By Christy Scannell
SDUN Senior Editor
A North Park bungalow and a Park West condominium will be two of the five homes on the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers’ tour, July 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This first-ever ASID-hosted tour will focus on the “Interior Experience,” combining design, art, fashion and culture. Members of the design teams will be at each location to discuss design challenges and solutions and answer questions. The self-guided tour is open to the public.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to visit and absorb the ambiance of unique spaces that reflect the lifestyles of some very special people,” said Lynn Wyndham Morris, an Allied Member of ASID and chair of the event. “Property owners include a notable restaurateur, prominent architect, savvy art collectors and two talented interior designers.”
Interior designer John Mills Davies designed and owns the North Park bungalow on the tour. He bought the Thorn Street home 10 years ago but later found the existing structure, on a compact 50-by-52-foot lot, to be unsalvageable.
“It was really a problem house,” he said.
After battling city zoning requirements for three years, he finally demolished the house and began the rebuild in the same footprint as the original house, a 1906 “shotgun cottage,” with an emphasis on sustainability and recycling.
“The house has an absolutely tight exterior envelope,” he said. “There is no air penetration and it is extremely over-insulated.”
Instead of installing air conditioning, Davies, who has degrees in architecture and design, studied wind patterns across the lot. He then installed clerestory windows and operable skylights in the top of the home.
“I can adjust [the skylights] so a prevailing breeze evacuates heat from the house,” he said. “And then I can reverse the process in winter. I can run the heat for 5 minutes in the morning and the house stays warm all day.”
The newly built house has 1000 square feet on the first level and a 450-square-foot loft. Davies said he designed 10-foot ceilings to make the space feel larger.
Continuing the sustainability theme, the home includes a kitchen island made of Vetrazzo, a recycled combination of Amstel Light and Heineken beer bottles, with Skyy Vodka bottle glass and windshield glass added for accent color.
“It’s just beautiful, very gem like,” he said. “The colors in the house include lots of ambers, so it just fits right in.”
Although Davies said he had no choice but to demolish the original structure on his property, he advises homeowners to consider their particular house’s history before even attempting a simple remodel.
“A background in architecture is vital,” he said about choosing someone to oversee an older home’s renovations. “There are a lot of people who would do bad things to good houses and I think the key is having some vision and being able to see what the original intent was and what’s good about the house. There are so many of these older homes that people have really screwed up. You want to be able to walk in and see the bones and really be able to enunciate the good things about the architecture of the house.”
The Park Laurel high-rise overlooking Balboa Park was the site of a two-year design and install Kellie McCormick completed for Bast/Wright Interiors, based in Hillcrest.
“One of the interesting things about the project is [the owners] were able to purchase another unit during construction of the second building and combine them, which no one else has done,” McCormick said.
The result is a 5,825-square-foot condo with views of the park, city and Coronado Bridge from its 11th floor location. The homeowners requested a WWII New York penthouse style with a soft color palette and ample space for their art collection. To both create the drama the owners sought plus provide a connecting space for the two units, McCormick designed a long gallery that has display areas of various sizes for artwork accented by flexible lighting that can be changed as artwork is rotated.
McCormick situated the public spaces to take advantage of the views.
“One of the best things about the space was in every room on the park side, the [California Building tower] centers in the window,” she said. “In part of the living room and sitting room you can watch planes come in, and you can see the bridge and the Pacific from other places.”
Although the condo is mostly neutral with marble floors, the study is a departure with warm sepele wood paneling and shelving. Meanwhile, a guest suite takes on grays and playful wallpaper, which McCormick said was intentional so guests would feel they were “in a different zone” from the other parts of the home.
McCormick said the condo involved a lot of details and a meticulous search for the right design elements but both she and the homeowners are happy with the outcome.
“I think it was a very successful project,” she said. “The clients were open-minded and we worked well as a team.”
Other stops on the tour include a downtown condo, a downtown loft, a Scripps Ranch residence and the 50,000 square-foot Cornerstone Church in National City, which was created from a classic movie theater.
Individual tour tickets are $30 each; discounted group tickets are available. A portion of the proceeds will benefit YWCA’s Becky’s House, a long-term transitional housing community for victims of domestic violence and their children. For more information, call the ASID Information Line at (858) 646-9896 or go to ASIDSanDiego.org.