructed of all local materials, a particular feat of the era, with terra cotta from Glendale, cement from Riverside and custom tiles from renowned Pasadena artist and tile innovator Ernest Batchelder. Together, Holden and the Cannes-based restaurateurs poured endless hours into the preservation of the interior and architectural integrity; just as seen in the City of Light, the space harmoniously reflects the perfect juxtaposition of modern and historic. Influenced by the Gothic and Art-Nouveau styles, the century-old lobby is aligned with Corinthian arches, double height ceilings, dramatic skylights and an open circulation allowing the two-story interior to easily transition between restaurant and social space. A grandiose processional staircase cascades above the solid tongue-and-groove mahogany bar to the mezzanine where a second walnut stained, FSC® mahogany bar is under lit by LED illuminating the onyx countertop. The mezzanine level offers ample space for a DJ and live performances along with private dining at an 18-foot table and a garden-like, outdoor terrace overlooking the street. In addition to the interior design elements, all the furniture and millwork was co-designed by Holden and NEW THEME partner Wolfgang Melián – built locally by hand in their NoHo Arts District shop – both flawlessly reflecting the attention to handcraftsmanship and meticulous high quality detail that stand at the core of the Rolland’s

Sconces are accented by hand etched Eiffel Tower designs.



business ethos. The custom designed, solid wood entry flows into the main dining room where columns adorned with sconces are accented by hand-etched Eiffel Tower designs. Hand molded, wood form and velvet tufted benches were custom designed and built-in along with the small tables crafted of alder wood. Hand formed bases, as well as larger FSC® solid oak dining tables, were finished with a sleek, modern walnut stain. As is typical of structures built during this era, the adaptive reuse of the space brought both promise and numerous challenges. The electrical system required extensive renovations to serve the new power needs, and in order to properly ventilate the kitchen, a complicated hood system was installed. It now towers 13 stories on the rear façade. La Boutique, a street level market storefront, serves pastries and consumable goods as well as Château d’Estoublon olive oils, Baobab Collection candles and a well-curated selection of fine products from France. An embassy for French cooking, everything in Le Petit Paris will be made on-site – from the baguettes and charcuterie to the selection of patisseries – offering LA a taste of the Rolland’s French gourmand passion in a space perfectly complimented by NEW THEME’s dedication to impeccable craftsmanship, design and artistry.


he Stowell Hotel is located on Spring St. south of 4th St.; this 1913 twelve-story building exhibits character-defining features of the Gothic and Art-Nouveau styles. The building is clad in a decorative white terra cotta with a floral and leaf design, with the primary façade facing Spring Street arranged in the classical base-shaftcapital composition. Architect Frederick Noonan designed the hotel for Nathan Wilson Stowell, a prominent businessman and board member of the Farmers and Merchants Bank, who also constructed and owned the Mayan Theater. The building, also known as the El Dorado Hotel for decades, has recently been adaptively reused as the residential El Dorado Lofts.

Le Petit Paris 418-420 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 T: 213-217 4445


Traditional Corinthian columns from the original Stowell Hotel are congrous alongside contemporary chandeliers from Restoration Hardware.




Beth Holden achieves a seamless blend of contemporary style with historical architecture in her design for Le Petit Paris, partly influenced by her time spent in Europe. Most notably, she assisted with the design of the prominent Paris Rive Gauche development.

DESIGNER Q&A How did you come to work on this project? We were actually recommended to the owners of Le Petit Paris from our client at The Globe Theater who also happens to be French. At the time we were also working on Main Street on the Regent Theater. Since you spent some time in Europe, did you have a particular insights or affinity to the design? Yes, I lived almost 10 years in France working for two different architects in Paris, there’s definitely a sophisticated way Europeans detail in simple yet complex ways, marrying old and new elements in a harmonious way. I hope, above anything, that this shows in my work. When you approach a project like this how do you steer cleer of sterotypes or obvious details, and how much do you have to retain to show authenticity? I think one has to face stereotypes directly and play with them! Making little nods and jokes is fun for me. Being too serious can be boring. I like to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously! At Le petit Paris, we played with the images of The Eiffel Tour with the sconce lights on columns that blend into them, yet acknowledge that this image is one of the most stereotypic and iconic in the world. Were you able to achieve any environmentally friendly details within this obviously traditional hotel? In all of our projects sustainability is as import as the design itself. All of the wood we use is formaldehyde free, low VOC paints, energy efficient fixtures and appliances. In addition, we design and fabricate the furniture locally in our NoHo shop. We believe in high quality, locally made furniture and built-ins.

Beth Holden and NEW THEME Upon her return to the United States from Europe, Beth Holden worked as an associate with Barton Myers, where she oversaw and completed a number of commercial projects before she launched her own architectural firm, NEW THEME Inc. in 2005. As a certified green builder, as well as a licensed California State Contractor, she is uniquely able to apply a design-build approach to each of her projects that integrates every stage from conception to completion. Her fluency in both architectural forms and construction techniques gives her the ability to tailor her work for a wide variety of clients, and allows her to express space both within its habitable dimensions as well as its tactile forms.

Were there any challenges you encountered working in the historic hotel environment? Yes, the existing structure posed many challenges, particularly with the HVAC system. We had to work closely with our mechanical engineer to find an innovative hybrid system to fit, function and be cost effective. The kitchen was challenging too, as our clients, like us, make everything in-house, including all the pastries. Lastly, dealing with the city is always challenging. You used local artisans for some of the design details, can you elaborate on that please? Our philosophy is to work with local fabricators. Most of our in-house design is directed by my husband and partner Wolfgang Melian. We also work with local craftspersons and artists, which supports another aspect of sustainability. How do you reconcile your different styles of architecture when you work on projects like this and also contemporary projects like the Green & Greenberg house? I’m definitely a modernist, but when challenged with a historic building I respect and embrace these elements. In Europe there is a fluidity of working with space color and texture. I feel each project is unique with a unique set of obstacles that needs to be addressed individually. I’m not an architect who does the same thing time and time again. I approach each project as an exploration with a different outcome each time. What was the most interesting part of working on this project? That I was able to speak French all day long! I also really love history and discovering historical facts, so it was extremely interesting for me to research the history of the building.




In the first of a series of Favorite Things, five Interior Designers choose their favorite rooms.

Submit a favorite room in your house to for consideration in our next issue or post it to Instagram #mylahome.


my favo ri t e roo m

taylor jacobson

Photographed by Amy Bartlam

I worked with a young couple to decorate their colonial style home in Los Feliz. Deep blue was a consistent design theme throughout the house, culminating in the high gloss walls enveloping this cozy den. The space is very representative of my style because it incorporates warm, organic tones through the leather chairs, wood coffee table and bamboo shades, while infusing color and pattern with the walls, textural rug and pillows.

Resources: Sofa: custom Vintage leather armchairs: Arne Norell Coffee table: Lawson Fenning Rug: Vintage Moroccan Side tables: Bernhardt Wall color: Pratt and Lambert “Academy Blue�

Taylor Jacobson T: 415-609-2048


/ INTERIOR DESIGN my favo ri t e roo m

grace home furnishings

Photographed by Everett Fenton Gidley

Holmby Hills Living Room. This project was a renovation of a family home for long time client Cynthia Pett in the Little Holmby area of Los Angeles. It features bold color, Grace Home CollectionŠ pieces and the client’s original artwork. Cynthia wanted her home to be elegant, yet at the same time kid and pet friendly, which is typical of many of our clients. To make this happen we paid close attention to the durability of the rugs, fabrics and finishes for all of the pieces, without sacrificing style or comfort.

Resources: All the furniture, furnishings and accessories are from Grace Home Furnishings.

Roger Stoker and Michael Ostrow T: 310 476-7176


my favo ri t e roo m

DISC interiors

Photographed by D. Gilbert

This living room we designed in Santa Monica for a family, illustrates our style which has been described as “warm modern” and influenced by nature. The client is a landscape designer, so we designed the furniture floor plan to look into the gardens she designed. This room has always been a favorite of ours, as it mixes so many materials and finishes, such as brass, ceramics, linen, and wood in an unexpected way. The room is extremely comfortable and has a lived-in, and “collected” quality that we aim for.

Resources: Black and Brass Ceiling lighting: Bourgeois Boheme Custom DISC Sofa DISC Swivel Chair Vintage Moroccan Rug Ceramics: Mira Mara Brass and Onyx Coffee Table: Lawson Fenning Floor Lamp: Visual Comfort Pillows: Zak+ Fox Side Table: Arteriors

Krista Schrock and David John Dick T: 818 635-8158


/ INTERIOR DESIGN my favo ri t e roo m

west haddon hall

Photographed by Bethany Nauert

This client is a female marketing executive; the image is of her private office in Marina del Rey, California. We began our design scheme with this Florence Broadhurst Japanese Bamboo wallpaper and built the room from there, incorporating rich velvets and fairly modern shapes in the furnishings. We loved the look of this hand-knotted rug paired with the wallpaper and began pulling colors and patterns from that palette for pillow fabrics. The result is so unique and feels very much like a fashion editor’s office.

Resources: Wallpaper: Florence Broadhurst, from Walnut Wallpaper Coffee Table: Blu Dot Mirror and Patterned Rug: Anthropologie Sofa and Chair: Custom fabricated in velvets from International Silks and Woolens Lamp: West Elm Pillows: Leopard: Arianna Belle; Pink in back: Anthropologie, Light Blue Ikat: Ballard Designs; Eggplant Velvet: Custom Kate Strickland Driver T: 213.537.9177


my favo ri t e roo m

Caitlin McCarthy Design

Photographed by Mary Costa

This project was a dream experience, with a young, stylish tech startup client with an impressive art collection looking to remodel his newly acquired two-bedroom home in the Hollywood Hills. This project represents modern Californian design with rich colors, clean geometry, and a few unexpected twists on classics. Breezy but bold, this one-story home is the perfect entertaining space or getaway retreat.

Resources: Forest Green cabinetry White Swiss Cross tile: Ann Sacks Appliances: Wolf Waterfall island and counter: Nero Marquina Turquoise leather bar stools: Lawson Fenning Hammered cone pendants: Tom Dixon Vintage inspired knobs and pulls: Liz’s Antique Hardware Industrial gold faucet set: Rubinet Caitlin McCarthy T: 213 995-5005



grant kirkpatrick



hen it comes to contemporary California design, few living architects are as committed as Grant Kirkpatrick, founder of Kirkpatrick Architects, a firm specializing in residential homes with names like Tom Hanks, Kirk Kerkorian and Matt Damon on its client list. A native of Long Beach like his father and grandfather, Kirkpatrick has the Golden State in his DNA, a la George Lucas or the Beach Boys, but instead of film or music, he appeals to the senses by juxtaposing cement, stone, glass and wood, and creating living spaces that capture the essence of SoCal. Kirkpatrick’s designs are synonymous with the nature-inspired, contemporary, yet inviting, style that he describes as “Soft Modern” rooted in California. He builds mostly on the West side, between The Valley, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills and the South Bay beach cities. His homes pay homage to the giants of architecture, starting with Frank Lloyd Wright himself. As a student at USC, Kirkpatrick took in their naturalist, indoor-outdoor living ideas and in decades of building, grew his connection to nature and made it his own. Himself a resident of Manhattan Beach, Kirkpatrick is today one of the go-to names in the Beach Living movement that finds beauty in the harsh effects of sun, sand, sea and wind. He likes to turn challenges like privacy and lot size into positives and has developed creative ways to handle clients’ needs, including Californians’ obsession with “The View.” He has an art curator’s eye when it comes to framing views from hilltops or ocean-fronts, or blowing out panoramas for maximum effect. As a young graduate, Kirkpatrick was working at a Santa Monica firm when he made a bold move and took on his first commission for a family friend when his boss turned it down. Thinking back, he feels this was not a smart move: “I went from a job paying $8 an hour to one where I was probably paying that for every hour I worked.” From that, he built up the business that has become one of the most highly regarded on the SoCal design landscape along with his partner Erik Evens, and team, completing projects for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Christie’s auctions, Hugo Boss and others Kirkpatrick’s devotion to SoCal design does not end there. He is passionate about giving back and engages with students, professionals and anyone interested through lectures and talks. Most recently, he gave a TED talk titled “The Beauty Switch”, spelling out the ideas that inspire him. Kirkpatrick has been involved with the nonprofit, artworxLA for more than a decade, and dedicates himself to giving disadvantaged youth an arts-based education. The foundation is close to his heart as he himself was hooked on design at age 12, when his parents remodeled their house and he first saw concrete pouring into the trenches: “I just loved it. I wanted to know who was the guy with the plans, waving his arms around, and that was it for me. I never looked back.”

