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Sound Advice Custom Home Installation

July 10, 2009 By Louse Farr

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Sound Advice Custom Home Installation
Architect Becker reoriented the master bedroom to face the private garden. A Sony 42-inch television sits on teak shelving, accompanied by a Sony DVD player and Epos M12.2 bookshelf speakers.
The Pilates room is outfitted with a pair of Case Study daybeds from Modernica; the Pratfall lounge chair is a Philippe Starck creation for Driade.
The Fritz Hansen PK58 dining table is crafted of flame-textured white marble with removable open-pore maple panels. The mohair wing chair is from Moroso’s Big Mama line.
According to Japanese bathing rituals, one is supposed to sit on a stool and wash with a bucket of water before entering the tub. Water spillage drains into a specially designed channel.
Sound Advice Custom Home Installation
Noted Santa Barbara landscape designer Eric Nagelmann created the home’s lush exterior plantings.

When an architecturally significant 1950s house in Santa Barbara is revamped, audio triumphs over video.

On the outside, this steel-and-glass 1950s home, designed by architect Thornton Ladd, oozes the mid-century modern look its architect is so known for.

The 21st century technology inside, however, creates the perfect juxtaposition.

Sound Advice Custom Home Installation

“They loved that Spanish house,” says architect Peter Becker of the owner's previous home. Becker led the Ladd house remodel and worked early in his career with Frank Gehry and Charles Moore. “But [the homeowners’] hearts had always been in contemporary architecture.”

Although Ladd lived not far away, the man best known for his 1960s design of Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum did not wish to be involved in the renovation of the Santa Barbara home he designed so many years ago.

The owners can relax outside their bedroom on rattan Indonesian chairs. Still, says Becker, “Our goal was to make it look as if Thornton Ladd had come back.”

That entailed maintaining Ladd’s vision while restoring and expanding work that had deteriorated and been tampered with by previous owners.

“The house looked perfect but needed more work structurally than first envisioned,” Becker says.

While the remodel dragged on, tempers, thankfully, did not fray. Instead, the opposite happened as the homeowners and the design team delved deeper into research. “Everyone got more and more excited about the house as we went along,” Becker says.

“The question was, ‘Are we trying to restore what was there in 1957, or create what is cutting-edge now?’ It ended up a lovely mix.”

Years before, interior designer Randy Franks worked with the couple on their Spanish house, and more recently with Becker on other projects.

Architect Becker reoriented the master bedroom to face the private garden. A Sony 42-inch television sits on teak shelving, accompanied by a Sony DVD player and Epos M12.2 bookshelf speakers.

Most clients, Franks believes, would have abandoned such an extensive revamp due to complications and mounting expense. “Instead, they looked on it as restoring a work of art,” Franks says. Becker discovered that many of the home’s walls had to be replaced due to water damage.

While most of the original high-quality, steel-framed sliding doors and windows were reused, the majority of doors and windows from later additions were replaced.

Bids to reproduce those original steel-frame windows and doors alone came in at a swoon-inducing $400,000 each.

The kitchen cabinetry is from the Italian firm Valcucine. The plastic door panels illuminate “like a work of art,” Franks says. The green leather seating is by Montis, and the table is by Knoll.While this revelation brought the renovation project to a screeching halt, the husband became a man on a mission: He found an artisan in L.A. who had made doors for Richard Neutra and for the Case Study houses—maybe even for Thornton Ladd.

The bad news: The man was ready to retire.

“We twisted his arm,” says Franks. Adds Becker, “This was his swan song, and he gave identical 1950s quality.” In addition, the artisan’s quote came very close to 1950s prices.

The doors were not the only problem, however. In a stupefying design move, a previous owner had covered some of the exterior walkway’s stunning green terrazzo flooring walls had to be replaced due to water damage.


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