The Sowden house was built in 1926 by Lloyd Wright, son of America’s greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The home’s design incorporated Wright’s philosophies as a landscape architect, emphasizing the connection to nature. In restoring the Sowden house, we honored Lloyd Wright’s intention to merge architecture, space and landscape by restoring and updating Wright’s original vision. “I think that any really good creativity is something that is not stagnant and that can be built upon,” Xorin explains. “I really respected Lloyd Wright. His work and creativity were timeless.” Xorin also added contemporary touches: a modern steam shower, under-counter refrigerators, Jacuzzi bathtubs and a koi pond off the master bath for meditation and reflection. Molding was removed from certain doorways because it felt a little “too peppy,” and walls were changed from maroon stucco to cool beige plaster to create a less cavernous feeling. A collection of new antique artifacts were added to the home, including an enormous Indonesian Buddha that looks out from atop the master bedroom, an antique Chinese dowry chest, Japanese tansus converted to bathroom cabinets, and a 400 year-old Quan Yin statue.
This residence, selected as Esquire Magazine’s Design Show House for 2008, sits at the top of Doheny Drive in the prestigious Doheny Estates neighborhood of Los Angeles. The lot’s original 1960s era ranch-style house and kidney shaped pool were demolished and replaced with a 7200 SF home that is now a state-of-the-art entertaining compound. It was conceived, built and designed by TempleHome in a simple and modern architectural style, but embellished with architectural details and accents from a more decorative past. Guests are introduced to the property through a wood and glass 12′ high gate. This opens to a secluded courtyard lined with lush planters and tall fountains. Off of this entry space are the main rooms of the home. On the ground level, this includes several thousand square feet of contiguous living, dining, and family room, which together can hold large gatherings. The top floor features a grand master suite with room for a gym, an office and a sitting room. There is also a spacious dressing room, his and hers bathrooms, a spa room with large tub and an outdoor deck with stairs to access the pool and spa below.
Luxury Educational Retreat
Lumeria Maui is a retreat center with luxurious accommodations offering classes, programs and retreats in yoga, meditation and watersports. With 24 guest rooms and suites, stunning communal areas, tropical and edible organic gardens, and breathtaking ocean and island views, Lumeria is a place of peaceful relaxation where guests are invited to enjoy the pace of nature and connect with the beauty of Maui.
Lumeria Maui was originally the Fred C Baldwin Memorial Home, built in 1909 to house aging plantation workers with no families to go home to. Templehome was recently awarded a 2012 Preservation Award from the Historic Hawaii Foundation for the renovation and restoration of the property. As Maui’s first adaptive reuse project, the county of Maui also supported the property’s nomination to be designated a National and State Historic Landmark.
Please see the Lumeria Maui website for more information: www.lumeriamaui.com
The property is located in Mission Canyon of Santa Barbara. Working with a 1970’s tract home, we were able to transform this ordinary residence into a meditative retreat. Walls were knocked down and rooms were combined to create modern open living spaces. All the interior spaces have connections to the outside environment, which was the most dynamic and important part of this property. The garage was transformed into a master suite which offers beautiful views to the pond and creek bellow while sitting fireside by the new stone fireplace. Faux finish wood details in tones which reflected the surrounding oak trees helped to bring the outside environment into the home. Also, this renovation utilized much of the on-site stone material, to bring of feeling of uniting with the land. Using a mix of furnishings and accessories from all over the world including Mediterranean, Indonesian, and Chinese, added to the intrigue of this sanctuary. The property was landscaped with many pathways which lead to Buddhist stone carvings and statues for discovery and reflection by the wanderer.