Always looking to connect with nature, Kirkpatrick also started a vineyard in Central California eight years ago and the first harvest will be bottled next year. Through his relationship with USC the project developed into something unexpected and along with Dean Qingyun Ma, a fellow winemaker, Kirkpatrick plans to create a joint Chinese-American blend and fund scholarships from the sales. LA Home talked to Kirkpatrick about the ideas that drive his work and the latest trends in LA’s architecture scene, and of course, we got a peek at his latest projects. What is your architectural style? We specialize in custom residential and all our work is in the contemporary arena. Our homes are soft modern. They are not cold, white, “shock and awe” buildings but really timeless heirlooms. They stem from the early California modernist movement, fostered by Frank Lloyd Wright, and by other influencers like Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra who worked for him. We draw from the legacy of their work and the Case Study Homes. There are many other amazing architects who worked here through the years from John Lautner to Ray Kappe who influence our work. But our inspiration comes from a much wider net than architecture. It really stems out of all of the innovative California creative industries, ranging from entertainment to car design to artists who set the innovative bar in and around Los Angeles. The Ocean Park, Venice, Marina Del Rey area also is a hotbed of creativity that inspires us. How do you bring nature into your current projects? At last year’s TED talk I spoke a lot about nature, which is the influence in our work. We come from nature and the closer we are connected to it, whether we draw from it as inspiration or literally utilizing it in our work, that is when we are at our best, That is when I believe human kind is at their best and you will see this in all our work. We are strongly connected to nature and natural principles. If we are blessed with a commission it’s because the client is either interested in, or has seen our work, and wants to make that connection. If the opportunity in front of us doesn’t give priority to that, then we are not likely to be doing that project. So you’ll see that in the indoor-outdoor elements of our work and what we call the spaces in between. It’s also in how we use natural light and the light that emanates out. You’ll also see it in the materials we use. We try to draw them from the actual site. We try to extract materiality, the palette and even the physical materials themselves from the property or the local surroundings. We try to source locally in all cases using material that is connected with the project and on and on. What are the specific challenges associated with beach style homes? Most beach living in California has an interesting component. It is urban: we live close to our neighbors, land is precious, and lots are typically


18th Walkstreet A three-story, walkstreet family beach home. Photo by Erhard Pfeiffer

3rd Street Located high in the ‘hill section’ of Manhattan Beach, this home is an example of seamless indoor/outdoor living. Photo by Sharon Risedorph

34th and The Strand This Southern California oasis is a harmonious blend between a lively tropical resort and a rejuvenating South Pacific retreat. Photo by Manolo Langis

6th Street | A multi-generational family headquarters for a couple, with built-in flexiblity for the living areas. Photos by Farshid Assassi

6th Street | The complementary designed interiors are by Chris Barrett. Photos by Karyn Millet

/ ARCHITECTURE smaller. In the last decade or two, people want to get more out of that so we try to extract every square inch – but that comes with the necessity to maintain some degree of privacy and have a uniqueness as well, that reflects the individual or the circumstances at home. So privacy is always a big issue at the beach. We also use material palettes that are comfortable at the beach, that wear well. All materials take a beating there. Between the salt, the air, the sun and the wind, the environment is difficult on materials. So we use a proven palette of materials that stand the test of time both durability-wise and aesthetically. We typically build homes that have real fortitude, that are going to have stamina through the decades and potentially look better than when they were first built. We use quality builders to ensure that as well. We are lucky that in Southern California we have really top flight builders who treat these homes as their babies, and we have to give credit to them. So that’s an advantage. Then, of course, there are the views. They are paramount. About 90% of the projects we work on are view properties, whether they are on the beach or up on the hills. We curate views almost like pieces of art. Often clients pay money that resembles sought-after art pieces for properties with views, so we frame the views in different ways. I understand clients often want the panorama from every room in the house. But there are times to take advantage of that panorama, and times we want to frame the view and treat it almost as pictures on the wall, precious moments. The juxtaposition of the two is where these homes can take the maximum advantage of their locations. What are you working on now? We are building a home in the Hollywood Hills on a peninsula with views from Sunset Blvd. all the way around to the Getty. It just hovers over the city and we are doing a fabulous two story indoor-outdoor village. It’s a home but it’s made up of pavilions and I’m excited about the way it takes advantage of the site and the views which we weave into an indooroutdoor story. We’re also doing a project at the top of La Jolla on the hill overlooking the downtown area and the Pacific Ocean. It’s on a two-acre site with 300-year old cork oak trees. We took a simple series of forms and interlocked them around the trees so the house is actually almost a series of sculptural forms that pay homage to the trees. We just put the model for this project in the front office. It’s really exciting. Another home we are building is on the Strand in Manhattan Beach. It’s four stories, two below and two above ground. It’s fun because it has two pavilions connected by a bridge over a courtyard in the middle. Sometimes it’s pretty windy down at the beach. People don’t realize that a terrace on the front of the building looks nice but gets pretty cold, whereas a courtyard is more sheltered, more usable. At the bottom of that house we have a 25-meter, olympic size lap pool. The entire lower level of the house is like a wellness center that looks like a Scandinavian spa with a lot of wood. It’s really great. What technology and innovations can you use today that you were unable to use 10 years ago? One of the advantages about technology today is the modeling software that we use to both help the design process and then to communicate for construction. We use the Building Information Modeling Software throughout the process, even on the initial sketches. It gives us internally a great platform to evolve the concept quickly. Later we are able to map into it all the components of the project, down to handles on the cabinetry and the stone slabs for the counter tops. This leaves very little guess work in the actual building process so we are minimizing changes. I think we are also making clients have a better time with the process. Architects like to use big words and two-dimensional ideas that are not understood perfectly by the client, who will nod their head out of respect. But the computer eliminates that and literally puts us all on the same visual platform. So that’s exciting. Next, it engages the staff early on in the design process, like the young architects and apprentices who would

normally come into it later. Modeling technology has them involved in the process almost from the start. If I had this technology several decades ago, it would have been marvelous. Young architects don’t know what they have. How do you give back, especially to younger generations? One of our core values at KAA is to promote awareness of the value of design. We consider this our duty. The reason is that we strongly believe that our society is not promoting the value of design and creativity and that’s a problem. It’s going to get worse so we are always promoting it. We do this is by always getting kids in here and introducing them to design. We welcome the children of friends and friends of friends. We also have an internship program and have many staff members who were interns through college and are now working here. Tell us about your involvement in artworxLA. What drives me about artworxLA is helping kids whose parents never remodeled their house. One out of seven jobs in LA are in the creative industries and LA is one of the biggest marketplaces in the world. Kids who are in conventional high schools who are artistically inclined may not do well in math or science or history. Their core competency lies in some kind of creative endeavor, whether it’s drawing, painting, music or whatever. But they lose it because their high school has no art program. They really have no way to engage and artworxLA gives kids a chance to get connected in a way that they never could. We are pulling kids off the street or out of incarceration, we are taking pregnant teens who have a lot to offer and never saw the light. They are getting reintegrated into a high school-based curriculum and finding themselves and the inner strength and confidence that they just didn’t have. All they had was a disillusionment because they just couldn’t make it in a conventional setting without any kind of creative stimulation. It’s really rewarding and every year we are doing better and involving more kids. We have kids who will tell their parents they want to go to an arts based high school. but the parents say no, because that won’t get you anywhere. A lot of our job is to get the parents to understand this isn’t about training the next generation of painters or sculptors. This is about giving kids their confidence back, so that they can become comfortable with themselves and see what they want to do. We all have that creative tendency inside and I can’t imagine my life without that. What’s ahead in the next five or ten years? I love what I’m doing and I love our staff. We are so passionate about our work and we always get better and better. By virtue of that, we are attracting the folks who appreciate that level of design and detail. It amazes me how many people are interested in that across this world. At each level of the ladder you climb there’s another group who is more attuned to great design and detail. My leisure time revolves around our vineyard. Soon we’ll have our own wine and label, and we are going to do really interesting things beyond offering it to just friends, family and clients. 2015 was our big harvest and that’s now in oak barrels and we are going to have our first bottling and naming project in 2017. A Sunday for me is spent farming and getting my hands dirty, and most importantly, being out in those rows of vines. I discovered that the most beautiful thing in the world to me is the connection of man and nature. The best example of that for me is in the vineyard where you take a perfect grid of vines that have been planted every four feet and you roll that like a blanket over the natural topography. The vineyard is very much like architecture. The first half is all nature and farming. The second half is scientific and more about chemistry. I don’t do the second half. I’m not the winemaker, I’m the farmer!


artworxla artworxLA puts high-risk youth back on the pathway to success through its arts programs in inner city high schools.

An educational organization which attracts the likes of Moby and Spiderman film director, Marc Webb, must have something beneficial at its core. Indeed, artworxLA, has been working tirelessly for the last two decades to combat Los Angeles County’s dropout crisis – 16,734 students dropped out in 2013/14. In a region which also holds the state’s highest poverty rate, artworxLA works with teenagers in the alternative high school system who are at the highest risk of leaving without a diploma. Originally named The HeArt Project, Cynthia Campoy Brophy founded the organization to address the lack of arts education programs for L.A. teenagers. The program began at a community center in Skid Row and soon grew into the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Options program, which serves alternative education students. By 2008, the program was in 25 sites and in 2010 a partnership with LACOE established Los Angeles’ first arts academy for alternative education students, the Hollywood Media Arts Academy. By bringing art into their lives, artworxLA energizes students to achieve great things on their way to graduation and a vibrant future. They re-engage in school, discover their individuality and become more passionate about learning. Now students are not only graduating from high school but they are applying the skills they learned to become part of L.A.’s creative industries. Alumni have interned at GUESS, Trailer Park, Ableton and Icon Collective. Hybrid Apparel hosted field trips for artworxLA students at their headquarters, where they discovered fashion design and manufacturing in action. Over the years, artworxLA has worked with 12,000 students at over 50 alternative education sites in eight school districts. It has attracted luminaries in the arts and design industries like incoming Chairman Grant Kirkpatrick, of KKA Architects, the musician Moby, producer Raymond Leon Roker and Spiderman film director Marc Webb, to lend their expertise in preparing the students for a life in the creative arts. It has partnered with cultural institutions like the Getty, LACMA, and the Hammer Museum and its students have received scholarships at the top arts colleges in the area. In partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, artworxLA alumni have published photography, launched creative businesses, worked as professional artists assistants, received certification in creative software and pursued college art degrees. In the coming years, artworxLA hopes to increase the number of graduating students and to strengthen partnerships with post-secondary institutions. It aims to establish additional alternative education arts academies like the existing Hollywood Media Arts Academy. Anyone wishing to help them succeed in their modest aim to raise $50,000 anually, can donate online at their website. They are also holding their Annual Gala on 5 May 2016, at which you are invited to pledge your support.





Anthony Poon’s sketch for the completed Greenman Elementary School in Aurora, Illinois. Rhythm, harmony and musical notations of a Bach Partita inspired the brick, steel and glass façade, as the school’s curriculum for the 700 students focuses on the performing arts. Designed with A4E.

I Photo by Mikel Healey

Anthony Poon Artist, Musician and Architect, Poon Design Anthony Poon is an award-winning architect and an accomplished musician. He received his Master of Architecture from Harvard University and his Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Berkeley. In addition to having taught at the University of Southern California, he has made presentations at national and regional conferences. Among his many achievements, in 2004 he served as a “Pop Culture Panel Consultant” to USA Today. In 2008, he was a finalist for Los Angeles Magazine’s World Class Tastemakers. Anthony was also a performing artist for the 2012 Architects in Concert, Unfrozen Music and he was selected as a mixed-media artist for the 2013 national Beverly Hills Art Show.

n 1987, Anthony Poon faced the decision of which one of his passions he should pursue in his graduate studies; he had to decide between the Julliard School of Music and Harvard Graduate School of Design. Poon is a classically trained musician who desired to be a famous concert pianist, although he has also always had an interest in architecture and design. “As a child I always drew, and I always played with Legos,” says Poon, “And I trained to be a concert pianist, that was my original passion.” While he ultimately decided on Harvard, he has found a way to continue to pursue both of his passions: architecture and music. In Poon’s graduate thesis he decided to look at the art of creation and asked: “What can we learn from jazz in the creative process that we can apply to the architectural design process?” Poon’s studies had intertwined music and architecture, and he now weaves them into his designs. As Poon’s work shows, the commonality between music and architecture is the fact that both disciplines are process driven, and each project is approached as an open and collaborative process. Poon and his multi award-winning architectural firm, Poon Design Inc., have found a way to conceptually tie music and architecture together in a way that conveys not just aesthetics, but also a strong narrative through the design. Principals, Anthony Poon and John Kim, have collaborated on over 150 eclectic design projects including residential, educational, religious and commercial buildings, with each project being creatively approached through the use of their multi-disciplinary skills. John Kim says, “My background in photography, industrial design, and architecture has taught me to focus on how our designs can best be condensed into elements with a thoughtful contrast of color, material, history, and meaning.” Anthony Poon stresses that his firm is driven by team work. “I’m like a band leader, with a team of jazz musicians who are virtuosos of their instruments.”


