Way Out West

Way Out West

Leaving the bustle of Washington, D.C., architect Joe Day and his wife return to California and discover that life in a single-family dwelling isn't as isolated as they had feared.

For Joe Day, moving back to Los Angeles in 1999 ended a protracted spell of California dreaming. The designer had suffered through swampy summers in Washington, D.C., in the early ’90s when his wife, Nina Hachigian, was working at the Clinton White House and Day was on sabbatical from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Washington reluctantly became the full-time home for the couple in 1997 when Hachigian, a Stanford-trained lawyer, went to work at the Federal Trade Commission. Day took a job at HNTB, a large architecture firm in Alexandria, Virginia, but commuted to L.A. monthly to keep up with his own projects, including a clothing line called Dayware and the renovation of a house the couple had purchased in Silver Lake. After less than a year, Day left HNTB to work exclusively on his California projects. The cross-country shuttling between D.C. and Culver City, where Day ran his own firm within a design collective called Hedge, became more frequent, the pull of Southern California, stronger.

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