The Hide Out home has always been the perfect spot for finding incredible art. It’s now also home to artist James Jean, who uses the space as both a studio and a family residence. With its latest renovation, by Dan Brunn Architecture, history and details from Frank Gehry’s original designs are paired with the perfect accents to Jean’s art, set in a minimalist interior.
From Art Gallery to Artist’s Studio
When award-winning architect Frank Gehry first designed this home in the 70s for noted Los Angeles contemporary art collectors Ann and Edwin Janss Jr., it was considered to be the first of his single-family building projects. The 3,600-square-foot house became known for parties, fundraisers and its gallery-like setting, showcasing the Janss’ collection which included work by Francis Bacon, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, and Andy Warhol.
When it came to construction, the Jansses took a bit of creative license with Gehry’s plans, using them more as a reference point and foregoing some of the signature details. The home is now redesigned by Dan Brunn Architecture specifically for James Jean and his family, following design cues from the original architect and also taking inspiration from Jean’s work to unify the aesthetic.
The entire home was gutted. Now when you walk in, you will find an open floor plan blurring the lines between spaces. You’ll find it spaces minimally furnished, with a few items marking out the living area, dining space, artist’s studio and kitchen all beneath a beautiful skylight — one of the original design features from Gehry’s blueprints. Extra windows were added in the renovation, and the “seamless nature of the design” is one of Brunn’s favorite things about the house.
Hanging in the background, you can see the massive canvas by Jean featuring intricate lines over a large scale. In the foreground the living room is pulled together by a charcoal‐colored area and an Italian Groundpiece sofa by Antonio Citterio, which includes shelves in the arms. There are also “two black‐and‐tan leather sling chairs designed by Jean Prouvé in 1930,” describes Brunn.
In the center you’ll notice a coffee table. Reclaimed timber was used to make the coffee table especially for the spot, featuring traditional Japanese joinery. You may notice that Japanese influences appear throughout the home, perhaps inspired by Jean and his wife living in Asia and Japan for an extended period of time.
One of the most striking features of the home is the undulating sculptural staircase, which took inspiration from James Jean’s work. The handcrafted walnut staircase captures light at all time of the day, accentuating all of the hues in the timber as the sun catches the wood at different angles throughout the day. Brunn explains that “finding the right person to fabricate the stairs took a lot of effort.”
On the next floor, an enclosed patio area cuts into the hall, allowing natural light and a sharp medley of lines and shapes to playfully interact. Described by Brunn as an “open-air meditative garden accessible through the master bathroom,” this spot provides a light breath of air between the rich walnut wood, both areas complimenting one another.
Another challenge in executing the project was the incredible 14-foot-by-12-foot pivot door which separates the main area of the home from the library. A perfect spot for relaxing and reading, the space can also be converted into a guest room thanks to a hidden murphy bed. It was important for Jean to be able to keep his studio in the centre of the family main room, so the library addresses the need for a private space, and one where guests can relax.
“We needed to be able to address the need for guests, so we came up with the pivot wall that creates a barrier between the living room and the den.” — Dan Brunn
Another magnificent feature of the library is a “wooden box-like volume” designed by Brunn, taking inspiration from Japanese tea rooms. The space is like a room within the room, used for socializing, meditation or music performance.
“Walnut planks create canted walls that radiate out from the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass wall, with the wood surface rising along the slanted ceiling.” — Dan Brunn Architecture.
“Always trust your instincts.” — Dan Brunn
If you’re not struck by the staircase, or even the incredible portal-like wooden paneled room in the library, one thing that will grab you is James Jean’s art. Utilizing the home as a studio space and combining it with family makes it an incredible home. Brunn describes that he will “often visit, and it’s really nice to see how the home/studio is being used.”
This family home brings together art, natural light and playful architectural features, making this Hide Out one spot you’d really like to hide out in!
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