Simultaneously, his process is inspired by the improvisational spirit of jazz. The outcome can be refreshingly original. “I enjoy combining things together, either comfortably or awkwardly, to see what might arise: the modern and the traditional, the hand crafted and the machine made, the broad strokes and the finicky details,” he says. At a Buddhist meditation retreat, Poon Design created a guardrail that juxtaposed a galvanized steel frame with natural twine made from hemp. For the University of California student center they combined traditional campus brick and limestone, with a sleek glass curtain wall and over-scaled weathering zinc shingles. At Mendocino Farms, they created a funky old school vibe, with chalk board walls, vaudeville signage, clothespins, and industrial piping juxtaposed with high-end Carrara marble, walnut planks, stainless steel trim, and custom furniture. While Poon Design has worked extensively in Southern California, it has also initiated projects in Korea, Egypt, Virginia, and Texas. Some of these include work with the University of California, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Poon Design approaches each project as an open and collaborative work, which involves the entire firm at the beginning. Throughout the design process, ideas come from a variety of different medias and fields, being suggested by both the clients and Poon Design. Anthony Poon makes it very clear that the client is a part of each step of the process. He says, “Our clients come to us because they understand the creative process. They don’t know where they’re going to end up but they enjoy the journey with us.” The ongoing collaboration between Poon and his clients is what makes each project unique and different. It also allows for the client to become an active and contributing part of the entire process. While, at the beginning the client may not know exactly what they will get, as the process continues they will know what the end product will look like. One of Poon Design’s past projects was the design of the Chaya restaurant in Downtown, Los Angeles. There are multiple locations of Chaya, and each location responds to the community it serves. Each restaurant is designed to be representative of the area in which it is located, while still holding the common thread that brings all the locations together. Poon’s firm has worked with the current owners on the design for the Downtown restaurant from the beginning of the project to the end, in order to create a unique dining experience. They have collaborated on each detail, from creating the concept of the space to designing the furniture, graphics and menus. g

A design proposal for a U.S. Air Force chapel in a retirement community in San Antonio, Texas. The triangular floor plan, dramatic slope of the green roof, and overall composition of the pouredin-place concrete building expresses the majesty and heroicism of the Air Force, as the structure reaches for the sky. Rendering by Mike Amaya.

A Buddhist temple in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia. The pavilion is hand crafted by community labor in authentic heavy timber construction methods, transforming large tree trunks without modern techniques of fabrication. The temple was personally blessed by Shamar Rinpoche, the 14th Shamarpa. Photo by Poon Design.

Middle: W-V Mixed-Use: One of the first mixed-use complexes in Manhattan Beach, California, and the first sustainable living roof in the South Bay. The folding roof acts as metaphor for the beach culture of recreation, ocean waves and breezes, and also distributes natural light throughout the residences. The residences sit atop commercial spaces, over underground parking. Photo by Gregg Segal. Bottom: Vosges: The West Coast flagship boutique for the Chicago-based Vosges Haut-Chocolat. The “Chocolate Theater” is entered through plaster arches made by hand in Marrakesh, Morocco, using the authentic artisanal process of carving and casting. The groin vault is painted in a Parisian-inspired floral pattern. Poon Design also designed Vosges’ 43,000 square foot chocolate factory and national headquarters on the banks of the Chicago River, receiving the 2013 Award of Excellence for the Industrial Redevelopment of the Year, from the National Association of Industrial and Office. Photo by Poon Design.



Thinking outside the box leads to redefining the traditional dining room, resulting in blurred lines between social areas, and between indoors and outdoors.

Chaya Dining Room: In a sea of warm walnut and Hinoki cypress planks, and Spanish brass panels and metal mesh, Poon Design introduces a brightly colored art installation/ chandelier created in collaboration with London-based artist Stuart Haygarth. The art piece comprises over 1,500 plastic toys hung on 450 clear strings. A single 60-watt bulb hangs inside.


Chaya Downtown Los Angeles, California

Awarded the 2009 International Design Award for Best Restaurant from The American Institute of Architects. Photography by Gregg Segal

A “kit-o-parts” model exemplifies Poon Design’s emphasis on process. With such a model, each component of the project can be repositioned to create numerous design compositions, engaging the client’s hands in the process.

Six large circular skylights present views upward to the sky, framed by the two adjacent 50-story high rises.

Top Chaya Bar: The bar design is a composition of contemporary and traditional themes: Calcutta marble, brass panels, and a 20-foot wide, Venetian-themed frame of backlit mirror panels with laser-cut patterns. Custom furniture by Poon Design. Bottom Chaya Sushi: At the right, a traditional sushi bar is accented with red lacquer panels, solid cypress, Calcutta marble, and hand-troweled cement plaster. In the background, a 30-foot wide mural by Tokyo artist Ajioka is hand painted on Hinoki Cypress planks. Furniture by Poon Design is walnut, oak, faux lizard skin and red faux leather. Patinated black lamps with hammered brass finish are by Tom Dixon.

Preliminary rendering depicting the brass canopy above, with hedges ‘carved’ to create booths for diners. Rendering by Olek Zemplinski

Chaya Patio: Poon Design’s exterior addition comprises patio seating, a canopy above, and two all-glass rooms. The 90-foot long canopy, clad in brass panels from Spain, reflects the energy within the restaurant, serving as a glowing urban billboard. A radiant heating system was designed and installed beneath the granite pavers, to avoid the use of unsightly and energy inefficient heat lamps.

The architectural concepts are carried through to the branding and graphic design for seasonal events, menus, packaging and website. The architectural juxtaposition of modern and traditional also drive the design of the branding. Graphics by Danny Yee and Sue Han.


Shopping Mall by Anthony Poon 35” x 52”, mixed-media collage of paper sketches, calendar appointments, journal pages, pencil, ink, acrylic, glass, metal, wood, gesso, varnish and resins.

The owners approached Poon Design with various ideas for the concept of their restaurant. Abstract ideas about the making of soy sauce and European art are two examples of the ideas that have inspired the conceptual design for the restaurant. The design for the restaurant has stepped away from the traditional four-wall enclosure of a dining room to a dining room which is more open and fluid. Poon and his firm approached the design of the restaurant like a jigsaw puzzle; each necessary part of the restaurant is a different piece. Alongside the client, Poon Design worked to assemble a puzzle that fit together in a way that allowed the client to get what they wanted out of the design while still creating a functional restaurant space. Since music theory plays a large role at the conceptual stage for Anthony Poon’s designs, it was apt that they should collaborate on the actual music being played in the restaurant. Everything down to the music went through the same collaborative stage and creative process. “We helped them program their music,” says Poon, “in the belief that the experience of the architecture is also what you hear.” Throughout the day, the music changes in order to create a different and more appropriate atmosphere for the customers at each meal. Poon and his design ideas are intertwined with music, bringing both medias together to transform a space into a conceptually designed social experience. Anthony Poon’s creativity is not confined to his love of music. He is an accomplished artist too, with shows in Berkeley California, Cambridge Massachusetts and Los Angeles California. “I became interested in visual and experiential statements of depth, of tension between different modes of communication. Over time, this interest inspired me to generate compositions of mixed media, where various modes of communication collide. Many of my works start with a large-scale photograph that has a body of small works collaged over it: writings, musical compositions, sketches, clippings, journal excerpts, datebook pages, or my children’s drawings – all from various time periods of my life. Over this layered composition is a simple illustration of markers. Over this illustration are applications of hued polyurethanes, epoxy resins, and stains. And over this creation is another ‘canvas’. This time, it is a sanded piece of acrylic, which presents simple strokes of acrylic paint. The final result is about a flickering movement. It is about the vibration as the visitor’s eyes flutter between the different forms of communication. The final result resonates in one’s mind as the

engagement with the art flutters visually and experientially between the contrasting narratives.” A book of his creative musings, covering the span of his architectural career, is currently being edited and it is due to be published later this year. Entitled Sticks and Stones, Steel and Glass: One Architect’s Journey, the 350-page tome is part critique, part behind-the-scenes, and part autobiographical – examining the role of architecture in daily life and for social good. Poon Design’s portfolio is filled with a diverse number of designs, each looking unique from one another. While each design is different, Poon emphasizes a common thread that ties the designs together – the collaborative process and the time spent at the conceptual stage of design. Each project is approached through their creative process, with each journey vastly different from the next. Also, each finished product is different, a creation that is reflective of each client and their needs. Like a piece of music, they all follow a structure and form. “People want cooler architecture,” says Poon, “they want quality architecture.” Poon’s designs follow a way of architecture that looks at what people need in their space. They combine form and function with a design that is inspired by a variety of medias, creating a space that is both functional and distinctive. Validating his process, among their many awards, Poon Design was awarded the international best restaurant design from The American Institute of Architects in 2009 and 2011. In 2014, they received the best home design in the country, awarded by the National Association of Home Builders. Meanwhile, his love of playing music has not diminished. He says, “I still play the piano nearly every day, whether it is a small bit of Brahms and Bach, a session of improvisation, or Rodgers and Hammerstein for my young daughters to sing and dance. My choice of one passion didn’t negate the other. Indeed, the passion not chosen continues to inform the other.”


Photo by Chris Miller.


One of four 2,500 square foot prototype homes for a production housing community of 130 homes. Over 100 homes have been built and sold in only two years; all constructed at unprecedented affordable costs, literally a fraction of today’s custom homes. The central thickened wall contains the mechanical and plumbing systems, smart technology, security, AV, storage and green features. Homes have 2kW to 4kW rooftop solar panels.

Escena Residence

Alta Verde Escena Community

Palm Springs, California

Anthony Poon’s concept sketch expressing the massive central wall, the glass volume of public spaces like living room, dining room, kitchen and entry, and on the other side of the central wall, a plaster volume of private spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms and study.

In Poon Design’s conference room, large pin up surfaces become wall scale versions of Anthony Poon and John Kim’s explorations, showing research into precedents, materials, details, and design themes.

Poon Design principal, John Kim’s scale model created to study program, massing and overall composition.

Designed in partnership with designer and residential developer Andrew Alder, CEO, Alta Verde Group

An intimate look into one of Anthony Poon’s sketchbooks, indicating numerous pages exploring ideas, forms and variations.




Actress Lisa Edelstein, known for her film roles and TV shows House and Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, at the Japanese mid-century home in Silver Lake where she lives with her husband, the renowned artist Robert Russell.

If you are at all familiar with the decisive characters that Lisa Edelstein plays on-screen, it should come as no surprise that she had a specific criteria for the house she wanted to live in. Moving from her native New York, Lisa wanted a house which was “Japanese, modernist, mid-century and on one level, with a beautiful view that was private.” She said, “it had to be isolated, with a big garden, and near a dog park.” It took almost a year from the time she briefed her presumably bemused realtor, but she found her dream home on a hilltop overlooking the Silver Lake reservoir. Everything was as she envisioned, right down to the dog park at the bottom of the hill. Why the specific list of requirements? “I love Craftsman houses. That was my first house. There’s something about their lines which are Japanese, the overhang, there are certain hints of that in the architecture. Very simple and dark and I love mid century furniture. I love wide open spaces, lots of windows. LA can be a very isolating city so having a view was important. I wanted it to feel like a private place, but not so isolated that I would be afraid.” She was single at the time. The house was originally built by Edward ‘Tink’ Adams, a founder of the Los Angeles Art School Center. Described as LA Historic-Cultural Monument #922, Adams and his wife, Virginia, bought the Silver Lake property in 1942. The house was a hipped roof bungalow built around 1906, with a location on a ridge that gave a full view of what is now the Silver Lake reservoir. Adams added the garage in 1948 and hired architect John Rex to design a concrete and stone deck at the rear of the twobedroom house in 1955. Later that year, modernist architect Douglas Honnold completed a chimney and outdoor barbecue area. Both Rex and Honnold were instructors at the Art Center School of Design. In 1966, Adams had most of the house rebuilt from a plan by A. Albert Cooling, who was also an instructor at the Art Center School. However, he died before the final phase for the house was designed, and Adams asked James DeLong to continue the design of the master bedroom section in 1977. DeLong’s years at Taliesin West in the late 1940s gave him a foundation to seamlessly design this final wing of the house while still giving it his own unique style. The bedroom addition was completed in 1983, two years after Adams’ death. The organic architecture of the house imitates a version of the International Style, where the structure is entwined to its surroundings and becomes almost one with the land. This thought process, initially developed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is employed throughout the Adams House. Edward Adams desired that his own house serve as a palette for each architect to express their art. The house sits on two lots overlooking the lake. From the moment you enter through the bright orange front door of the house Lisa now shares with her husband Robert Russell, you are transported from the good

natured bustle of bohemian Silver Lake to a tranquil, meditative space, with softly gurgling water features and extensive gardens. The first thing you see is the clear blue of the lake through the pine trees, and beyond on the right, a house that is almost certainly Japanese influenced with its front-facing gable and a wrap around deck which juts out like the bow of a ship heading towards the water below. The flared roof line features an exposed roof beam with metal beam cap in a traditional Japanese-style design. Tall pines envelop the house giving it the appearance of a very large tree house perched atop the hillside. The whispering water features, statues which Adams brought back from his Japanese travels, winding paths, which were in disrepair when Lisa moved in but which now criss-cross the base of the hill leading down to Robert’s art studio, all combine to create the tranquil illusion. The exterior of the house is clad in wood and glass and consists of a board and batten style with vertical posts extending from base to roof between the assortment of large fixed pane, sliding and casement windows. The house is surrounded by concrete and brick decks, with a section of partially cantilevered deck supported by angular beams and surmounted by a post and beam railing topped by a round beam. At the rear is a large brick chimney with an outdoor fireplace and barbecue which overlooks the swimming pool. The previous owners were Glenn Lawson and Grant Fenning, owners of the Los Angeles showroom, Lawson Fenning. They were both Art Center students and the general agreement was that it only to be sold to Art Center students, as a tribute to Edward Adams. Lisa is the only non Arts Center student owner. “But I married an artist, she says, “so it should count.” “Everyone was really attached to the house but nobody had the money to do the necessary repair work that it needed,” recalls Lisa. When she moved in, she shored up the retaining wall at the bottom of the garden. The juniper was pruned and the 100 year old bonsai trees that had made the long trip with Adams from Japan in the 1940s, were lovingly restored by specialist Robert Pressler. Together with landscape designer, Wade Graham, Lisa and Robert cleared the overgrown garden paths, removed two diseased pine trees, designed two ponds and added David Cressey architectural pots. Lisa says, “Wade is not only incredibly talented, he is also inclusive and collaborative. Robert and I both love to design and create, and never want to feel left out of that process by hiring someone to do it for us. Wade is incredible to work with in that regard. He has a great talent for manifesting ideas, whether they’re his alone, or ours together.” Inside the house, she also made small renovations, re-paneling the wood ceiling in the den and she designed new cabinets in the master bathroom. All of which were crafted to be sympathetic with the curly maple which dominates the interior of the house. In the living room, the original tiles around the fireplace were black and ominous looking, so she painted them over in white. g


