Tom & Steve's Mixed-Use Home

House Call

Name: Tom & Steve
Location: East LA — Los Angeles, California

We are located in an industrial neighborhood of East LA, not far from Cal State LA and the USC Health Sciences campuses. Our neighbors include warehouses, taco stands, light manufacturing and railroad tracks. My husband, Steve, and I have done the bulk of the work ourselves. The building was a commercial market built in the twenties, and we have transformed it into a mixed-use space combining our home as well as my graphic design firm, Buz Design Group.

The majority of the materials in the garden were scavenged from the nearby railroad tracks and roadside. We have incorporated parking curbs, bottles, river rock, broken tile from family heirlooms, old growth redwood from discarded garage doors as well as souvenirs from friends' travels. The fountain provides "white noise" from the street traffic and with heavy mulching (free from Los Angeles DWP) the drought tolerant plants thrive on limited water.

When we "remodeled" the interior we reused and repurposed the lumber whenever possible. We have no central air or heat and have incorporated passive environmental design principals with the addition of insulation, reflective roof coatings, strategically placed skylights for ventilation, south facing porches to protect us from the summer sun and a cast iron gas stove for year round comfort.

Thanks Tom & Steve!

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