In the Mount Washington neighborhood of LA, a 1955 MCM home gets a ryokan inspired renovation. (A ryokan is a Japanese inn, and the traditional style exemplifies a comfortable minimalism.)
Preserving MCM Features in the Ryokan Inspired Home
OWIU the Los Angeles-based architecture firm co-founded by Joel Wong and Amanda Gunawan renovated the home with a vision to retain as much of the original materials as possible. Amanda Gunawan describes the challenges of renovating with a strong preference towards preservation:
“Our biggest challenge was deciding what to preserve and what to simply replace. There were some elements of the original house that were so beautiful yet masked by the previous owner, such as the original flooring, which had a new floor layered on top with thick glue,” she says.Inflexion. The building and construction side is constantly learning from the design side and vice versa, and there were times it was hard to agree during the preservation process as saving certain elements was too tedious–or worse–a lost cause, but we knew we wanted to do it.”In some cases preserving original aspects made the construction much more tedious, but they stuck to it. Gunawan says, “We tried to save as much as we could, even if it meant our construction team had to put in extra hours and work to preserve a specific feature in lieu of simply replacing it. We have a very non-hierarchical relationship between OWIU and our design-build arm,
Some of OWIU’s favorite MCM features, Gunawan adds, are “the shape of the roof, the wall-to-wall windows, the row of little windows in the kitchen area, thin metal columns, and our open-floor plan, of the home are the open floor plan, wall-to-wall windows.” Other notable MCM features is the half wall of glass privacy blocks and the furniture, including a 1980s Six-Piece Modular Sofa by Vladimir Kagan, three Isamu Noguchi lamps, George Nelson pendants, and a 1980s Bernard Vuarnesson ‘Hexa’ coffee table.
The design vision for the home is one of calm and neutrality. Seamless transition from one space to another encourages a sense of harmony. With inspiration from ryokan’s ceremonial tea rooms, OWIU built an elevated platform outside the primary bedroom. The transition is nearly seamless and overlooks the surrounding hills. Neutrality, smooth transitions between spaces, and harmony between indoors and out are other overarching design elements that take their cues from a traditional ryokan design. White walls allow in plenty of natural light, and the walls as well as the flow from one to the next is smooth and uncluttered.
For more on OWIU Design, visit their website. For more Japanese design inspiration, see 6 Pieces for a Living Room with Japanese Modern Flair. And of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more Mid Century Modern inspiration!