Lisa and Robert relaxing in their den with dogs Leylo and Shazam! The couch/bed is designed by Lisa. The straw cubes are from Lawson Fenning. The lady on the bike drawing and the oil painting of his son,Benjamin is by Robert. The young girl with red stripes drawing and the skinny girls in a line drawing are both by Lisa.

The orange chair is a vintage Papa Bear chair by Hans Wegner, behind which, hangs an artwork by Charles Gaines. The table is a Wegner too, but contemporary from DWR. The lamps over the piano to the right of the front door (not pictured) are by Paavo Tynell.

The original Japanese silk screens which line the far wall, mask storage cupboards. The light fixture hanging over the dining table and vintage Brazilian rosewood dining chairs is by local artisan Brooks Zeitlin.The couches are from Ten10.

Lisa and Robert on the bed custom made for them by local artisan Sam Moyer. Their ketubah, or marriage vows, are represented in the painting behind them by artists Andrea Bowers and Charles Gaines. The lamps are from Lawson Fenning. The drawings on the ledge are by Lisa (vagina) and Robert (penis). Robert’s drawing of the engagemant ring is on the far left.

Portraits of Lisa and Robert by Henry Taylor, a Nara, and Robert’s dove painting which he gave to Lisa after their first date, hang in the hallway alongside a piece by Kenny Scharf.

One of Robert Russell’s paintings seen through the shoji screens of Lisa’s home office.


Opposite top: Their master bedroom with shoji screens opening out to the serene Japanese garden. Bottom left: Lisa’s home office, with vintage furniture and awards and mementos of her TV and film work. Bottom right: Robert in his studio with paintings from his latest Amateurs project. A diorama made by Robert’s grandfather, Benjamin Kurgans, 40 years ago, is uncannily similar to their existing home.

If the exterior ticks all the boxes that are Japanese related, the interior is decidedly mid century modern. The Japanese influences are present with the shoji screens in the master bedroom and in Lisa’s office. The original Japanese silk paneled wall cupboards border one wall of the living room with its cathedral ceiling, but the majority of the house is wood paneled in curly maple, pausing only for a huddle of paintings along the hallway that runs across the length of the house. Though the wood paneled walls in the living room deter covering and remain largely blank, the hallway in comparison is a splattering of color, with paintings from artist friends like Charles Gaines, Edgar Arcenaux, Carter Mull and Henry Taylor. They sit alongside paintings and drawings that Robert and Lisa have made for each other. Some of the paintings are a trade, which Robert says is a benefit of having artist friends, since it allows each one to afford the other’s work. There is also a painting which was a gift from Lisa’s friend, the artist Kenny Scharf, which was given to her before she met Robert. It would also have been difficult to acquire the work on their living room wall, a rare artwork by Charles Gaines, if they were not already friends. Like the house requirements, when Lisa met Robert Russell she also had a list of criteria for the man with whom she wanted to share her life. He had to be “a man who lived in Silver Lake, who was an artist – a Jewish, funny, sexy guy who was successful and who already had kids. And who would be willing to live in my house,” she laughs. Lisa and Robert formed an immediate bond when they met. Even though they frequented the same places in Silver Lake, it took a serendipitous meeting at the Hammer Museum for them to get together. A fresh start and a renewed surge of creativity followed, in both their lives. Robert, who had lived across the lake before he met Lisa, found equal comfort in their new home. Even though he met and married Lisa after she bought the house, he has an unerring sense of belonging. As you enter through the front door you’ll notice a small diorama on the right, which Robert inherited from his grandmother. It depicts an almost identical Japanese interior, with a picture of a water view and the orange coloring which is a trademark of the original Adams house. It’s an uncanny premonition that the diorama was made by his grandfather 40 years before Robert even stepped foot into this house. “I wasn’t looking for a new house”, says Robert. “I was just divorced and finding my way. I had lived in Silver Lake for 20 years and here was this amazing house that I had never seen before. In a way, it was a metaphor for everything that was happening in my life. My world had become so small and here was this expansive view, a new environment, literally on the other side of the hill from where I lived.” Robert had renovated two houses before and they found that they have similar sensibilities. Together, they designed the art studio where Robert now works on his paintings, and a guest house by the pool. Lisa drawing

the concepts, Robert rendering it in Photoshop. Robert Russell is a renowned and cerebral artist, with some critics comparing his brushwork and judicious sense of light to artists like Lucien Freud. His art projects are diverse and slightly whimsical. A recent series of paintings was a collection of people also named ‘Robert Russell’, all of whose pictures he found on Google. Another series is a collection of paintings of books about famous artists. His current project entitled Amateurs, is about the proliferation of internet pornography and erotica. // The house is a refuge from the bustling activity of Silver Lake, and Los Angeles in general. The tall pine trees, together with the shards of blue water in the reservoir glimpsed through the greenery, form a scene reminiscent of a mountain resort. On the far horizon, the freestanding letters of the Hollywood sign look like a signpost to a distant land. The quietness suits both Lisa and Robert. For Lisa it’s a welcome interlude from New York when she grew up, and where she also spends time filming the successful Bravo TV series, Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce. For Robert, the solitude is equally welcome for him to pursue his painting, although he does love music. The indie band, Lord Huron loops through the sound system as we spend the day there, with Robert singing along. His solid calmness complementing her zanier personality. If there is one takeaway she learned from her show, Lisa says, that it is not to take relationships for granted. There is an artwork above their bed, which is a rare collaboration between the artists, Charles Gaines and Andrea Bowers. It’s a representation of a ketubah – Lisa and Robert’s marriage vows. To the right of the Sam Moyer designed bed, on a ledge is a small graphite drawing which Robert made of their engagement ring. Throughout the house there are drawings and paintings that Robert and Lisa have made for each other – faces, expressions of love. A painting of a dove he presented to Lisa two days after they met hangs momentously in the hallway. Robert relates an endearing story that when Lisa craved certain clothes that were insanely expensive, he illustrated them for her instead. Those drawings now still hang by her closet. When he gave her the drawing of the engagement ring, she was at first unsure whether that also meant she wasn’t getting the real thing, but Robert had the ring hidden underneath the card. It’s a life of surprises with a sense of harmony which, along with the camaraderie shown by their artist friends, makes for a fine sense of community. It’s something that would make Edward Adams proud, and equally happy.

The second season of Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce is currently showing on Bravo. A portfolio of Robert Russell’s work can be see at




Superstar realtor, and one of the stars of Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing LA, Matt Altman discusses his ever expanding art collection of emerging artists, which fills every wall space in his Los Angeles home.


att Altman’s path to becoming one of the most successful realtors in Los Angeles doesn’t at first glance appear to be obvious. Originally from Boston, Matt grew up in a creative, theatrical household. When they were young, his parents took him and his brother Josh, once a month to see their grandmother in New York, and to see a show. His father was a performer, his mother in the fashion business, which introduced him to the artistic world. He attended the University of Colorado studying broadcast news with an intention of becoming a news anchor, but his passion was always art. He was always around artistic people. Matt’s home reflects his diverse interest in art, from the edgy street artists like Dcypher and Porkchop to the figurative portraits of Joel Daniel Phillips. It’s a sweeping two storey, contemporary affair with every space on the white walls used to display his ever-increasing art collection. His art collection reveals a softer side of the quietly spoken realtor, who is one half of the Altman Brothers Real Estate agency. Together with his brother Josh, they appear on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, selling the California lifestyle to millionaires, and possibly billionaires. Matt’s house in comparison, is a simpler, contemporary building on a quiet street in the Miracle Mile, standing out from the proliferation of Spanish houses which surround it. He’s a firm believer in the concept of indoor/outdoor living and all the rear walls open up entirely to the outside backyard and pool. It’s a neighborhood where you still find people walking their dogs and greeting each other as they pass. Matt came to California and started his career as an agent when he was 24 years old, working at the talent agency, CAA, from 2000-2006. On the weekends, his passions were art and home design. However, he couldn’t afford the art he wanted and that led him to emulate other artists. If he saw a piece he loved, he would try to make a likeness of it himself. And that became his trademark among his friends – if you found a piece you couldn’t afford, Matt could probably make it for you. Now that his business is tremendously successful he can finally invest in art, and young artists in particular. He recently visited Art Basel in Miami, to see all the upcoming artists and to buy their art when they have yet to reach their peak. He discovered the artist Joel Daniel Phillips there a few years ago, and now he has two of his graphite drawings. The commission of Matt on his bike was the first piece he bought at Art Basel a couple of years ago. Validating his purchase, Matt said, “His value has gone up exponentially since then. He is soon to be featured in the Smithsonian. It’s my background of being a talent agent – discovering things before they are big.” Another interesting side to his collection are the vintage pieces, mostly discovered at places like the Rose Bowl and Long Beach flea markets. A mannequin from the 1800s now sits large as life in his dining room. He loves finding raw materials and seeing how they could be repurposed into something. For instance, he saw a typewriter machine

gun at one of the art shows. He couldn’t afford it so he went to a swap meet, bought a vintage typewriter, and recreated the AK47 sculpture in his garage. “I watch Discovery Channel and all the swap meet shows and shows like American Pickers. I would love to have a van and drive around Middle America looking through people’s garages.” he says. // Are people what they collect? As a real estate agent I can tell everything about a person when I walk through their home. I see ADD-types, very meticulous. They live in modern box glass homes, such as myself. In these places you can see if something is out of place or moved around or dirty. It is not a family home. The art I collect expresses me. Every piece in my house has a cool story or is emotional to me, which is the way I’ve been taught to buy art. Anytime I walk into someone’s house I feel like they have a story. And art is a huge factor for me when pricing and listing homes. I’ll walk through the high end homes that we represent at The Altman Brothers, and I get excited seeing the homes but more excited seeing the art and sculptures. In a modern house, a sculpture is a focal point of the house, with a space built just for that purpose. It’s not so much the piece itself but how it works in the surrounding space. Most of the houses now, new developments, are built not as homes but as art pieces. A home is a work of art, every piece of lighting isn’t there just to make a room bright – every piece is a piece of art, whether it’s from Restoration Hardware or Lamps Plus. What is most important when selling a house? You get one shot to show somebody a house. The single most important thing in real estate is professional photography. I don’t let them go in and do their normal staging photography. I work with them the entire time and look at every angle – creating a more beautiful picture. I’m a huge proponent for staging. Everyone likes their own stuff but not everyone has a great color palette, and staging is a more neutral palette that appeals to a mass audience. What about his own home, with its stark white walls? I consider my home a museum, a representation of me. When I start a family I will look into a Spanish home, more family and kid friendly. Right now my home is very industrial – steel, iron and glass. I love designing spaces so it will be a good reason to design a new space and buy more art. One thing I don’t ever do is sell my art. I give it to my friends. It’s a part of me and something that I love. I’ve had a lot of clients ask if I can design their new home after they buy it. I enjoy taking them to a swap meet or an art gallery, figuring out what can work in a given space.


“I have a problem. Some people drink too much or do drugs. I buy art. I have no place in my house. I have no place left in my friend’s houses. I can’t walk by a piece that moves me in some way and not buy it. I figure I’ll find some place for it.”

