“We think of onefinestay as the ultimate boutique hotel,” says co-founder Evan Frank, “a boutique hotel of one!” Similar to an upscale AirBnB, onefinestay is a sort of ‘un-hotel’ where travelers can rent a local’s home in New York, London or Paris during their business trip, getaway or vacation. The service curates distinctive homes that provide a resort-like atmosphere and includes fine details such as fresh linens and good eats from popular restaurants. Travelers are even provided use of an iPhone pre-loaded with insider info about things to do and places to eat in the area. “In our newly nomadic culture,” Frank says, “More people can live anywhere and work from anywhere, and have a local experience.” And now they can have that experience in Los Angeles where, on Tuesday night, the company hosted an intimate dinner to celebrate the launch, at the astonishing modernist home of architect David Hertz in the walk streets of Venice. We stopped by the soiree and had an opportunity to talk with the esteemed architect/host about design, his famous home, and about the way we live now.
The whole world really is our oyster these days and people are traveling, of course, more and farther than ever. But still we have this tradition of building beautiful home living spaces in which to nest. Does the more nomadic movement of people, and the more communal use of properties, change the way you design?
I think we are entering more of a shared economic model where individual possessions can be enjoyed by others, especially when not being fully utilized. A house in not a home, a home is a very important space for restoration and retreat, in an age where travel is made more efficient and abundant, having your own personal space to “come home to” is even more important. Designing for this will inform the way we design our residences. We use our home often for locations and for public events, so we designed it with this in mind. The original concept was based upon traditional Balinese residential compounds, where different structures are used for both public and communal uses.
It must be a bit of a trip to have a house you’ve done become so famously associated with and well documented on a TV show. In a way Californication is like the best walking tour of a site possible. They really romanticized that house. And it is perfectly suited for romanticization. That’s your personal home, right? Were you on set helping them get the best angles?
In some ways the Californication series represented Art imitating life, in our home, (but in a more G rated fashion) since the filming took over our home for 2 years. We lived in a partially dressed set with photos of the cast mixed with our own. I did not specifically direct or suggest any camera angles but in as much as I set up the architecture, I indirectly did.
The 747 house is incredible (I also particularly love the glassy, Cliff May-like house in Calabasas) and, I think, a quintessentially Angeleno house—using repurposed materials, and blurring the indoor/outdoor distinction. And, you are an LA guy (UCLA and SCI-ARC), and like Oliver Peoples you come out of that school of Cali modernism. Where do you feel like you fit into that tradition?
I grew up in Malibu and Westwood and have lived in Venice for over 35 years. I grew up skating and surfing in the era of Dog Town in the 70’s and still have my office right off the Venice Breakwater. The surf and skate culture influenced California design and subsequently the world. For several years I worked for architect John Lautner, who was in my opinion the quintessential iconoclastic Los Angeles Architect. I then worked with Frank Gehry before opening my own firm in 1984. In lineage I am generally seen as the next generation after Lautner and Gehry. Their influence played a strong role in my work, as well as the work of my teachers at Sci-Arc Ray Kappe, and Morphosis in particular. Of course I had a particular affinity for Neutra and specifically Schindler’s work as well. I have worked on the restoration of several Case Study period homes and feel a kinship with all of the California modernist tradition.