Just before daybreak, on the otherwise unremarkable morning of January 17, 1994, a major earthquake hit Los Angeles. It shook me out of my bed and literally rearranged my design world. Within hours my wife and I were at a Santa Monica apartment helping to upright a friend’s jumbled apartment home. Within weeks, I was traveling around the greater metropolitan area strategizing on how to help distressed clients and friends with the enormous aftermath of it all.
One morning my intern, Adam Wheeler, the son of award-winning photographer Nick Wheeler, mentioned that a friend of his dad’s had literally had his entire house come unhinged from its foundation and could I help? Intrigued, I said yes, and asked who might be the friend in need.
It was America’s travel guru and best-selling author Peter Greenberg.
RESORT SUITE HOME
From the moment we first met, Peter and I shared a mutuality of inspiration. He saw every travel artifact as a potential piece of the design puzzle. I saw the way he lived as creating a style for those artifacts and for his life. Together the experiences of his extensive travels became the design that served his way of living.
In a story that will unfold in periodic postings on these pages, I hope to relate in a meaningful way how he and I turned his travel experiences into visions of his lifestyle in a newly re-designed home. Eventually, elements of 47 different hotels he had stayed in became parts of that home that would rise Phoenix-like from the San Fernando Valley floor in suburban Los Angeles.
More than being just artifacts from far away places, they began to organize into a philosophy with a cohesive theme. Each room, each niche, each window seat was destined to be woven into this new design for living. I have christened it Resort Suite Home (and sometimes Home Suite Home). It means the same thing: all that one could imagine luxuriating in at a far away resort, we as architect and client together could weave into a home.
It is at once a concept both simple and complex. The complexity comes from each client’s unique life; some that are Kitchen centric, some that revolve around a Master Suite, others that depend on an indoor-outdoor flow of experiences. However, at its simplest, it really means “experience design”- in everything. That is the wellhead that came together with Peter Greenberg, the house as resort.
Out of the rumblings of that 1994 earthquake, the jumbled lifestyle design of the “inner vacation” I had long pondered had birthed its theme.