Rising Glen 2
This classic 1950’s early modern home was in a state of extreme disrepair. For its renovation, the original post and beam structure received considerable structural refurbishment, replacement of all the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, new roofing, new dual glazed fixed windows and glass sliders, and new finishes throughout. An interior concrete courtyard was roofed and enclosed to become a new family room space. The 3 rear bedrooms had their closets relocated to open up views to the back patio. The carport was enclosed with translucent panels to be a full garage space. New closet and storage areas were added to the master bedroom suite. Numerous solid exterior walls were removed and replaced with full height glass panels. Extensive areas of the original tongue and groove wood ceiling were repaired and replaced. New skylights opened up previously dark areas of the house. A modern kitchen and 2 bathrooms were installed. Full height glass exterior walls were installed in both bathroom showers to let in daylight and open up more views of the site. The finished home has the flavor of a Japanese wood and glass ‘jewel box’. The extensive exterior glass walls and interior courtyard space erase the separation between the inside and outside. The finish palette emphasizes raw natural materials, with the ribbed wood ceiling, exposed wood post and beams, limestone tile floor, and full height marble slabs in the bathrooms.
A Mediterranean villa impeccably restored to blend Old World traditions with a modern sense of style. Step into the front entry, and you are transported into the glamorous world of the Venetian past. Using original details as inspiration, this 1920s villa was fully retrofitted with numerous structural interventions, and full plumbing, mechanical and electrical system replacement. The interior architectural treatments employed a rich use of materials. Coffered ceilings were restored to their original grandeur. Extraordinary marbles were imported from Italy and used in the kitchen and bathrooms. The new stone work brings a rich feeling of old-world craftsmanship and seamlessly blends with the original details. Venetian plaster was hand waxed bringing a depth of color and texture to the walls reminiscent of ancient frescos. Other interior walls were treated with lime based paint to enhance the age and feel of the environment. Considerations for the integrity of the original grand architecture, and homage to the era and style of the 1920s were always foremost in our thoughts in this meticulous historical renovation project.
This Palm Springs 1960s era home was fully remodeled to create a modern desert oasis which would expand upon the building’s architectural strengths and enhance the indoor/outdoor living experience of the property. The building was gutted, with kitchen and bathrooms removed. Exterior walls were opened up to create more access to the site and views of the landscaping. The home’s main public spaces all look out to a 2000 SF covered loggia space which was enlarged and enhanced for outdoor lounging and dining. The expanded loggia wraps around the renovated pool and spa, with stunning views of the mountains in the background. The site’s acre of haphazard landscaping was completely reinvisioned. Existing trees were moved to new locations, 16 mature palm trees craned in, 70 boulders installed, new fruit trees selected and planted, and countless new plants with a desert tropical theme were introduced. This new landscaping brings a lush feeling to the fully enclosed and gated site compound, framing breathtaking mountain views, and creating private courtyards for the bedroom suites.
Rising Glen 1
This two story 1950’s residence in the Hollywood Hills was completely remodeled in 2005. When originally built, the house was a modern showcase, but the decades since had outdated the original style, layout, and interior finishes. To update the house, the renovation completely stripped the house back down to its frame to start over. 850 SF of additional space was enclosed on both floors, and the open carport was turned into a full garage. Exterior walls were opened up, with new sliders and fixed windows, which tie the interior to the outdoors and the landscaping. The original 2 story living room space was retained, but new walls of glass opened up the upstairs master bedroom to the living room below, and created new views to the backyard. The entire electrical, mechanical, plumbing and audio visual systems of the house were replaced. The original kitchen and all 3 bathrooms were removed and relocated. All the doors and windows on the house were relocated and/or replaced. The new interior finishes emphasis clean lines but natural materials: limestone floors on the first floor, bleached oak on the second, wenge-wood cabinetry fronts throughout, full height marble stone slabs on all the bathroom shower walls, and a restoration of the original rough-hewn two story stone fireplace wall in the living room. The existing landscaping was all removed and replaced, with the exception of the decorative front yard shade tree. The front yard was enlarged with a new retaining wall built closer to the street, enclosed for privacy with a new translucent glass and aluminum wall, and enhanced with a new patio, pool, and fire pit. On the exterior, the aluminum siding on the entire second floor was replaced with horizontal cedar, giving the impression that the wood ‘box’ floats over the stucco and glass planes below. This house was featured prominently with an 8 page article in the February 2007 Architectural Digest.
