2020 Residential Architecture Award: Standard ArchitectureAuthor:Abigail Stone
In many cases creativity thrives under limitations. And there begins
the story of this historic Spanish home in Bel Air that Standard Architecture eloquently refreshed even with constraints. “We were very careful not to go too far with the demolition because we wanted to conserve both the architecture that was still intact, the electrical and original details that we might reuse,” explains Jeffrey Allsbrook, one half of Standard’s husband and wife team. Adds his partner, Silvia Kuhle, “It was really exciting for us to see how our approach to space and light and minimalist interior design can relate to the historic shell that was there.”
Originally designed by Roland Coate in the 1920s, the house somehow survived a series of poor design choices that had left it festooned with Doric columns, marble floors and brass banisters. Standard stripped all of that away, relying on the style’s fundamental architectural alphabet to reimagine it.
“White stucco plaster, oak floors and cedar ceilings: these are all materials we use in modern design that were also used in these older homes,” says Kuhle. “So there is a dialogue between the new space and the existing structure, in the retention of original (Roland Coate era) details like the coffered ceiling over the bar, the riveted steel beams in the living room and the roof rafter tails.
The arches, the ceilings and the home’s relationship to the outside and to spaces including the kitchen are a simple abstraction of Spanish architecture. Allsbrook notes, “There was an overall respect for the house but then the complete freedom to take away all that decoration and to reimagine it the way our client wanted to live today.”