Where are his go-to places? Long Beach Flea Market, Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Obsolete in Culver City, HD Buttercup, Big Daddy’s Antiques (a hidden gem in LA) and Restoration Hardware, whether it’s copying or making their own. His view is that even though they are reproductions, Restoration Hardware make otherwise unique things accessible to more people. “If I had all the money in the world I would have a store and travel the world. I’d buy two of everything – one for me and one to be in the store, to sell. That would be the ultimate dream job. I would love to own a gallery too but I know it’s a business, and with technology now, you can buy pieces online. I buy art through Instagram. You can be in direct contact with the artists. When I was in Australia I met an artist and brought his pieces to America and we sold them and did very well, but it’s a full time business. One thing I could never do is sit in a silent room with pieces on the wall. Technology will make art more accessible. There are so many great new ways to discover art – you don’t need a local gallery. I like to use empty houses as art galleries. Art is a vital selling point in making a house look the best it can. I fill most of my listings with art. I will get galleries to come in. It’s great for galleries who have endless supply and not enough wall space. And if it sells that’s great – the paintings are not sitting in a back room. People can also buy at open houses, the artworks have a tag at the side of them with the artist’s details, and they can buy them on the spot.” What does he look for when buying art? “Don’t look at it to make you money. Look at it because you love it, and it will make you money. If I see a blank wall it’s an opportunity to get something wonderful and put it up there.” His garage is full of tools and paint. “Some people get a release from working out. I relieve stress by making art.” Witness the huge angel wings made from a bust he found at a swap meet together with some angel wings he found at Big Daddy’s. The plane wing sculpture in his living room too, is something he created himself with the help of Motoart, the company that makes furniture from airplane parts. So does he see himself as an artist? If I see something and I can’t make it, I consider it art. If I can make it, I consider it a project. It’s something I can do at the weekend. I admire Damien Hirst. He’s an incredible businessman. As far as a spin painting goes though, I did that when I was a kid and now it costs a million dollars. Art and Salesmanship are totally separate. It’s the downside of the art world.

Matt created this piece from an 1800s bust he found at a swap meet, together with wings he found at Big Daddy’s Antiques

// What is his relationship with his brother Josh? Josh is the rainman – he deals with the numbers. Matt is the creative.


The open floor plan allows Matt to maximize the space for showcasing his artworks in a gallerylike setting. The glass wall to the right of the kitchen opens up entirely to reflect the indoor/outdoor living. ‘Matt Altman on Motorcycle’ and ‘Diver’ drawings – Joel Daniel Phillips (graphite) ‘Houses’ by street artist, Dcypher (oil painting)

“We are brothers, best friends and business partners,” he says. All they did was fight when they were younger but after being separated by going to different colleges, they realized they had an inseparable bond. They both came out to Los Angeles, Matt 3 years earlier than Josh, and they were together till the day he got engaged. They look out for, and depend on each other. He jokes that they get paid for what they would be doing anyway. “We divide our clients: if someone needs a number person, Josh handles it. I handle the creative side of things. We are each other’s yin and yang when it comes to dealing with people. We are ultra competitive – not with each other, but against the world, because we split everything 50:50. We are team oriented. We both played college football.” What’s in the future? “I’m looking forward to having a family. I hope we have created a self sufficient machine for the real estate business. I would like to enjoy family time and travel.” The Altman Brothers are expanding the developer side of their business and starting to build homes themselves. He sees himself always living in LA, it’s his favorite place for opportunities, and it is culturally diverse – the greatest city for art. Unrelated as it may initially seem, it takes a former talent agent who sees the potential in artists to see the potential in houses – their worth, as well as their ability to suit the potential buyer.

Figure on wall by street artist Porkchop (mixed media) ‘Spray cans’ by street artist, Mr. Brainwash ‘Airplane Wing’ – created by Matt at Motoart ( He sold a TV show Wingnuts about them to the Discovery network 1800s mannequin discovered at the Rose Bowl flea market




Hayley Miner (left) and Rebecca Wilson next to a wall painting by Isabelle Alford-Lago in their Santa Monica offices.

Chief curator, Rebecca Wilson and art advisor, Hayley Miner, run the extensive online art gallery Saatchi Art, representing thousands of artists worldwide from their base in Santa Monica.


n unassuming building in Santa Monica, California, is home to 500,000 works of original art and limited edition prints from 100 countries. Saatchi Art is not a gigantic warehouse, as you might imagine, but an upstairs room in the same building as their parent company, Demand Media, and adjacent to the online print gallery, Society 6. A team of 30 curators catalog the thousands of artworks submitted every day to from 50,000 artists around the world, under the guidance of the Chief Curator, Rebecca Wilson. Rebecca was one of the directors of the original Saatchi Gallery in London. Saatchi Art is her vision of an online marketplace, which gives businesses and individuals access to an incredible number of artworks in every media imaginable, furthering her goal to help everyone discover the work of unknown artists. As a marketplace for emerging artists, the experience is an opportunity for them to sell their work removed from a gallery setting. The artists set the price of their work, sometimes with advice from Rebecca. All the artworks are original and there are some limited edition prints. Purchases can be made online and Saatchi Art organizes shipping directly from the artist. Additionally, if you admire a certain artist’s style you can approach them through Saatchi Art to commission a custom piece. If it seems an unorthodox way to buy paintings sight unseen, Saatchi Art has resolved that in the form of their award-winning App. It allows the potential buyer to scale the painting and position it in the context of their intended placement. They can zoom in to see the brush strokes, and other useful tools enable the user to filter the art, photography and sculpture by style, subject, color, media or orientation. An unequivocal return policy ensures that nobody is disappointed with their purchase. As befits a technological marketplace, the helpful website is divided into sections which are categorized by price, for instance Art under $500, or type, like Metallic Art. ‘Inside The Studio’ takes you on studio tours of the artists. ‘Ask a Curator’ is a section with tips on framing, cleaning and costs. As well as a weekly, curated selection by Rebecca Wilson, there are guest curators – recent collections were curated by Jamie Lee Curtis and Dylan McDermott. It’s a comprehensive exploration for art aficionados. There are situations where you can see the paintings in person too. The Saatchi Art team are fierce advocates for their artists, holding shows for artists who might never have been accepted by a conventional gallery. Rebecca Wilson routinely visits all major art colleges and signs up artists.

She travels to London and New York too, championing each artist. She can tell you which artists are likely to appreciate in value over the next few years. Surface Tension last October in New York was an exhibition of the best of America’s recent art school graduates, curated by Rebecca. It highlighted the work of exceptional emerging artists from all over the world who are part of Saatchi Art, including Sarah Faux, Alex Jackson, Ioana Manolache, Andrew McNay, Erin Morrison, Tom Pazderka, Katie Darby Slater, and Kevin Stuart. This is part of Saatchi Art’s ongoing ‘Invest in Art’, a quarterly series, which features outstanding emerging artists whose works suggest great promise and investment potential. There are also ongoing partnerships – like the one with home decor company West Elm, Los Angeles, which recently hosted an evening of artwork curated by Hayley Miner. An extraordinary feature of Saatchi Art is the free, art advisory service overseen by Hayley Miner. With more than 15 years of experience in art advisory and interior design, Hayley Miner most recently ran an art consulting firm, advising private and corporate clients on building art collections. Previously, she worked for celebrated White House decorator Michael S. Smith. She now advises hospitality, healthcare, and corporate clients on their art purchases, working to their budget, spaces and sometimes, themes. Interior designers ask her advice on art and placement in their client’s homes. The service is not the privelege of businesses and professionals, however. Send a picture of a room in your house or furniture style and Hayley can recommend artworks by size, color, texture and which art is suitable for a particular room – or a theme for an entire house. Who are the hottest artists right now, in terms of investment? The runaway star of the New York Surface Tension show was Alex Jackson. Rebecca’s other recommendations are the LA artist Erin Morrison, UK artist Andrew Salgado (who has an upcoming solo show in New York for Frieze), Belgian artist Koen Lybaert, the New York based artist Thomas Hammer and the photographer, Dean West. In just a few years, Saatchi Art has transformed the art buying process, removing international boundaries and allowing young artists everywhere to make a living through their art. The opportunity for artists is perfectly summed up in a testimonial by Oscar Manuel Vargas, an artist based in Florida. He says, “Saatchi Art is my gallery. In the last 2 years you have sold 18 of my works to Kuwait, China, Europe and the USA. It is more than I dreamed. We are in the middle of an art revolution!” Viva Saatchi Art! g




Palm Springs #2 2015 (Limited Edition # 1 of 3) Dean West United States Size: 60 H x 96 W x 0.1 in $14,500

Santalum Fernandezianum (Painting) Thomas Hammer United States Size: 36 H x 36 W x 0 in $1400


HOW TO DECORATE WITH ART Design ABCDEs by Art Advisor, Hayley Miner


ART is the most important element to any space. Art enhances and transforms, so start with 2 or 3 works you’ve collected and then build the room around it. If there is a color theme in the artworks then it can serve as a palette guide to use similar color tones or as a complementary color in other accents in your room. If not, select one of the dominant colors and use that as the jumping off point for the color of your rug or an armchair. When in doubt, use a neutral color (white, taupe, oatmeal) for the large pieces of furniture such as the sofa or the paint color for the walls, then build on that. ‘Oh!’ Editioned Print 10/30 Andrew Salgado United Kingdom Size: 35.4 H x 35.4 W x 0 in $849


BE BOLD. There are no rules to decorating when you’re confident and allow your inner design gusto to shine through. If fuchsia is a predominant color in the artworks you’ve bought, then install some luxurious hot pink curtains. Swathes of blues in the artworks? Why not have the complementary hue – orange, as your side chair and rug color? Blues and greens are very rich and harmonious colors for any interior space as well.


COMBINE colors/styles. Let’s say you have a collection of the Pop master Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe series which is gloriously vibrant and colorful and very contemporary. This palette would suit your very glam Hollywood Regency styled interior and be perfectly at home with a more traditional vibe with a leather Chesterfield sofa and a velvet wingback chair. Equally, that suite of “Marilyns” would looking stunning in a stark, white modern home.


DECISIVE - I think that the biggest enemy to decorating is being uncertain about a design choice. You’re drawn to a bright red painting but you also would love to have your loopy Aunt Daisy’s loud orange armchair she’s gifted you for your home. Do both! If you love the pieces that have meaning for you, it will work. As long as you don’t inject more than 2 or 3 dominant saturated colors that clash, your joy from the pieces will radiate and make the place feel beautiful and cohesive.


EXPAND the visual field. With a large wall, install as many artworks as possible in various styles, like the French style salon wall. This increases the perception of space and can make a smaller scaled room seem grand and dynamic. Art can solve spatial issues too! Abstract N° 1296 Painting Koen Lybaert Belgium Size: 24 H x 20.1 W x 0.8 in $650



Flights of Fancy

ETHAN MURROW Collected by art institutions and private collectors alike, Ethan Murrow’s large scale narrative drawings explore the epic adventures of romantic dreamers.


“Seastead” - install view Institute of Contemporary Art - Boston temporary wall drawing, sharpie on wall 2015-16.

How did you become interested in art? I come from a family of writers, journalists, dancers and teachers. I was very lucky to be supported in my choice to study art. One thing that attracted me right away about making art was the possibility of it being epic, a painting could take months, a project could go on for days. That is still something that drives me, and it makes me feel privileged to be doing what what I’m doing. It feels indulgent to be able to immerse myself in a project and hone an idea or a technique. How would you describe yourself? There is no doubt I’m a glutton for punishment. I enjoy repetitive, obsessive techniques. It’s also taken me a while to admit that amongst all the cynicism, absurdity and critique in my work there is also a healthy dose of romanticism. Many of my recent drawings and imagery reflect on American History and the ridiculous ways in which we have tried to convince ourselves of our own power, glory and importance. I find this country to be deeply annoying in it’s egomaniac approach to all things but I also am totally in love with the brash storytelling, webs of ribald fiction and ability to adjust. My drawings look back on the world with nostalgia but I’m also deeply suspicious of that very attitude. This is reflective of my personality. If I read your resume correctly, you were initially interested in sculpture and landscapes. How did you graduate to drawings? I was initially trained as a printmaker and plein air painter. During graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill, I had to throw away the classicism and Bauhaus style training and re-educate a bit. I was brutally unaware of contemporary art and the ways in which artists had been making and breaking rules over the centuries, especially as that pertained to non-western history. I turned to sculpture, installation and video as ways to challenge myself with regards to materials, meaning and preciousness. After graduate school I was traveling a lot for artist residencies and various projects and turned to drawing because of it’s portability, simplicity and directness. These are still some of the reasons I gravitate towards it. Drawing is simultaneously democratic and accessible, and yet capable of being used to explain complex abstract thought. This duality is a beautiful thing. You’ve said your art stems from the collaborative videos shot by

your wife Vita. Is it a chicken/egg situation? Did you envisage their translation to paper as the end result or did you storyboard them first and then shoot the video? We began working together almost as a lark. Bored with our solo work, we built off-the-cuff performances about fictional characters and recorded them. We used these experiments as a way to loosen up, spur each other creatively and find new ideas. Some of the end product were short videos we constructed as a duo, some went into new drawings as I tried to find a way to bring out a kind of anti-hero character we kept returning to. We still collaborate but now in different ways, our most recent project is a (mostly) wordless picture book called “The Whale” published by Big Picture Press in the UK (out now) and in the US by Candlewick. This story follows two kids who are trying to track down a great spotted whale and prove whether it is hoax or truth. Our work, including a short film with Santa Monica based Harvest Films in 2007, has always been tied to absurd narratives about committed people. These collaborations feed my solitary work and sometimes the two cross over, sometimes they are separate endeavors. I’m interested in failure and success and the thin line that divides the two terms. What appeals to you about that aspect? Are there biographical elements in your work? Self doubt, self awareness, romance...? All of the above! Being an artist requires a healthy ego and a gamblers commitment to an idea or a plan. So I see much of my work as a form of self-portraiture and hope I can in part cut myself down a bit by doubting the ability of an individual to be truly glorious. It’s always bigger than a single person but we constantly try to invent stories where one hero or villain is the cause or problem. It’s not to say that individuals are not to blame, we definitely are, but just that I am suspicious of singular stories, especially those that prop one human up above all others. Additionally, you compare their grand follies to Charlie Chaplin as ‘idiocy being inevitable’ but do you also see parallels with Don Quixote and the element of romance? Both are basically good natured characters who are well meaning in their exploits but ultimately doomed to failure. Couldn’t really say it better. That is the third time in two months that Don Quixote has come up and I have been keeping a project about him on the back burner so I guess there are windmills in my future.