A circular gated motor court leads you to the entry of this elegant 1926 replica of the Italian Duke d’Alba’s 17th century Spanish villa. Once the home of silent screen film star Norma Talmadge, it was reportedly the most lavish home of its day. Walled and gated, this hilltop museum-quality architectural masterpiece has breathtaking panoramic views, rich architectural interiors, lush formal gardens and a vibrant Hollywood history. After decades of neglect, Cedarhurst had fallen into tragic disrepair and needed full restoration. A full year’s extensive renovation ensued, which included complete replacement of the structure’s electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems, all new roofing, and a major structural refurbishment. In addition, the renovation reworked and revised several difficult areas of the plan, added new kitchens and bathrooms, and replaced most of the doors and windows.
One of six remaining Spanish revival courtyard buildings designed in the 1920’s by Arthur and Nina Zwebell, ‘El Cabrillo’ has undergone a meticulous restoration and was converted into ten condominium units. ‘El Cabrillo’ was the Zwebell’s first project outside of the West Hollywood area. The building is steeped in Hollywood history one of the Talmadge sisters lived there; Hollywood lore connects the name of Cecil B. DeMille’s daughter with this building; and, at least one of Rudolph Valentino’s films is alleged to have used ‘El Cabrillo’ as a stage set. The architecture is rustic, and scaled and detailed like an old mission compound. The exterior walls are constructed from non-standard size concrete block, which mimic adobe construction. Low archways are cut into the block to frame the entrance patios, stairwells, and side courtyards. These elements are accentuated with the decorative central fountain and surrounding architectural balconies, turret, and chimneys. This rich architectural exterior encloses a multitude of different interior spaces and volumes. A mix of one, two and three bedroom units are laid out as flats and townhouses which incorporate 2-story living spaces, mezzanines and graceful staircases. Private porches, patios, balconies and other outdoor environments extend the interior spaces to the outdoors and capitalize on views of the city and the central courtyard. All interiors are playfully and eclectically illuminated with a variety of lunette, baroque and other window openings. Also included are original mission tiles, authentic ironwork & fixtures, exposed timber ceilings, and large wood-burning fireplaces. While honoring and restoring the past, the restoration provides numerous modern conveniences. The interior updates include central air, fully appointed and updated kitchens and baths, in-unit washer/dryers, and home security systems. El Cabrillo is on the National Register of Historic Places. Being sensitive to its place in Los Angeles history, Xorin Balbes acted as a successful steward of this important piece of architecture. ‘El Cabrillo’ continues its history as an urban palace offering a distinctly California lifestyle for 2007.
With its white terrazzo floors, twelve-foot high vertical-grain Douglas fir ceilings, floor-to-ceiling full glass windows and doors, and open free-flowing plan, this six-bedroom showcase home is evocative of classic Los Angeles mid-century early modern architecture. Situated on a nearly half-acre richly landscaped flat lot, this property is a calm oasis in the celebrity-studded ‘Bird’ streets of the Hollywood Hills. Visitors enter from the street directly into a private front courtyard, where they take a wood bridge over a decorative fountain pool to the 12′ high front entry door. Upon entering the home, the eye travels all the way through the house to the rear glass walls for a view of a 40′ long travertine wall with spouts spilling into the pool. All of the public and private spaces of the house have strong views and access to the exterior, opening up the interior spaces to the environment. The all-new construction includes many of today’s modern conveniences, such as a large dual-island professional chef’s kitchen with adjoining family room, fully-equipped outdoor kitchen and dining area, large master bedroom suite with separate sitting room, dressing room, and steam shower, large back patio with lap pool and spa, gracious back yard with a generous lawn and inviting fire pit, three indoor fireplaces, off-street parking for eight cars, and wiring for today’s most current audio, telecommunications and security technology. The house was the 2007 Los Angeles Designer Show House for Metropolitan Home Magazine and was featured as West Week’s house of 2007.