Just the spot for a Nor­we­gian fam­ily’s easy-liv­ing home.

Belle - - Los Angeles Home - Pho­to­graphs GAELLE LE BOULICAUT Words JEREMY CAL­LAGHAN

Ilove it when things ap­pear time­less and you can’t tell what work has been done and what is orig­i­nal. A house should feel like it has al­ways been like that; and that also goes for the fur­nish­ings. It should feel as if it was col­lected over time.” This is the essence of Pamela Shamshiri’s phi­los­o­phy. Pamela is the prin­ci­pal part­ner at Stu­dio Shamshiri who re­mod­elled the gar­den and re­worked the in­te­rior of this clas­sic Rus­tic Canyon res­i­dence, mak­ing a home with equal lev­els of com­fort, in­doors and out .

The orig­i­nal post-and-beam-style home was built by Matthew Leizer in 1962. Once com­pleted, the leg­endary Julius Shul­man pho­tographed it, which is like be­ing anointed ‘good to ex­cel­lent’ in ar­chi­tec­tural cir­cles.

Since that time the house had been oc­cu­pied by sev­eral own­ers in­clud­ing screen­writer Larry Levin ( Dr Doolit­tle and I Love You, Man). De­spite its dated ttings, sev­eral orig­i­nal fea­tures re­mained: the ex­posed Dou­glas r beams and ceil­ing; ter­ra­cotta oor tiles; and oor-to-ceil­ing glass fac­ing the back­yard and pool area. These hall­marks of South­ern Cal­i­for­nian mid­cen­tury Mod­ernism, to­gether with the jun­gle-like sur­round­ings of Rus­tic Canyon gave Stu­dio Shamshiri strong ma­te­rial with which to work.

A Grammy Award-win­ning mu­sic pro­ducer and an award­win­ning jour­nal­ist/writer had made the move to Los An­ge­les from their na­tive Nor­way – two life­styles at po­lar op­po­sites. The ‘Scandi’ fam­ily were keen to meld with the South­ern Cal­i­for­nian aes­thetic. Their home had to make the most of the year-round sun, the nearby Paci c Ocean, and a sprawl­ing mod­ern metropo­lis that cra­dles dense pock­ets of di­verse na­ture, one of which they bought into and made their home.

The orig­i­nal house had un­der­gone sev­eral ren­o­va­tions, but the in­doors re­mained sep­a­rate and un­in­te­grated with the out­doors. And the gar­den failed to cap­i­talise on the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment, which con­sisted of mas­sive trees and park­land in the re­serve just out­side the back gate. “The orig­i­nal house was made to en­gage with the pool and the gar­den a lot more than it did, so the chal­lenge was to make it ow again, as if it had al­ways been like this,” says Pamela.

Re­spond­ing to her clients’ en­thu­si­asm to dis­solve the bound­aries be­tween ‘in’ and ‘out’, Pamela imag­ined a sprawl­ing mul­tipur­pose out­door liv­ing area over sev­eral lev­els, but also an in­te­rior space that was stylish but tuned into this re­laxed lifestyle and sense of free­dom – all with a strong sense of iden­tity. The nearby for­est set­ting boasts a kind of mini rain­for­est formed by the area’s unique mi­cro­cli­mate. Pamela’s idea was to ex­ploit this nat­u­ral as­set as much as pos­si­ble, vis­ually in­te­grat­ing it into the over­all con­cept.

“We en­tirely re­mod­elled the gar­den and pool” – Pamela refers to it as ‘a hard­scape’. “We cre­ated a kind of out­door liv­ing area but this meant we had to make sure the in­te­rior of the house was not fussy, that it could with­stand things like kids in wet bathers.” Free- ow­ing and user-friendly was the call.

When Pamela says ‘en­tirely re­mod­elled’, she means it. The old was scrapped, taken out and lev­elled. They started over. The new was care­fully de­signed (with the help of land­scape de­signer Matthew Brown) in per­fect pro­por­tion and colour, hand­crafted, moved in and tted. The re­sult is an out­door liv­ing area in the true sense of the ex­pres­sion.

An out­door lounge, din­ing and cook­ing area, a re pit, and quiet, shel­tered cor­ners for re­laxed con­tem­pla­tion or grouped gath­er­ings are tted on dif­fer­ent lev­els, op­ti­mis­ing the space and putting the pure class act of the ar­chi­tec­ture as one back­drop, and us­ing the park­land as the other. The sense is that this is a house that sits among a for­est of trees; the de­lin­eation be­tween the gar­den and the park out­side is now blurred, with the dark colours on the re­tain­ing walls bring­ing out the tex­tures of the sur­round­ing nat­u­ral fo­liage.

» A Grammy award-win­ning mu­sic pro­ducer and a best-sell­ing writer made the move with their young chil­dren from their na­tive Nor­way to Rus­tic Canyon, LA. » Their choice of home was mo­ti­vated by one thing, the de­sire to fully em­brace the Cal­i­for­nian lifestyle. » A mid­cen­tury Mod­ern post-and-beam house built in 1962 was the stylis­tic foun­da­tion, and they asked Pamela Shamshiri to make it their own by de­sign­ing an easy‚liv­ing home that made the most of the out­door area and ex­tra­or­di­nary gar­den set­ting.

And while the work in­volved for the ex­te­rior re­build may have been pro­por­tion­ately greater, the sub­tlety of the in­te­rior work had to care­fully com­ple­ment it.

In­side, the hard-wear­ing ter­ra­cotta and con­crete oors were al­ready in place and con­formed to the ca­sual schema. Pamela re­in­forced this by choos­ing leather on the couches, and solid wood and sturdy mar­ble low tables in the liv­ing room – ma­te­ri­als renowned for their time­less durability.

“This cou­ple is al­ways en­ter­tain­ing so a large ta­ble was es­sen­tial,” she says. Like the ex­posed tim­bers in the home’s struc­ture, the ta­ble wears its his­tory and as such ts the ar­chi­tec­ture, as do the vin­tage chairs from Copen­hagen, a stylishly sub­tle link to the fam­ily’s Scan­di­na­vian her­itage, which points to an­other idea close to Pamela’s heart.

“I love the idea of ‘in­te­rior as por­trai­ture’. We are telling a story of a par­tic­u­lar piece of ar­chi­tec­ture, what city it’s lo­cated in, what point of his­tory it was built in and who is liv­ing here now. There are all these lay­ers that should, in the end, re­veal a kind of story. I think a lot of in­te­rior de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture tends to lose these val­ues and, there­fore, the chance to sup­port these kinds of emo­tional ex­changes,” she says.

“My clients wanted a house that fa­cil­i­tated the in­door/out­door lifestyle that this city is known for. Do­ing that without sub­scrib­ing to a trend or some­thing that’s new is hard to do well. But I al­ways hope that my home projects come out time­less and clas­sic, and that they have their own points of view rather than rep­re­sent­ing a strict place and cer­tain time.” #

For more go to stu­dioshamshiri.com.

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