Appleseed graphite on paper 68”x68” 2014


Recently, you completed a residency in Ireland, what do you value about teaching? Well any art faculty will likely tell you there is a certain amount of financial security in being in the classroom, since it can be brutal to make a go of it as an artist on your own. That played into my decision to turn to teaching but it’s not the prime factor. My students keep me on my toes, I have to work hard to stay relevant, technically aware, able to lead a group and more than anything challenge students to push farther. It is very hard and I enjoy the challenges within it. What are you working on now? Do you have plans for more video features like Dust? We are definitely interested in building another short narrative or film like “Dust” although our attention as a duo has been more focused on book projects and fine tuning our skills as storytellers. As an individual artist my priorities are multi faceted but a big one is advancing my wall drawing work. These projects are temporal, public and deeply entwined with architecture, institutions and the geographic they are built in. I love the pressure that demands, and the ways in which it opens up my practice. I like to think of myself as a storyteller and yet I know I also have a ton to learn, so my goals revolve around that. I’m also trying to learn French... and doing a bad job of it. I have to ask about your grandfather Edward Murrow. Did he influence your work? Yes. I am deeply proud to be his grandson, I have admiration for his ethics and ability to instigate discussion and awareness. His own work dealt with the tricky nature of facts and that has influenced my own curiosity about fiction, lying and bluster. I think we are better people when we learn how to talk about ourselves and confront our mistakes, even when that is brutal and embarrassing. He was very good at that. He was also a flawed man, like all of us, and I have learned a lot by examining the ways in which people shed an almost ridiculously positive light upon him. Many of my discussions of the anti-hero or flawed protagonist arise from this fact. Your work is in many famous collections now – what do you think appeals to people about your art? What are your thoughts on this legacy that you are creating? That’s the toughest question yet. I feel very honored to have connected with so many wonderful people through my work. I hope they, and anyone who comes into contact with it, are the ultimate arbiters of what I have been doing and making. The best part of art is the fact that the artist doesn’t really have control over this, the public does. That said, I do really hope that viewers can see a thread that runs through all of my projects and a commitment to the ability of a singular image to broaden to a very complex narrative. Top to bottom: Expansion graphite on paper 36”x36” 2014 State of Nevada graphite on paper 48”x48” 2014 General Curtis Méliès graphite on paper 48”x60” 2015


Represented by Mouche Gallery 340 N. Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Man of The World

JOSEF HOFLEHNER At the age of 20, I left for South Africa, which is long way from home, to work as a food and beverage manager. However, quickly I realized this wasn’t something I want to do, and I quit. I purchased my first camera in South Africa and began traveling the country, (as well as neighboring countries), with a couple of friends. This is how it started, and I never had a traditional day job again.

Named one of Austria’s 10 Best Contemporary Artists in 2014, the photographerJosef Hoflehner travels the world capturing a diverse selection of imagery. His works are regularly exhibited in New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, London and other world cities. Here, he picks some of his favorite prints and discusses his work.

I have been photographing themes and subjects back then which I’m still photographing today – although perhaps with much more perfection. I have photographed on all continents, including Antarctica. Big parts of my work were made in the Far East as well as in North America. Both areas seem to have endless inspirational impact on me and I love visiting them over and over again. Over the span of my career I have been using all kinds of cameras and formats, beginning with the traditional 35mm in the mid 1970’s, to medium (6x7cm and 6x6cm) as well as large format (4x5”and 8x10”) in the 80’s and 90’s. Later, I went back to medium format, as this worked very well for me when traveling. Today, I’m using the latest high-end digital backs on a custom-built camera body that I designed myself. There is only one like it in the world. If I see a great photo, I don’t ask myself the kind of camera used. I simply don’t care. It’s all about the photo, even if it’s taken with a phone. My son and I are using iPhones almost everyday to document our travels and projects. Perhaps, one day, we will release a series consisting of iPhoneonly images? None of my work is staged or manipulated in any way. I also do not digitally add or remove certain things from images. This is not how I work. Personally it is not giving me much, when I know that this great photo is staged or orchestrated throughout. I love to search for things – you just never know what is around the next corner. A typical Hoflehner photo? You tell me. There are several themes that I love, and I have never limited myself to a specific style or genre. My son Jakob has been working with me since 2002. Each year he became more and more involved in the entire process. Jakob is a tremendous help and inspiration, and the majority of work made in the past 10 years (which includes some of my best known work) wouldn’t exist, if he wasn’t working with me. Which photographers do you admire? For many years now I have been admiring the work of William Eggleston, Joel Sternfeld, Harry Callahan, Andreas Feininger, Nobuyoshi Araki ... in no particular order.


Payphone, Bonneville, Utah, 2013

Sleeping Seal, Waikiki, Hawaii, 2013




Jet Airliner #69 JetBlue Embraer 190 Extremely Low Arrival from San Juan


Jet Airliner #60 Continental Airlines Boeing 737-700 Arriving from Newark, NJ


Frank Stella with his sculpture Adjoeman, located at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard., Los Angeles

Woods Davy with his sculpture, Cantamar, located on the south side of Gracie Allen Drive, Los Angeles


the art of healing BY MICHELLE LAWETZKI

Photos courtesy of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

In 1966, business leader and art lover Fredrick R. Weisman awoke from a coma and remained disoriented for several days. His wife, Marcia Simon Weisman, brought works from their private art collection to her husband’s hospital room with the hopes that it would help to trigger his memory. While over the course of several days Weisman was not able to remember his wife’s name, but he eventually was able to look at a piece of art and recognize it as being a work by Jackson Pollock. “He could make the connection to the work of art before he could make the connection to identify his wife,” says John T. Lange, the current curator for the art collection at Cedars-Sinai, “there was an obvious relationship between art and his recovery.” After the expansion of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 1976, the Weismans returned to see the corridor walls empty. At this sight the Weismans began to advocate for the addition of art to the expanded medical center. They started out by donating pieces from their own collection, including artists such as: Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and Wassily Kandinsky, to name a few. Along with the donations from the Weismans, the corridor walls began to fill up with donated works from art buyers, gallery owners, former patients and even local artists, such as Kenny Scharf whose wall length mural can be seen in the corridor of the children’s ward. Today, the Cedars-Sinai art collection contains more than 4,000 notable pieces of art. The collection is spread throughout the medical center, creating a soothing atmosphere that extends from the lobby and through to the public grounds, like the Frank Stella sculpture that sits on the corner of Beverly Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard. Cedars-Sinai’s curator, John T. Lange, has worked with the art collection for 12 years now. When he first began working at Cedars-Sinai, the art collection had already been established for many years. Lange says, “One of the first tasks that I had was to redo pretty much the entire medical center.” Lange worked his way through the center, standardizing the frames and rehanging artworks in a way that showcase the more notable pieces, strategically arranging them with purpose and playing on different themes or artistic similarities. “I try to read into how the patient or the visitor is going to react to these different types of works, so that I could specifically cater that work to that audience,” says Lange. He works with nurses and managers throughout the medical center in order to get a clearer idea of what kind of art should be displayed in a particular area. Lange also ensures that the

medical center staff has their own viewing gallery, allowing them a sense of relief from their stressful jobs while also exposing them to new favorite pieces. The majority of the art collection is on display in the corridors of the individual wards, giving patients an incentive to move around to different parts of the center. While some patients walk through the medical center in order to experience different artworks, some patients’ desire to see the artworks can aid as a method of physiotherapy. Patients learning to become mobile again, move from painting to painting as an incentive to continue with their recovery, and a measure of their progress. “We get comments pretty regularly from patients,” says Lange, “about how the artwork itself is helping them.” When the patients or visitors get tired of reading the same magazines or watching the same news, they get up and walk around to enjoy and experience the different pieces. While much of the artwork in CedarsSinai’s collection is highly valued and notable, the artwork is collected and displayed with a particular function – to help calm the anxieties of patients’ loved ones who may be awaiting news, and to help calm restless patients while they await treatment. “We do have museumquality work here, but at the end of the day, this is a place of healing,” says Lange. The main goal of the collection is to use the pieces as a form of healing in a stressful space where people can view the art in the context of their daily lives. The collection was created for a specific purpose and continues to be changed and expanded. “Our collection is actually the community’s collection,” says Lange, “it’s really been a community effort.” The fact that local donors and artists provide the art for CedarsSinai allows for a closer connection between the display and those viewing it. Viewing art can be a very personal and subjective experience; considering input from the community allows the collection to grow and provide something for everyone. The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is continuously growing and being renovated, therefore Lange’s work with the collection is never quite complete. As part of the selection committee, he is continually establishing connections with new and emerging artists – securing new works for the collection while giving them a place to be displayed. Continuing and building on Marcia Weisman’s legacy, Lange works to ensure the art collection remains relevant and connected to the patients, visitors and employees of the center. “Art heals,” says Lange, “I see it firsthand with patients every time I give them tours.”


Top to bottom: Art curator John T. Lange My Pool and Terrace by David Hockney Marcia Weisman 122 by Andy Warhol Marcia Weisman with Andy Warhol





“I’m exploring this inner life through the abstraction of the body and the institutional memory of the body”

There’s a certain fragility in Nancy Baker Cahill’s appearance when you first meet her. It could be her elegantly gamin appearance, or perhaps it’s due to the enormously high ceilings in her studio, which are perfect for her large scale drawings, but which dwarf her in comparison. She started the large-scale black and white series in 2014. Before that time, all her drawings were smaller and very biomorphic. She underwent a traumatic surgery in late 2013 and spent a lot of time in bed. It was an enforced time of contemplation and reconsideration, she admitted. A time when she became very conscious of the transitory nature of the body. Rather than shutting everything down, when she returned to the studio and started on the large-scale drawings, they exploded out of her. “The drawings are really explorations of the body, playing with the unknowable, the grey area of what we know, keeping the dynamism while making it very animate. Playing with the void and the form in a very dynamic way. Referencing almost scientific specificity, representational work and pure abstraction.” she said. The format allows her to explore all of her ideas on a large scale, up close and personal, with her whole body in it, literally. She works with a ladder, drawing directly on the paper hanging on the wall. Does she feel any emotion when she is creating the artworks? “Oh, they are all super intuitive, from the gut. It’s all ineffable and non-specific,” she said. “The series is called ‘Virgil’ referencing Dante’s Inferno. Like Virgil acting as Dante’s guide, I love the idea of trusting my own intuition and that I have my own guide, my Virgil, who will take me into territories which are unchartered – sometimes disturbing, sometimes not.” There’s an ecstasy in her drawings, the joy which comes out on paper. “Without it, it’s just dark and not complex. I want the viewer to feel something – it’s not antiseptic and it’s not purely conceptual. Nancy studied in Boston. Her high school had an exceptional program, she recalled, and she started to gain confidence as an artist at an early age. Williams College taught her about the conceptual side, which she says was an interesting awakening. Naturally, she was encouraged to go to grad school but ‘real life’ intervened and she ended up working in public television, where she met her husband and they moved to Los Angeles. Initially, she experimented with different media, spray paint, more illustrative work. She felt a compulsion to push herself and take risks. A 2011 project called Exit Wounds was with formerly gang-involved youth. They told their stories through their own photographs and original art. “With direction from the participants about where to aim, I shot the works off-site with a .45 caliber handgun. I then painted poppy blossoms around the “exit wounds” to suggest that healing and hope co-existing with violence and despair.” What else has she been working on? The Craft & Folk Art Museum approached her to do a workshop at the homeless shelter Ascencia, in Glendale. She worked out a program which involved collage. The residents created self portraits or life stories through collage, using scraps of magazines and fabric. It was very successful and she hopes they will continue without her – to find relief, solace and inspiration in art. Recently, she is starting to explore the way that color can be integrated into her work. “Trying to incorporate this very disruptive, on the surface un-integrateable element, into this. That’s my struggle right now. I also feel the pull of adaptation, development and using this as a springboard to get into other territories.” Is it daunting? “Yes, and it’s not that I’m afraid of color. I’m trying to hit the same tension that keeps you engaged. Conceptual reason, a mathematical concept. How do you keep the eye engaged but also recognize the new element (of color)?” Also currently keeping her occupied is her stop motion animated video creations. She works on commissions too, recently having completed a small installation at a house in Beverly Hills. Another 9 feet installation can be seen in Redbird restaurant in Downtown, Los Angeles. “I’m always curious as to what someone takes away from observing my work. It’s interesting data for me to observe the reactions objectively. There’s not a huge filter between what I am drawing and what I am feeling or thinking or doing. It is as honest as I can possible be. I hope that the viewer reads that, and can decide whether they like it or hate it, but know that it’s coming from that sphere of honesty.”


