LA House Tour: Elise & Darren Modernist Sensibility

LA House Tour: Elise & Darren Modernist Sensibility

Gregory Han
Jun 27, 2008

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Name: Elise & Darren
Location: San Diego, CA
Size: 1550 sq. ft.
Years lived in: 4 years (3, really, since we moved out during construction)

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2-23-housetourlogo.jpgFor this week's ATLA house tour we head southbound to our favourite weekend escape destination, San Diego, where a couple spent a year transforming their home into the epitome of MidCentury chic. Elise and Darren's home reminds us of a real life Hockney painting or the subject of a Julius Shulman photograph, embodying the indoor/outdoor lifestyle we treasure and enjoy here in Southern California, all with a warm modernist's eye for details...

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AT Survey:

My/Our style: MidCentury modernism, but with a little of today's modern mixed in .

Inspiration: All those wonderful photos by Julius Shulman, and a home we once rented in Palm Springs by the same architect who designed our house, Bill Krisel

Favorite Element: The glass wall to the backyard pool, and view to the bay and city beyond.

Biggest Challenge: Finding a competent contractor who could execute what we'd designed (we changed the original floorplan from Krisel's design, somewhat). We were only moderately successful there.

What Friends Say: Depends on whether they are modernist friends or not. The responses from those that aren't tend to be : "Wow!", "This is very different from what it looked like from the street", "Where did you find that chair? (asked about any of the chairs)", and "I don't like modernism because it's cold, but this house feels very warm."

Biggest Embarrassment: The unfinished cabinet space around the refrigerator, and the water stains and marks on the ceiling from where old walls used to be.

Proudest DIY: Umm, either painting the whole house by myself (I ran out of money to hire a painter), or installing all of the sinks and drains myself (those European connectors don't match up well to the rough connections that the plumber had installed, so it took many trips to Home Depot and some creative adaptation to get them to work properly.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the swimming pool we designed and had installed as soon as we moved in. But the furniture is a close second.

Best advice: Live in the house for six months before doing any remodeling, and pay your contractor as little as possible at the beginning of the job – make sure the final payment is big enough for them to stay motivated to finish the work properly.

Dream source: Not sure what this means, but my favorite source is Boomerang for Modern in the Little Italy section of downtown San Diego. David Skelley always has some amazing stuff in there. A bit further afield, in Long Beach, there's DejaVu and Xcape that have very interesting things. On the web, places like Rago, LA Modern Auctions, Wright, and 1stdibs.com all have some amazing artwork and furniture pieces that I like to drool over in my spare time.

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Resources:

Appliances: Oven - Miele MasterChef.Warming Drawer - Miele.Cooktop - Miele ceramic 30" rangeDowndraft vent - ThermadorDishwasher - Miele IncognitoRefrigerator - Jenn-Air white glass front

Hardware: All faucets in the house are Hansgrohe Axor by Philippe Starck, except the two for the sinks in the master bathroom, which are Kohler Stillness laminar flow.In the master bathroom, sinks, bathtub, and wall-mounted toilet are Duravit by Philippe StarckIn the guest bathroom, chrome sink. Faucet is Hansgrohe Axor by Philippe Starck. Toilet is wall-mounted Duravit by Philippe Starck.

Furniture: In the living room - Wassily chairs by Marcel Breuer (unknown manufacture), Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen (Republic of Fritz Hansen), IKEA coffee table, Sapien bookcase from DWR, In front of the TV - Settee and walnut and marble-top two unit credenza (where we hide our A/V equipment), both by Florence Knoll for Knoll. Papa Bear chair and ottoman by Hans Wegner, (from Modernica). Pedestal table by George Nelson for Herman Miller. Bronze wall sculpture by Curtis Jere. White pot on walnut stand is Le Gardo Tackett for Architectural Pottery.In dining area - White marble tulip table and tulip side chairs by Eero Saarinen for Knoll. Fiberglass bullet planter by Hip Haven, found at our local gardening store called Grounded. In the kitchen - Perimeter cabinets are IKEA Abstrakt white and Avsikt aluminum roll-front. Island cabinets are IKEA Numerar stainless steel. Countertop and sides of the island are IKEA Numerar dark grey.In the master bedroom - Metal cabinet is by IKEA. Planter and stand are by Le Gardo Tackett for Architectural Pottery. Eames LCW in walnut is by Herman Miller. Eames plywood screen is also by Herman Miller.

Accessories: Flatware is designed by Arne Jacobsen, made by Georg Jensen in DenmarkDanish modern ice bucket belonged to my parents since purchased new by my parents in the 1960s

Lighting: Most of the lighting is IKEA, unless otherwise indicated. Dining room pendant lamp is Le Klint from an estate sale.In master, three light floor lamp is of unknown French origin from the 1950s. In living room, Arco lamp by Castiglioni (FLOS)

Rugs and Carpets: Cowhide and shag rug are both by IKEA. Interface FLOR tiles are used in the bedrooms (Toy Poodle in Booboo Citron for the master bedroom, House Pet in Hamster for our daughter's room).

Tiles and Stone: See flooring.

Window Treatments: We don't like window treatments and don't have any, except a curtain in our daughter's room from IKEA (that's why we built the glass screens in the front of the house - to give us privacy and still let in light. The rest of the house is private enough from the neighbors that none are needed anywhere.

Beds: In master, Bed is a low platform bed by West Elm. In Ava's room, crib is Gulliver by IKEA, although we're replacing it soon with a George Nelson platform bed with hairpin legs by Modernica.In guest room, bed is by IKEA, as well.

Artwork: In living room - Jonathan Adler "Birds" Peruvian wool tapestry on the wall. Fish ceramic tile on fireplace was a find from an estate sale in Long Beach, via our friends at DejaVu. There's also a frame with a couple of photos taken by Julius Shulman in 1959 of the original tract homes for our neighborhood. In entry, "Volcano" series vases by Jonathan Adler, Painting "Minnesota Frost" by Ryan SwedlundIn the master, more vases and knicknacks by Adler, as well as a bronze sculpture by Jere and a reproduction bust by Modigliani. Painting of bull above LCW by me (Darren Bradley)In the hall, Serigraph "Palm Springs Serenade" by SHAGIn Ava's room, "It's a Small World" tapestry by Mary Blair for Disney. Miniature vintage japanese kites that we found at Zinc in San Francisco.

Paint: Frazee Sultan Red for the front door, Sagebrush for the wood siding, and Oxford brown for the beams. Frazee Swiss Coffee for the interior walls.

Flooring: Travertine 18" x 18" tiles with 1/16th" grout lines in most of the house.Hakatai glass mosaic tiles in the guest bathroom (the same tiles are actually used on the walls and even the ceiling, too. The effect is like that of a jewel box, I think.

(Thanks, Elise & Darren !)

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Photos by Darren Bradley

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