At Home Front because we consolidate the design and construction into one seamless team. There is no finger pointing, no blame games between architects, designers, contractors and subcontractors that leaves you, the client, to play referee and pick up the cost. The responsibility for your project lies with us. And, since we are contractors as well as architects we know how much things cost. With us, you never find yourself with a plan you can’t afford or costs that weren’t accounted. The project we design fits your budget and your sensibilities the first time.
Unlike most design/build firms we have most of the trades on staff. We have our own architect, designer, foundation team, framers, finishers, masons, plasterers, cabinet makers, hardware specialists and tile setters in-house. This means we not only control our own schedule but the quality as well. Most subcontractors bid a job and need to get in and out as efficiently as possible. Our staff sweats the details because they know we are the ones ultimately responsible. Our goal is to not only make something you will value but something we are proud of. That’s why the folks at “This Old House” said we were the best construction firm of our size they had ever worked with.
Remodels & Additions
Designing a new structure is easy; it’s a blank slate. To remodel or design an addition, that’s hard. The challenge with an existing home which has character is to adapt it or add to it without losing the distinctive character that’s already there. We are passionate about the vernacular architectural forms found in southern California, Victorian, Craftsman, Spanish Colonial Revival, Prairie and Mid-Century modern. Too often designers are trained to imprint their personality on an addition or remodel. Our approach has always been to honor the existing character of the house while adapting it to the needs of today.
There was a time when being green was a necessity, not a lifestyle choice. Before the age of mechanical heating and air conditioning builders had evolved various passive strategies for comfort, strategies that worked. That’s why at Home Front Build we look to the past for our energy efficient designs, not just the future.
Our designs combine the modern solar panel with the thicker stucco walls of the Spanish Revival Era which repelled the heat of the sun and maintained the cooler, elegant interiors of the period while reducing the need for mechanical cooling. We employ the generous sun shading eaves that were utilized in the Craftsman & Prairie period, the graceful towers of Arab and Moorish traditions designed to vent off heat as well as the cooling effects of Mediterranean central courtyards.
By combining these old strategies with modern technologies we can create wholly new and revolutionary ways to live in our built environments that draw on ours pasts as well as our present.
Glassel Park Mid-Century Remodel
Glassel Park Mid-Century Remodel
This mid-century home from the 50’s suffered a series of additions over time. Each addition was done to satisfy a pressing need, an additional bedroom, a second bath, but none of the projects ever acknowledged that the house was now a larger home. The spaces were just tacked on, creating a confusing layout. Our goal was to reconceive the home without adding more square footage, to make the existing functions more cohesive.
The original house had a bath on the side of the house which opened out to the hillside. When the house was smaller this made sense, as it was the only bath, but now the bath was a guest bath and it was in the way of the view. So we moved the bath to the other side of the house, trading places with the kitchen. The kitchen now accessed the hillside view and, as the floor plan was limited, we left the kitchen open to the living area instead of walling it in.
Glassel Park Mid-Century Kitchen Remodel
The kitchen was designed to reflect the post and beam style of the era. The open beamed shelving and stain grade walnut peninsula gives the “public” side of the kitchen a formality while helping to define the kitchen space. Inside the peninsula we changed the cabinetry to paint grade to define the workspace as subtly different from the public face.
Glassel Park Mid-Century Bathroom Remodel
The two bathroom were on the street side of the house and as additions or alterations to this side of the house was made impossible by local zoning codes we allowed the existing asymmetry of the spaces to become a design feature. We accentuated the master bath by opening up the shower with a glass wall and built in seating and added cabinetry that echoed the angularity.
Mt. Washington Craftsman Remodel
Mt. Washington Craftsman Kitchen Remodel
The Craftsman aesthetic was a reaction to the design excesses of the Victorian period and the industrialization of ornament. It was a period where the dignity of the raw material was accentuated. Stain grade wood was mostly saved for the rooms the public were allowed into whereas kitchens were primarily paint grade areas seen only by the maid or the woman of the house. Today however our kitchens are public areas where family and friends join our lives. They cook with us or keep us company.
When remodeling this classic kitchen we repurposed some of the old framing lumber as cabinetry in order to infuse this room with the organic materiality so often only reserved only for the public rooms of the Craftsman era. We re-sawed the wood into doors and drawer fronts to expose the tight grained elegance of the old growth Douglas fir. We also used some v-groove Douglas fir paneling we had salvaged from a home that was being demolished for end panels and wainscoting treatments. This combined this with the elegance of a Carrera marble countertop and the simplicity of a traditional 3×6 backsplash created an unsophisticated kitchen that echoed the charm of the other stain grade rooms in the house.
Mt. Washington Craftsman Bathroom Remodel
Bathrooms from the turn of the 20th century where sometimes referred to as laboratories. Indoor plumbing was a recent invention and germs a modern discovery. With influenza viruses sweeping the globe in the first quarter of the century, killing more people than the Black Plague, bathrooms were designed to be washed down, to be spotless, to be hygienic.
This bathroom utilizes the classic sanitary white subway tile bringing it up the wall surrounding one in tile. The sculptural elegance of a period pedestal sink acts as a visual anchor for the room. The glassed in shower allows the tile and period shower details to become a part of the room rather than a hidden space, opening up the room for a more open feel.