ABOVE: “Decompositions” uses torn drawings to create three-dimensional iterations of the “Virgil” series. Decomposition No. 7, 2015 Graphite and paper on mat board 55” x 28” x 10” BELOW: Nancy working on her latest stop motion video. OPPOSITE: Nancy in her studio with the 9ft tall graphite drawing – Virgil No. 41, 2015

THINKING OUT LOUD: Filling A Whitespace Between the Artist and Gallery BY SEAN YASHAR

Design is not being pushed from the past, it’s being pulled from the future. It’s not that I’m against history, on the contrary, but I do have concern for the precedents which control ones free-flowing creativity. Here’s the creative conundrum these days - The business of commercial design is a fixed system which one needs to understand in order to secure results, and yet the process also acts as a deterrent to new ideas which fuel the system in the first place. The idea of success being contingent on homogeneity is a model I don’t condone, and one that I’d like to change. As a consultant to design brands as well as manager of talent in the Decorative Arts, I’ve been sitting with these thoughts for some time… Observing, absorbing, percolating on a way to support the immediate needs of artists, designers and makers, while also proposing the possibility for a new way of thinking about commercial pursuits and material culture. As I stand at the intersection of art and commerce, I’m hoping to inspire new rules, and to instigate change for the Decorative Arts industry in the 21st Century. Last year, a swirl of interactions, meetings, and visits to design fairs across the country and abroad, led to an “a-ha moment” in my own practice and the creation of a new venture called “AUX.” I realized that even the most respected design brands are often too focused on what they know, and at best, what they don’t know. What I find widely missing in the industry today is a third focus: what we don’t know that we don’t yet know. I believe that an unlocking of all possibility is in this third pillar of knowing – the not knowing. In an industry of brands professing answers and design solutions, I began to wonder what would happen if I posed thoughtful questions. Could AUX help to guide the evolution of

the design industry, and propose the next chapter for design production, trade and retail development? Launched in 2015, AUX (pronounced auxiliary) is a two-pronged initiative. It’s the experimental production arm of my consultancy, as well as a by-appointment salon within my L.A. office. It is a producer of experimental design, art, and craft; it’s a new way of thinking about fine and decorative objects and commercial pursuit; it’s an endeavor dedicated to the collision of storytelling and material culture. In short, I decided that it was time to become my own guinea pig. Experimenting with emerging L.A. talents from various creative fields on niche projects that serve to push the dialogue for integral art and design, AUX seeks to propose questions, reset boundaries, and dream of what could be. Producing works on a limited scale, AUX embraces a new platform that isn’t tied to commercial viability. AUX projects result in functional and non-functional objects, performance pieces, and ephemera. We’re preemptively creating solutions to problems that don’t yet exist. AUX’s premiere project launched with Watts-based design duo Dougall Paulson. We created a 3D-printed and porcelain cast rendering of an imaginary public art commission in West Hollywood. The question proposed: Can something as ubiquitous as a decorative vase, also double as proposal for a public art installation? “Devices,” the second AUX installment, created by artist Sean Brian McDonald, debuted earlier this year. “Devices” is a limited-edition series of handheld, pocket-sized objects that function as a commentary on our dependency on and obsession with social media. It evolved during McDonald’s tenure as a gallery attendant at LACMA, where he observed the frequency with which people went

Photos: Jonn Coolidge


Photo: Stephen Busken

to their phones out of pure habit, clutching their phones while trying to engage with the works on display. “Devices”—roughly the size of an iPhone are meant to serve as a temporary placeholder, reassuring but mute. A way of being in the moment and being aware of your surroundings. As a physical space, AUX exists halfway between the artist and the gallery system. The AUX salon dwells within my office and is referred to as an “un-gallery”, in that the space is not a gallery but rather, collaborates directly with artists and supports their representative galleries. As the name “AUX” implies, we provide auxiliary support to designers, artists and makers, by not just advising in the formal consultancy sense, but by physically doing: be it engaging and commissioning new works in advance of a gallery’s immediate needs. One of the main purposes for the AUX space is to show works in progress, as well as, crucially, failed projects. In response to the curated perfection of works presented on gallery floors, I believe that looking at failed attempts, at say a chair or table prototype, can be as thoughtprovoking as looking at finished work. I like the idea of galleries as temples for the heights of artistic execution, while a platform like AUX can offer insight into an artist’s thinking. In this current age of transparency, the AUX model is akin to the same curiosity satiated by visiting an artist’s studio; it’s an invitation to the process. In late 19th Century France, the “Salon des Refuses” exhibited works rejected by the jury of the official Paris Salon. I think this idea is more relevant and necessary than ever if we are to push the dialogue for design forward. Through the exploration and exercise of new ideas and the celebration of bad ideas, I believe, lies the path to the future of design today. We shall see.

Sean Yashar

Opposite page: Stellar Fragments by Dougall Paulson 3.5” x 4.5” x 3.5” 3D-Cast Porcelain Edition of 52 This page: Devices by Sean Brian McDonald 5” x 3” x 1” Cotton, Silk, Chiffon, Paper, Styrofoam and Dark Blue Enamel Edition of 39


Sean Yashar is a creative thinker in the current design administration, promoting dialogue and exploration for integral design. Bridging the gap between art and commerce, Yashar manages talent in the decorative arts category, championing the works of designers, makers, artisans, and artists. In 2010, Yashar founded The Culture Creative – an incubator for original content, storytelling, and communication strategy, offering creative advisory for the design industry. In his hometown of Los Angeles, Yashar has developed projects and programming initiatives for the West Hollywood Design District and the La Cienega Design Quarter. In 2012, Yashar created the city of West Hollywood’s flagship annual design event, “D.I.E.M.” (Design Intersects Everything Made), ushering in a new direction for the city as an international hub for design. In 2014, Yashar developed AIR (Artist In Residence), a conceptual exhibition space devoted to mentorship and guidance for emerging voices in 21st Century design. In 2015, Yashar launched The Culture Creative’s production house AUX, dedicated to experimental design, art, and craft. Yashar has been recognized by such publications as Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Interior Design Magazine, Wallpaper, Surface, Cultured Magazine, Art + Auction, ICON, Angeleno Magazine, Los Angeles Confidential, C Magazine, Apartment Therapy, and He has also been featured as a design expert on KCRW, NPR’s flagship station for Southern California, and served on the board of the (A+D) Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles.



A relative newcomer to the industry, Jay Belson is a master at developing luxury residential properties in Los Angeles. He is making his mark in the real estate market with spectacular properties, including the forthcoming $100,000,000 mega mansion in Bel Air.

As the summer of 2015 came to its finale, real estate agent, Christopher Damon, sat down with Jay Belson, the new power-player in Los Angeles luxury residential development. “New” is a misnomer. Jay has been developing real estate since he was an 18-year-old living in Philadelphia, “I was remodeling 100 year-old row houses and adding all the modern necessities”. But it was in 2010, after selling his 500 agent Remax brokerage, that Jay moved into development in one of the most exclusive markets in the country – Bel Air, Beverly Hills and the jetliner view properties of the Sunset Strip. Jay did not come from wealth nor could he have imagined that one day he would develop properties like the anticipated $100,000,000 mega estate on Tione Rd in Bel Air. When meeting Jay, his sunny energy and genuine kindness are the real thing. In a business enormously dependent upon capital, it’s no wonder that he has investors lined up months in advance. Jay credits instinct as an essential part of his success. “I got married at nineteen, had two sons by the time I was 21. I was a young guy with a lot going on…It was 1986, we went on vacation to LA and I fell in love with the place, I said ‘Let’s move.’ Once in L.A., I became the top agent in my marketplace and didn’t like the deal my broker offered me so I started my own real estate company. Built that into a big operation with in-house mortgage and escrow, and kept developing property along the way. The way I do things, if it feels right and it attracts me, I go for it. You’ve got to listen to your instinct. It’s been my best tool for success.” Instinct is essential in developing luxury residential real estate because what you’re selling is not just a property, it’s a feeling. When a potential buyer steps across the threshold, they ask themselves, “How does this experience make me feel?”. The same inner compass is helpful to understanding the market and knowing when to push hard and when to sit back. Jay is bullish on the market and forecasts that Los Angeles will remain strong for the next few years. Like most successful real estate professionals, Jay has experienced a serious market downturn. He is a preservationist for his investors, “The number one requirement of any investor is security…as much as they want to make money, not losing money always takes the top spot… capital preservation is my number one priority.” Surprisingly, Jay says the risk can be more mitigated at the high level. “Risk is everywhere. It’s how you manage the risk and understand the

current market as well as the future market. In the lower priced market $2.5-$8 million, the risks include heavy inventory, lots of players, skinny profit margin. The high end of $8 million plus, bought at the right price, is attractive because the margins are bigger, inventory is lower, the product can be more breathtaking...if you get it right.” So how easy is it to get it right? It isn’t. And that’s why there are very few developers purchasing 8 figure tear downs. Los Angeles, compared to New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong, is a bargain. Los Angeles, it seems, has plenty of room to climb, “What’s happening right now with property values, both nationally and internationally, makes our market extremely strong. L.A. developers are upping the ante because we are seeing condo space in Miami and New York sell for $4,000 a square foot. You can buy platinum properties in Los Angeles for $3,000 a square foot. All signals point toward additional growth which is why luxury developers continue to spend money.” Despite the seriousness of his business, Jay prefers to stay light-hearted and open to new ideas. “Ego can get you into trouble. Sometimes a developer is so sure about his vision that he won’t listen to sound advice, and on a $50 million dollar build, that can be dangerous and expensive.” Jay has several projects under development that are redefining the contemporary estate “We call it the disappearing act, where all the aspects of the house that make it function are hidden. It’s very difficult to achieve but visually stunning”. With appearances on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, CNBC and as a frequent speaker, Jay is often approached on the street. Everyone has one thing on their mind – “It’s just incredible how much people love to talk about real estate. From your first home to mega-mansions, it’s always a great discussion.” If he were to look in the rear view mirror and give his younger self advice, it would be one word, “Relax.” If that isn’t LA, I don’t know what is. To learn more about Jay Belson, watch his in-depth video interview with Christopher Damon. Visit and, and visit Written by Alicia Damon, The Damon Group specializes in residential real estate sales throughout Los Angeles.



