A Retro 1930s Kitchen Renovation

We recently completed the renovation of a kitchen in Altadena, California for cherished repeat clients. Project Manager, Leonardo d’Anconia and Interior Architect, Patrick Tennant, collaborated on the project.  Patrick shares his design inspiration and special moments for creating a new-old space:

The old kitchen was small, oddly shaped, and lacked natural light (and a dishwasher) — in other words, not a fun place for a family of four. We created an efficient space that feels spatially modern while keeping in sync with the history of the house. Fortunately, our clients are artistic and trusting, a perfect combination for a design endeavor.

Much of our inspiration came from the house itself, a classic 1930’s California ‘Storybook Style’ cottage. We took our cues from traditional 1930’s kitchens bringing back a design trend from that era - tile countertops!  We designed ours in classic white hex tiles with an olive green bullnose.  We paired the olive green with honeydew stick liners from Heath Ceramics for a unique backsplash detail in a charming, retro color palette.

The tile palette dictated the paint color choices for the rest of the kitchen.  While we love a white kitchen, our clients were 100% behind our challenge to take it up a notch – almost to the colorful ‘atomic’ designs of the 1950’s and 60’s. Colorful cabinets really do create a feeling of warmth and are a nice change of pace.

The best part of the project was seeing the clients’ faces when the appliances were moved in and the water was turned on! They could finally make dinner in a kitchen they hadn’t been able to use for months. Priceless. Our clients hadn’t unpacked their wedding china since they got married a decade ago, and they couldn’t wait to put it on display in a custom glass china cabinet we designed for just that purpose. Now the room is the perfect place to hang out with friends and family. 

Photography by Clark Dugger

How Syria's Architecture Laid the Foundation for War

Architecture can help build or damage our relationships. It gives us public and private spaces, opportunities for celebration and grieving, sharing and inspiration. Syrian architect Marwa Al-Sabouni speaks to us over the Internet from Homs, where for the last six years she has watched the war tear her city apart. Al-Sabouni explores the role architecture and the built environment play in whether a community crumbles or comes together, and she offers insights on how her country (and a much-needed sense of identity) should be rebuilt so that it will not happen again.

https://www.ted.com/talks/marwa_al_sabouni_how_syria_s_architecture_laid_the_foundation_for_brutal_war

Standing Proud: Preserving Architectural Heritage in LA

On Thursday, May 11, Pamela Jaccarino, Editor-in-Chief of Luxe Interiors + Design, will lead a panel discussion on Preserving Architectural Heritage in LA. Tim will join designer Jaime Rummerfield and Bret Parsons, the Architectural Division Director for Coldwell Banker.

Thursday, May 11
9:30am - 10:30am
Tufenkian Artisan Carpets
501 N. La Cienega Blvd.

Moderator
Pamela Jaccarino, Editor-in-Chief, Luxe Interiors + Design

Panelists
Jaime Rummerfield, Designer
wandrdesign.com 

Bret Parsons, Architectural Division Director, Coldwell Banker
coldwellbanker.com

Tim Barber, Architect

Never to Late to Learn Something New

Winterim project 2009[1].png

I was lucky to get an education in Ohio in the ‘70s. We studied Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus. We learned logic, philosophy, debate, Latin, Spanish and French. We took phys. ed., art, music (choral, band, orchestra) and theatre classes. Why do I write this long list?

I’m writing because I miss it –the mental work to discover, integrate and grow. I want to keep challenging myself to learn and discover more. And I love to see that yearning for understanding in my colleagues, my employees, and my friends. The value of continued education is its ability to expand us both personally and professionally.

One life-altering course I took in 2009 radically altered my art and my career; the Winter Intensive at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. That cold January in New York City, I worked night and day to learn about architecture in eye-opening new ways. I learned proportion and theory of forms and spaces.  I studied history and how it influenced architecture. I gained new ways of seeing buildings, and new rendering techniques. As a final project, the class was asked to integrate our new-found knowledge of past precedent into a new design for contemporary use.  The project I chose was a classical approach to a farmer’s market inspired by Findlay Market, a vibrant public place I had loved while a student in Cincinnati.

I’m grateful for all that I learned at the Winter Intensive. I use what I learned in my practice today.  This Autumn, the Southern California Chapter of the ICAA will teach it’s own ICAA Intensive at Greystone Manor in Beverly Hills. Some of the same instructors from the Winter Intensive will  come from New York to teach courses such as Linear Perspective and Theory of Proportion.  Instructors from the Southern California Chapter, including Erik Evens and Domiane Forte, will also join the faculty. The course is open to Architects, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Fine Artists, Graphic Designers -  anyone with drawing and drafting skills – who are interested in expanding their horizons. The dates are Sunday, October 15-Sunday, October 22. Applications will be available soon. Stay tuned!

President’s Day Trip to the Grand Canyon

I celebrated President’s Day 2017 at the Grand Canyon. I hiked the trails with young ones and oldsters, citizens and visitors from around the globe. I studied the canyon’s unique geology and learned its history. Surprisingly, it took 3 presidents and 37 years to protect this astonishing place from mining, development and exploitation.

Senator Benjamin Harrison tried to create Grand Canyon National Park in 1882, ’83 and ’85, but Congress declined to act. President Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed it a National Monument in 1906. Congress defeated proposals again in 1910 and ‘11. Finally in 1919, Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park into law.