Silverlake Spanish Colonial Revival Addition & Remodel
The goal of this addition and remodel was to allow the house to reflect how we live today while not losing the charm that attached the owners to the house to begin with. Too often additions to period homes end up becoming pastiches of then and now, feeling artificial and inauthentic. Our goal when reworking any of the historic vernaculars is to update the functions and ergonomics while honoring and enriching the existing.
Homes from this period were typically street oriented. Guests were allowed into the front public rooms, the living room and dining room. Rarely did they venture beyond into the kitchen or even the bathroom. Guest were served and so was family for that matter. Gentleman callers were kept on a bench in full view. Backyards were for laundry. It was a different time.
As we needed to add bedrooms to this one story house for a growing family we created a second story for the new private spaces. This allowed us to open up the main story to flow from the old public spaces into the new kitchen and family room and out to the new back patio with its view of Silverlake.
Silverlake Spanish Colonial Revival Kitchen Remodel
Kitchens from this period were the closed off from the public and family spaces. It was a work area for the woman of the house or the staff. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were always served to a formal dining room or a more informal breakfast room.
Today however we entertain in our kitchens, we do homework, we have coffee and read email. It’s no longer a space apart but central to our day. For this house opened up the kitchen to the family rooms and designed a series of arches to subtly differentiate the kitchen from the public rooms. A low peninsula countertop allows family and friends to sit and be a part of activity in the kitchen while still staying out from underfoot. The cabinet style echoes the period while incorporating the functionality of soft close glides and hardware. We added a plaster cove to the top of the cabinets to make them appear to spring from the architecture and we incorporated the rich elegance of soapstone for countertops.
Silverlake Spanish Colonial Revival Bathroom Remodel
The new master bath for the project drew upon the sophisticated tile designs of the 1920’s and 30’s. We used two shades of green hex tiles in the floor with a rich black border and cove base. The wall tile repeated the green theme which was accented by a decorative liner and black quarter round return.
The two sink vanity has doors reminiscent of the period with crystal pulls and knobs. The wall tile continues around the room acting as a backsplash for the luminous Carrera marble countertop.
Westside Spanish Colonial Addition & Remodel
The entry to this house was typical of home design from the period. It lead you into the living room or dining room but discouraged you from heading deeper into the house into the private areas. As the house was on a typical urban lot in Los Angeles with little room to add on for a growing family, we went up, adding a second story.
By placing the bedrooms on the second floor it freed up more space on the first for family and friends. Our redesign placed the stairs to the second floor squarely in the entry announcing clearly that this house was now a two story structure. However as the second floor was where the new private rooms were we subtly curved the stairs away from the axis of the front door to encourage traffic to flow into the new kitchen, dining room, family room and the backyard beyond.
Westside Spanish Colonial Revival Kitchen Remodel
Houses have to evolve as needs change. The kitchen is a great example of how design needs to adapt to the ways people live now. Historically kitchens were places to make food and serve the family in another room. Family and friends never came into the kitchen. Today it is where we entertain and do homework, it’s often the center of the house.
We situated the new kitchen, literally and figuratively, at the center of the house. Being situated on a cozy urban lot there was little side yard before the next house so we added a tower over the central island to add light and volume to what would have otherwise been a dark room in the interior of the house. The tower creates a focal point that draws you into the room but also acts as a passive vent drawing the heat and fumes out the windows in the turret. It adjoins the dining room and family room and functions as the family’s central hub.
Westside Spanish Colonial Bathroom Remodel
Bathrooms from the 1920’s were bold statements in color. Tile was still the rage for a bathroom in this period but once color was introduced there seemed to be no holds barred on their pairings. It was not uncommon combine burgundy with black or yellow with lavender and green as if the color wheel had just bee discovered.
The first floor powder room is often the one guests use so it should be a place that most reflects the character of the house. For this project we used the bold colors and patterns typical of the period. The master bath still incorporated decorative patterns but here we introduced a less costly field tile to spare the budget. And, for the children’s bathroom upstairs we toned it down even further palette and cost by utilizing a more classic white subway tile design.
This remodel of a commercial space converted a porn video distribution outlet into an artist studio and living space. The central atrium allow access to the roof garden but more importantly allowed light and air into the central core.
Hancock Park Craftsman
This stunning Craftsman was full of hardware and lighting details. The challenge was to add an addition, update the systems, and remodel the baths and kitchens without losing any of the historical charm.
The huge attic space was a common feature of Craftsman homes. They were a result of the desire for a large roof to express the home as shelter and also the need for a space to capture the heat generated by a roof. With better insulating techniques we have now we could capture this attic space for the needs of the growing family.
We mimicked the grand stairway that went to the second floor and continued it up to the new third floor where we added a new bathroom and two bedrooms.
Hancock Park Craftsman Bathrooms
We updated the bathrooms with new copper plumbing but with period fixtures. We added a tankless hot water heater and new shower valves with anti-scald features but made sure everything visible maintained the historic character of the Craftsman period. Often the greatest compliment we can get is that no one knows we did any work. It’s authentic.