An Art-Collecting Couple’s L.A. Home Is a Masterpiece in its Own Right

An Art-Collecting Couple’s L.A. Home Is a Masterpiece in its Own Right

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Síol Studios gives a 1920s Spanish Colonial house a bespoke renovation that frames an amazing art collection.

When searching for a second home for their young family, Sonya Yu and her husband Zack Lara were drawn to Los Angeles. The San Francisco–based creative couple—Yu is a business coach, startup advisor, and creative director, and Lara is a technology consultant—were taken by the vibrancy and diversity of the city and wanted a home that would reflect that spirit. More specifically, they sought a "single-story Spanish Colonial in the flats" to contrast with their primary residence, a narrow, vertical Victorian on "one of the steepest hills" in San Francisco.

The family were drawn to the Spanish Colonial–style home’s charming exterior—which was not changed in the renovation. 

After finding the 1920s Spanish Colonial-style home that would become their L.A. getaway, the couple turned to Síol Studios to renovate and update the residence to match their artistic vision. Yu and Lara had previously collaborated with the San Francisco–based architecture and design firm, on their primary residence—a still-evolving project—and on a home for Yu’s parents.

With the renovation, they were looking to maintain the home’s original charm and emphasize its beautiful bones and elegantly arched windows—a motif that echoes throughout the project. They were looking for an indoor/outdoor lifestyle and hoped to create, "a home where the sun and the warmth of L.A. could be enjoyed by the entire family," says Síol Studios principal Jessica Weigley, who oversaw the project’s interior design. They also wanted to showcase artwork from their world-class art collection, which includes pieces from James Turrell and Jenny Holzer.

An original twisted column at the front entry inspired new design elements throughout the interiors.

The original arched windows are a motif that Síol Studios pulled into the rest of the home. The black-stained European Oak floors are from Exquisite Surfaces. A painting from Ha Chong-Hyun hangs above the plush teal sofa. The curved Hug armchair is by Giorgetti Policromo.

Síol Studios modified the existing fireplace with a new plaster mantle and an apron of hand-painted terra-cotta tiles.

A marble bench from artist Jenny Holzer adorns the corner of the living room. 

A marble bench by Jenny Holzer. 

Nicole Wermer’s work Rock Bench #1 (boulders in a custom plexiglass case) serves as a coffee table. 

The firm relocated the kitchen to the center of the house and added a NanaWall. "It’s the space that connects to everything," explains Weigley. "The front hall leads you directly from the front door into the kitchen, which opens to the backyard." 

The couple have two young children, three dogs, and a cat, so the connection between the backyard and the kitchen was of the utmost importance. Dark terra-cotta tiles line the floor and continue straight out to the terrace. A dining nook features a cozy custom-made banquette covered in a durable outdoor-grade pink fabric able to withstand its share of wet swimsuits and mealtime spills.

The insertion of a NanaWall opens the kitchen to the backyard and repositions the kitchen as the center of the home. The black chandelier above the kitchen island is Mobile #3 by Michael Anastassiades. 

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A brass backsplash behind the island is intended to show the marks of time. In fact, the designers made the clients promise to never repolish it. The twisted table leg is a custom detail inspired by the twisted column by the front door.

Síol Studios added subtle brass details in the grout line where the kitchen flooring meets the island’s brass backsplash. "We wanted the color to spill into the grout line and weave its way from the threshold to the kitchen. The evening light catches this and illuminates the line for a moment," explains Weigley.

While the vision for the renovation was fresh and modern, the designers also sought to maintain a sense of the home’s original charm, and they used original design details as inspiration for the many updates. The shape of the arched windows echoes throughout the home, and the designers repeat a twisted column in several bespoke pieces—the kitchen table leg, the bed frame, the armoire, and even the legs of the custom-made bathroom vanities.

The cabinets were custom designed by Síol Studios and painted Deep Jungle—a bold shade of green from Pratt & Lambert. The backsplash features hand-painted terra cotta tiles by Walker Zanger. The oven range is from AGA Countertops. The floor is finished with hand-painted arabesque terra cotta tiles from Tabarka Studios.

A closer look at the hand-painted tile backsplash from Walker Zanger.

The pink curved banquette was custom-designed by Síol Studios and upholstered with a durable outdoor-grade fabric in order to withstand wet swimsuits and spills. The Agave table is by Luteca, and the pendant light is from Ingo Maurer.

The placement of the family’s art collection unfolded during the design process. "Some pieces were designed into place," explains Weigley, citing the Barry McGee surfboards in the dining room as an example, while other areas were designed to focus on art without a specific piece in mind.

One of the home’s most impressive works is a glowing James Turrell installation in the foyer of the master bedroom. "We actually worked with Turrell's team and the contractor to bring this work of art to life," explains Weigley.

The dining room features a collection of surfboards from Barry McGee. The striking diamond-patterned rug is from Nanimarquina. An oval, marble-topped Mizar table from Giorgetti is paired with chairs from Dmitriy & Co and a Cloud chandelier from Apparatus Studio. 

The dining room connects to the living room through a black-outlined arch that echos the window frames in the living room. The leather credenza is from BDDW.

Elegantly arched details in the hallway. 

The foyer of the master bedroom was designed to showcase a piece of art, but it wasn't until after that Yu and Lara decided that the space would house a piece by American artist James Turrell. 

"We worked with Turrell’s team and the contractor to bring this work of art to life," explains Weigley.

The master bedroom features the same hand-painted terra-cotta tile flooring as the kitchen. 

The master bathroom features arabesque terra-cotta tiles from Tabaraka Studios in a brilliant shade of green. The custom vanity has a concrete countertop with an integrated sink from Concreteworks and hardware from Marion Cage. The playful wall tiles are also from Tabarka Studios: Paris Metro #14 in charcoal and paprika. The turned leg is based on the turned column detail by the front door.

But it is the deep dive into the details that brought Síol Studios the most joy. "Our favorite part of the renovation was having the opportunity to deeply consider every moment in the experience of the home. It was the chance to not only weave together architecture, landscape, and furniture into one visual language, but to also take that consideration into the everyday objects that finish the project—the finishing touches that make the experience of the home totally immersive and layered," concludes Weigley.

Arched details on the home’s exterior. 

Síol Studios redesigned and updated the pool area as well, adding a hot tub close to the master bedroom, a baja shelf for kids, and a submerged ledge that runs the length of the pool on either side. The terra-cotta Zellige tiles in fired opal are from Clé.

The renovated studio/pool house in the backyard features a bedroom, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. The bedside lighting is from Apparatus, and the Robusto cement floor tiles are from Clé. The tone-on-tone painting is by Trevor Paglen.

The kitchenette picks up the same green cabinetry as the kitchen in the main house. The pendant lighting is by Louis Weisdorf for Gubi.

Jeppe Hein’s  Modified Social Bench #28 stands the home’s front yard. 

Related Reading:

Síol Studios Turns a Bay Area Warehouse Into a Live/Work Space for $124K

A Creative Couple Update Their Midcentury L.A. Home With Custom Furniture

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Robo Gerson, Síol Studios / @Siolstudios

Interior Design: Jessica Weigley, Síol Studios

Builder / General Contractor: Lannen Construction

Landscape Design: ELD Construction

Custom Concrete sinks: Concreteworks

Custom Metalwork: Ferrari Forge

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