In a city notorious for its rush hour traffic jams, Los Angeles couple Brad Breeck, a TV and film composer, and Jeana Sohn, a clothing designer, are blessed with a remarkably short commute. Their shared workplace, a two-level accessory dwelling unit (ADU) they added to their property in the Silver Lake neighborhood, isn’t more than a 30-second walk through their backyard and past a swimming pool that was built at the same time.
Prior to the new construction, Brad and Jeana were working from home to be with their young son but badly needed a better setup. Jeana was working in their bedroom, which wasn’t ideal when clients would come over to try on clothes. Brad, meanwhile, was recording in the downstairs guest bedroom. "The noise was a pain in the butt for the whole family," he says, adding that finding a workflow was a challenge. "I had a lot of equipment crammed into that little room, but it felt like nothing was ever accessible."
Ready for a change, the couple called on local architect John Colter to make use of their hilly backyard. Jeana’s requests for her side of the ADU were relatively straightforward: tall interiors, a changing area, and natural light for photography. The resulting 500-square-foot space, located on the lower level of the unit’s 1,483-square-foot plan, is simple but capacious, with 11-foot-7-inch-high ceilings and sliding glass doors that Jeana can open to host indoor/outdoor events.
For his recording studio—a main room and a smaller drum room on the second level—Brad had George Augspurger, an acoustical engineer vaunted for his work at iconic Hollywood studio Sunset Sound, advise on the technical details of construction needed for soundproofing and the best possible acoustics. Colter helped Brad get his equipment and instruments organized with modular shelving, pegboards, and drawers, with hidden wiring troughs and plentiful inputs to keep things plugged into his computer.
Against Augspurger’s recommendations, they outfitted both spaces with windows and skylights. "Big reflective surfaces aren’t ideal," Brad says, noting that recording studios are typically dark and closed off. "But good light and a connection to the outside world were more important to me than pristine acoustics."
"The kitchen and the hallway are so spatially beautiful. Sometimes I just lie here and look up. It’s great for the creative process."
—Brad Breeck, resident
Finished with blond woods and white walls and furnished with vintage rugs and plush lounge chairs, the ADU’s interiors match the couple’s house, which Colter also designed. And with its kitchen and bath, both requirements of any ADU in L.A., it easily becomes a pool house on the weekends, when the family often goes for a swim. More than anything, the addition has done wonders for their daily rhythm. "I can spend hours in the studio and then walk into my house and see my family," Brad says. Adds Jeana, "I’m usually in the studio while my son is in school, and then when he comes back, I can grab a few of my things and go home."
Architecture: Colter & Co.
Structural Engineering: Reiss Brown Ekmekji
Landscape Design: Anigo Garden Design
Sound Engineering: George Augspurger
Cabinetry and Furniture Fabrication: Stephan Roggenbuck
Furniture Fabrication: David Wade
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