Pritzkat & Johnson Architects
Describe the featured project.
We were first contacted by our clients to look at an existing Spanish Colonial Revival house that had been built in the early ’30s in Palos Verdes Estates. The house was on a double lot with a wonderful stone wall and large trees. A neighborhood-sized grassy park is across the street, and a bridal trail is out back—a perfect location for a family house.
The existing structure was in rough shape. The best features were the romantic appearance it presented from the street, the rustic stone wall that separated the grounds from the street, and a wonderful one-story beamed living room with a large wood-burning fireplace to the left of the entry.
After discussion with Norman MacKnight of MacKnight Construction, we determined it would be better to work around these key elements and start from scratch with the rest. Caroline Burke of Caroline Burke Designs provided the distinctive transitional interior design and Tom Dobos, landscape architect, continued the indoor-outdoor flow with an expansive pool and sunning terrace and lush landscaping with firepit and BBQ areas.
The result is an essentially new house that exemplifies the sensibilities of “California Romantica.” We kept the rustic stone walls, the beamed living room and fireplace and the turned wood balcony next to the front door, and we added a number of beautiful new touches: soaring curving entry stair, groin-vaulted hall, outdoor trellised dining area, wood and wrought iron balconies.
Have you changed the way you do business due to COVID-19?
We are a small boutique firm, so we’ve had some flexibility in how we had to deal with the various requirements and shutdowns. Fortunately, we’ve stayed busy during this time and have been able to keep our employees. We continue to get project inquiries that vary—from adding a bedroom or two to building a brand-new custom residential home. As clients spend more time in their homes, they realize the value of well-designed comfortable spaces. Their current home may need some attention to achieve that feeling. We have been doing more Zoom meetings where we can screenshare to review plans due to the pandemic. It is different, but not bad; some of these changes may stay in place moving forward.
What are you proudest of in your work?
When we have designed a home that our clients never want to leave, we have fulfilled our promise of transforming their dreams into reality. That makes us proudest—taking an idea and transforming it into an amazing, actual livable space.