ROOMs With A View 8931 St. Ives Drive $9,995,000

Contact: James Harris/ David Parnes The Agency T: 424 400-5915 Contact: Victor Kaminoff Coldwell Banker T: 213 718-7718





L Michael Palumbo Designer, Palumbo Design Michael Palumbo is arguably one of the most prolific and consistently original designers today. His interior designs and architectural projects are remarkable for their refinement, elegance and attention to detail. A designer, builder, visionary, artist and California leader in high-end modern home design with a passion for good design and quality craftsmanship, Palumbo designs homes that are truly a work of art. It is Palumbo’s impeccable standards of construction and use of high quality materials that distinguish him as a premier designer and developer.

ocated in the prestigious Hollywood Hills on coveted St. Ives Drive, this stunning architectural masterpiece is the showcase ultimate view home. Designed by Michael Palumbo and developer Jay Belson, the property has spectacular panoramic and unobstructed 270 degree Downtown, Century City and ocean views. You’ve never seen Los Angeles sparkle quite like this! From the moment of entry you are welcomed into the spacious open floor plan: living room, family area, open dining area and kitchen all flow together for entertaining, with each space capturing glimpses of the best views around. The open chef ’s kitchen includes beautiful black marble stone, a center island, Miele and Viking stainless steel appliances and more. The upper level encompasses an en-suite guest bedroom and a sprawling Master Suite with private terrace overlooking promontory city views, a large walk-in-closet, and luxurious bath. There are an additional two en-suite guest bedrooms, a lower level bonus room, an infinity edge pool and spa and a large sun terrace.





bout a year ago, I got a call from one of my private agents about a property on St. Ives. I’ve been in the real estate business in Los Angeles for over thirty years, so many agents in town know me. Because of our long relationship, this agent came to me first and this property was never seen by any other developers or potential buyers. Also, the agent knew what I look for in a property, and he told me that I would probably like St. Ives. He was wrong. I didn’t like St. Ives, I loved it. As soon as I stepped on the property I knew I had something very special. Located just a couple of blocks from Sunset Boulevard, yet it provided breath taking 300° views from the ocean to downtown. There are very few properties with this kind of spectacular view. So what struck me as odd, even funny, is that when we stepped into the house I immediately noticed that all the windows were blocked by curtains and furniture. The owners had lived at St. Ives for two decades and somewhere along the line, they forgot that they even had a view! The property owners were home, were lovely, and we became quick friends. They made me lunch and we spent hours together talking about real estate. They showed me the plans for their new home that they were building. And I actually shared some of my ideas for what I could do with their current home at St. Ives. It is a little dangerous to share ideas for how you would develop a property with the current owners. Many times, they have an emotional connection to their houses, even if they are selling them. And if they don’t like your plans, or worse, you tell them that you are going to tear

down their house, they can get very uncomfortable and back out of the sale. However, I knew that the couple had already moved to their new home in their minds, so I told them how I would bring out the phenomenal view on this property. They loved it, and we made the deal. Simply put, my vision for this property was to completely change the use of the rooms. And orientate the entire living experience of this home towards the incredible, breathtaking views of Los Angeles. We ended up building an even more incredible home than originally expected. We did finishes that are normally seen in a $30 million house. We created additional outdoor space and cantilevered a pool which looks like it drops off into infinity. Take a look at the video for some of the before-and-after work my team of architects, designers and contractors did on St. Ives. I don’t say this for myself, I say this for the team – I’m very proud of what Belson Luxury Development did with St. Ives. Jay Belson | Belson Luxury Development






daniel and GRACE hwang BY DANIEL HWANG

Grace Hwang

Daniel Hwang

I started my real estate career 11 years ago as a real estate title insurance sales representative at Stewart Title working with realtors throughout the Southern California community. I started off by working in Los Angeles County and I expanded my territories to Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. After working at Stewart Title for 7 years, I moved over to Fidelity National Title (worked there for 4 years). 6 months ago I decided to temporarily leave the title industry and joined Keller Williams Larchmont to help my mother, Grace Hwang at Keller Williams Larchmont to help her expand her real estate business in Koreatown and surrounding areas (Wilshire Park, Windsor Square and Hancock Park communities). She has been in the real estate industry for 26 years and her increasing real estate business became more than she can handle herself so she asked me to help her. After helping her for six months she is now able to manage her real estate business with the help of an assistant. I can now go back to the title industry to help other realtors grow their business. Starting January 2016 I will be leading a title sales team covering Southern California as Vice President at Fidelity National Title, focusing primarily on the Korean-American community of realtors, lenders and escrow companies. Typical house prices in this neighborhood Koreatown - mostly condos ranging from 600,000 - $2 million. Hancock Park & Windsor Square - $1 million+ Wilshire Park - $1 million+ What kinds of architecture is prevalent here Koreatown - Condos, apartments and commercial Hancock Park - Single family luxury homes Windsor Square - Condos and single family homes

910 Westchester Place, Los Angeles, CA 90019. A colonial style, single family home located in the Wilshire Park Community. 4 bed, 4 bath $1,325,000. Contact: Grace Hwang Keller Williams, Larchmont T: 213 369-2008


Wilshire Park - Colonial style single family homes (This area is Historical Zoned so the homes have to go through an approval process with the Historical Zoning Department for any remodeling). The most sought after streets: Koreatown - Condos closest to Wilshire Blvd. Hancock Park, Windsor Square and Wilshire Park - Homes closer to Wilshire Blvd. Housing prices are starting to stabilize. We aren’t seeing the extreme price spikes that we used to. The inventory is still low but since prices are beginning to stabilize in most areas of Los Angeles, we are going to see an increase of sellers wanting to take advantage of the selling price before it goes down. There is constant development in Koreatown and investors are continually seeking spaces in Koreatown to build more apartments, condos and commercial retail spaces. Mixed use residential and commercial spaces are becoming a trend since Koreatown is becoming more of a live/work community. We can also credit the new developments to the increasing growth of Downtown LA. Koreatown is the new hot spot. 10 years ago most of the restaurants and nightlife were filled with Korean customers. Now the demographics has completely changed. In many restaurants and nightlife venues, Koreans are the minority. The neighborhood: Koreatown is excellent for singles or the working family that enjoy living in the condominium lifestyle. They have amenities such as a gym, swimming pool, and restaurants/entertainment that is walking distance. Koreatown is slowly becoming a more walkable community (although it’ll take a lot more time to get there).

Hancock Park, Windsor Square and Wilshire Park is excellent for families. The community is excellent, 4 private schools/2 public schools, and the communities are still close enough to restaurants and entertainment. Minutes from Koreatown, Downtown LA, Hollywood and the Westside. Where are the must-see or go-to places? Koreatown - It’s all about Chapman Plaza area. You have delicious Korean bbq restaurants such as Quarters and Baek Jeong and bars such as Sake House by Hikari, Escala and Toebang. You’re also walking distance to restaurants such as Boiling Crab and EMC Seafood. If you’re in the mood for singing some tunes, you can head upstairs of EMC Seafood and sing your heart out at Recital Karaoke. Koreatown also has an overflow of coffee shops that offer delicious foods and drinks.

The historic Chapman Plaza is home to Korean BBQ restaurants Quarters and Baek Jeong and bars like Escala and Toebang. Upstairs at EMC Seafood is Recital Karaoke.

Daniel Hwang Vice President Fidelity National Title T: 213-505-0992



N E I G H B O R H O O D / 1 2 0


silver lake 120 minutes on a walking exploration of the neighborhood with a camera and kids in tow






















1/ 12.00. Arrive Old Guitar Shop 510A N. Hoover St.

6/ 1:00. Play dress up at the Surplus Value Center 3828 Sunset Blvd.

17&18/ Reform School 3902 Sunset Blvd.

2/ 12:15. Walk down Hoover Street.

7&8/ 1:15. Arrive at Secret Headquarters to purchase a few new floppies. 3817 Sunset Blvd.

11&12/ 1:40. Stop in Spice Station to find rare spices needed for new cookbook. 3819 Sunset Blvd.

3/ 12:30. Check out local art by Leila Fakouri Art and Design 610 N. Hoover St. 4/ 12:40. Peek in at LA Roxx 608 N Hoover St. 5/ 12:45. Purchase future art classes for the kiddies from Makers Mess. 602 N Hoover St.

13&14/ 1:45. Wander down Sunset, admire street art, exploring shops along the way.

9&10/ 1:30. Listen to new music and pick up some new vinyl at Vacation Vinyl. 3815 Sunset Blvd.

15&16/ Dean Leather Accessories. 3918 Sunset Blvd



19/ Pick up a couple of new shirts from Johnson Motors 4000 Sunset Blvd. 20/ Furthur LA 4312 Sunset Blvd.

Who, What,





















CHAUTAUQUA BLVD Pacific Palisades

Video coverage of the preview party for Partners Trust to reveal a new construction property for sale. Video coverage/photo gallery


Coverage of a wine store opening in Beverly Hills. Video coverage/interviewer/photo gallery


Red carpet coverage of the Catt Sadler hosted, Women of The Agency event in Beverly Hills. Co-branded/banner/Red Carpet/ Interviewer/ Video coverage/photo gallery

Magazine and video coverage to make your event unique.





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MiniBrew MiniBrew is a fully automatic craft beer brewing appliance that allows anyone to brew professional quality craft beer. It combines sensor technology with smart software to automate the brewing, chilling, filtering and fermentation process with great accuracy. There are ready-tobrew Ingredient Packs produced by renowned craft breweries from around the world. A portable keg that is chilled and ready to tap, allows you to share your brew with your loved ones everywhere. $2100 approx (in development)

NuBryte The NuBryte is a smart home console designed to automate your lighting and security capabilities. It can provide you with updated energy and weather reports, plus an array of other household management features. $199

Kevo No more fumbling for your keys...just touch the smart lock to open. Kevo is a Bluetooth enabled, smart lock from Kwikset which allows you, through the accompanying phone app, to open your doors by touch. You can also create temporary keys for guests or your cleaner, and set them to expire after a certain period. You might remember this from Shark Tank a few years ago. Great to see it finally in production. $177

Welcome by Netatmo A home security camera with face recognition technology for inside your house. Welcome’s setup is straightforward: place the camera indoors, facing your entrance, plug it in and download the App. Check who is currently home, access live stream and past events. Welcome sends the names of the people it sees directly to your smartphone. Be notified when your children or elderly parents are home. The camera also alerts you when it sees a stranger. $199


Oshbot A robot which is currently being used in home stores like Orchard Supply Hardware and Lowes, the Oshbot is capable of understanding your requests. Tell it what product you need and it will lead you directly to the aisle and shelf where your item is situated. It is programmed with information on every product and it also recognizes different languages so you can chat to it in Japanese about that DIY task you’ve been planning on doing.

Somabar Somabar is the world’s first app controlled, robotic bartending appliance created for the home kitchen. With its streamlined design you can thoroughly mix cocktails and infuse bitters to make the perfect cocktail in seconds. $429 (pre-order)

peloton Stylish carbon steel frame bike with 10 live rides each day and 300 on demand rides from top indoor cycling coaches streamed directly to your bike’s touchscreen. Ability to schedule classes and chat to others in your class using the built in video. $1995 + $39 a month








Furnitecture/ Anna Yudina $29.95 A sourcebook exploring the furnishings, interior environments, and solutions for small spaces at the meeting point between design and architecture. Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940—1990/ Edited by Wim de Wit and Christopher James Alexander $59.95 From 1940 to 1990, Los Angeles evolved into an influential, industrial and creative city. During this era, it became a laboratory for cutting-edge architecture.

design BOOKS

Vintage Industrial: Living with Machine Age Design/ Misha de Potestad. $35.25 A celebration of this influential style that is now at the forefront of interior design. Vintage Industrial covers the period from 1900 to 1950, which produced the raw, functional aesthetic that has become a cornerstone of modern design. Commune: Designed in California/ Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri. $41.20 Established in Los Angeles in 2004 by four like-minded souls, Commune embodies a new California style that freely mixes old and new in its layered, highly personal interiors that embrace color, pattern, and texture. Pierre Frey: Inspiring Interiors: A French Tradition of Luxury/Serge Gleizes. $43.08 Pierre Frey fabrics, rugs, wall coverings, upholstered furniture, and home accessories appear here in rooms created by some of today’s best-known interior designers. Never Built Los Angeles/ Sam Lubell. $36.69 A treasure trove of buildings, master plans, parks, follies and mass-transit proposals that only saw the drawing board. More than 100 visionary works that could have transformed both the physical reality and the collective perception of the metropolis.


Julius Shulman Los Angeles: The Birth of a Modern Metropolis/Sam Lubell. $35 The renowned architectural photographer shares four crucial decades’ worth of images of the city he loved, through his flawless photographs of the pioneering architecture of Richard Neutra and Charles Eames, among others.


new year’s resolutions

I stroll into the office at half past nine My shirt slightly wrinkled and stained with wine Coffee in hand while checking the mail I pass the receptionist and say “hi” to Gale

I will set up a blog and my personal site And teach all my readers where to visit at night I will cold call old listings and reach out to old friends I will change my slogan to “service that never ends”

“Gale you look good girl how was your showing?” “Buyer was quiet there’s just no way of knowing.” I arrive at my desk and flip open my mac I lean back in my chair and start cracking my back

I will give back to the community and hike with my daughter I will start reading books and drink way more water I will ensure that my clients are all wine and dined I will pay all my dues and never get fined

With the year almost over I review in my head Four deals in the books and one that is dead I need more business I have to be better Time to write resolutions for getting that cheddar

I will run on the weekends and eat healthy meals I will network events and close way more deals I will be smart with my money and find a new lover I will never bet on the Eagles to cover

2016 will be my best year I will eat at Whole Foods and drink way less beer I will wake up at six and head to the gym Feeling fresh and alert while looking real slim

I will keep my car clean and buy a new suit I will shave in the mornings and eat way more fruit I will do all of this soon, just not today My work here is done, there’s no more to say

I will work at the office and never from home I will market my homes in a HD with a drone I will door knock and farm like it is year number one I will sit opens on Sundays and try to have fun

I saved the file as “New Year’s Resolution” But it already existed so I came up with a solution I took last year’s list and just changed the name Because 2015 and 16 are exactly the same

The Broke Agent provides real estate comedy and captures the inner monologue of agents. The creators are Eric Simon and Wes Pinkston. The authentic ‘voice’ they have created is a combination of their unique writing style, industry knowledge and their comedic know-how. The Broke Agent can be found as TheBrokeAgent on all social media channels. (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat). The Broke Agent 310.982.3670


















General Petroleum Building

612 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 Architect, Wurdeman & Becket built in 1949