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Historic Los Feliz House in Los Angeles

Sep 16, 2021

Design: Warren Techentin Architecture

Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

Historic Los Feliz House

The Historic Los Feliz is a 1912 home, previously used as a talent guest house for the movie studio across the street, features Mission and Moroccan elements which are also distinctly modern in their feel. Warren Techentin Architecture aimed to retain and restore these details, but also transitionally modernize them. A number of small additions were made to augment the interiors as well as balance the overall massing.

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

In addition, the fenestration for the whole house was revisited, unifying the exterior facades and accentuating the relationship of each room to the surrounding gardens. Working closely in collaboration with the clients, we refinished every room, updating them with carefully curated modern finishes.

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

What was the brief?
4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
Lot size: 20,150 sq ft
Main house: 2800 sq ft
4 other houses and an orchard are also on the property.

On the exterior, additions were made to emphasize entry and balance the houses relative to each other. Porches, awnings, a stair, and an indoor/outdoor freestanding chimney in the spirit of Louis Kahn all helped define the masses and their relationship to the surrounding gardens. Some of the original windows were still in decent shape, so WTARCH took those cues to unify the fenestration of the house throughout, balancing the look of the existing lead glass single-pane windows with new Title 24 compliant insulated glass assemblies – a solution that makes it difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

The interiors were similarly reorganized around renovated windows which looked out onto the variously scaled gardens surrounding the main house. Internally, the house was re-scripted as a single-family residence. A series of connections was created to support this, opening up the house and helping to create flow between rooms. The connections largely honor the scale and use of existing rooms while clarifying the private and public areas of the house as well as reducing the maze-like feel.

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

The details were largely simplified to help create a sense of consistency to the house. The pared-down use of materials echoes minimalist themes found in the work of artists such as Josef Beuys and Donald Judd where the perceived heft and solidity of an object outweigh surface appeal.

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

How is the project unique?
The clients decided to consolidate the main house, which had been split into 3 apartments, and hired WTARCH to work closely with them to restore the character while modernizing the house at the same time. Because the clients are both artists, it was a true collaboration. In addition to the general renovation of the house, which required an entirely new foundation, we introduced small additions which would augment and inflect the massing of both the exterior form and interior spaces, unifying the myriad details into a collective vision.

Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
An artifact from the burgeoning Hollywood heyday, which was emerging in the foothills of Los Feliz and Silverlake in the early 1910’s and 20’s, this residential home was the main house of five “talent” guest houses all located on a parcel across the street from a studio. The house in many ways is a portrait of the early life of Los Angeles and has a diverse history of ownership.

The provenance is not entirely clear, but nonetheless beginning with the film studio, the property was sold to an ensuing cross-section of owner/landlords which represented the changing demographics of the neighborhood: a Black landlord when the neighborhood was majority African American, a group of hippies in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, a gay man from the early days of Silverlake’s “leather scene”, before finally being purchased by the current residents, an artist couple who themselves have continued the legacy of the property being home to a rotating community of tenants who are now mostly artists.

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

Key products used:
Elements such as the handrails were designed as simple, solid bars of brass. The bar countertop is a 1/4″ thick plate of brass left raw to allow weathering over time. Modern finishes were used in conjunction with renovated older finishes. In some locations, plaster was repaired while in others, skim coat was applied to new sheet rock walls to help blend effects.
Den fabrics: Maharam
Kitchen cabinet paint: Farrow & Ball
Tiles: Custom Granada

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

Historic Los Feliz House in Los Angeles, California

Architects: Warren Techentin Architecture

Completion date: 2020

Historic Los Feliz House Los Angeles

Photography: Eric Staudenmaier

Historic Los Feliz House, Los Angeles images / information received 270921

Location: Los Angeles County, California, USA

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