How is it that efforts to protect so wondrous a place could be blocked for 37 years? What commitment and diplomacy empowered our leaders to save the Grand Canyon to be enjoyed by all of us? This struggle proves that we can persevere, and that with encouragement, our government can do the right thing. This year, I salute Presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and Wilson for protecting the Grand Canyon.

Architecture, Will You be Mine?

Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of this amorous holiday, we decided to send out a love letter to the architects and buildings we admire most. Several of our teammates share their most beloved and inspiring architecture:

I Heart the Eames House - Cori Wodjak, Design Associate

Photograph by John Morse. Courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photograph by John Morse. Courtesy of Wikipedia

“I am choosing the Eames House (also known as Case Study House No. 8). I love the mid-century modern design that is so classic to the Los Angeles area, the play on shadow and light, the juxtaposition of materials, and the successful blend of architecture and site. The Eames House was well thought out, researched, and constructed, making it a prominent piece of architecture in our backyard.”

To the Senedd with Love - Laura Haymond, Project Manager

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

“One of my favorite buildings is the Senedd by Richard Rodgers (one of my favorite architects) and engineered by ARUP (these guys are coolest)
“The Senedd is the National Assembly for Wales and was designed to express an open and transparent democracy as self-government was returned to Wales for the first time in centuries. Built in 2005, it is an excellent example of sustainability strategies integrated into the fabric of the building. The main lobby is completely naturally ventilated, the large fluctuating roof shades the glass façade and is also used to harvest rainwater and finishes were designed to last 120 years!”

You & Me, Salk Institute – Leonardo D’Anconia, Senior Project Manager

Photograph courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection at the Library of Congress

Photograph courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection at the Library of Congress

“The Salk Institute by Louis Kahn is my favorite, because it shows that even within the functional constraints of an environment as cold and sterile as a laboratory, architecture can still create spaces that are timeless, connected to nature and deeply poetic.”

Union Station, UR Mine – Carolina Allen, Project Manager

Photographs by John O'neill. Courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photographs by John O'neill. Courtesy of Wikipedia

“I love Union Station in Downtown LA. The Spanish – Moderne building is a beautiful gateway into and out of our city. I especially love it, because it’s where Jarod and I chose to get married, inspired by our love of travel and architecture.”

To Julia with Love - Patrick Tennant, Designer

Left: Photograph by King of Hearts. Right: Photograph by Jim G. 

Left: Photograph by King of Hearts. Right: Photograph by Jim G. 

“I love Julia Morgan, a revolutionary female architect who kept historic architecture alive in the very young state of California. Her architecture and interiors brought new life to forgotten and vernacular styles while at the same time brought whimsy to her structures.”

Be Mine, Eastern Columbia Building – Dani Vinokurov, Marketing & Design Associate

Photographs courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photographs courtesy of Wikipedia

“I find the Eastern Columbia Building in downtown Los Angeles absolutely captivating. With its brilliant turquoise façade and endless Art Deco details, I see something new every time I look this building. She’s a true grand dame of downtown.” 

XOXO Castle Green – Mary Kate Spach, V.P. of Development

"Pasadena’s Castle Green is one of my favorite examples of late Victorian architecture.  Built in 1898, this hotel-turned-apartments calls to mind the grand 19th century apartment buildings of the Upper West Side in my hometown of NYC.  Gazing through floor-to-ceiling windows with their original bowed glass in one of the graceful, grand parlors of an upper apartment, I can take in the view of Pasadena’s Central Park or the rooftops of Old Town. The ornate moldings, detailed ironwork staircases, and mosaic tile floors speak to the unparalleled craftsmanship of a bygone era. Whenever I pass the Castle Green, I am thankful for the essential contribution the preservation movement has made on the cities I love."

In Progress: Renovating a Craftsman Home

This 1910 Craftsman home was designated by the Santa Monica Landmark’s Commission in 2015 for its unique Swiss chalet styling.  

This 1910 Craftsman home was designated by the Santa Monica Landmark’s Commission in 2015 for its unique Swiss chalet styling.  

In March of 2016, we began an extensive renovation and expansion of a 1910 Craftsman home originally designed by famed architect, Sumner Hunt.

We have taken care to make sympathetic alterations to the house without compromising its architectural heritage. Kirk Snyder, Supervising Project Manager, and Katie Peterson, Project Manager, worked closely with the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission to be certain TBL’s restoration and addition to the property are sensitive to the structure’s designation as a historic building.

Whenever we take on a project that requires the renovation of an historic home, it is essential that we become educated in the architectural style and detailing of the existing building.  We are careful to ensure that the scale, proportion and quality of craftsmanship is also in keeping with the original home.

As of November, major progress has been made in the construction of the addition to the property.

The basement concrete walls are poured and the rear of the home is readied for the new addition.

The basement concrete walls are poured and the rear of the home is readied for the new addition.

Lead designer, Kirk Snyder surveys the progress of the restoration.

Lead designer, Kirk Snyder surveys the progress of the restoration.

The addition takes shape, adding new family areas to the first floor, a new bedroom to the second floor, and play areas plus a guest suite to the basement.