An Art-Collecting Couple’s L.A. Home Is a Masterpiece in Its Own Right
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.
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.
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.
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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 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.
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.
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A Creative Couple Update Their Midcentury L.A. Home With Custom Furniture
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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