Who would have thought one word would change everything? Raphael and I are sitting in LAX, awaiting our flight to PV. You may remember that Raphael Bertolus is a general contractor/creative guru to very, very, very high end residences in Los Angeles and he’s volunteered to lend some creative insight to our project. I’m incredibly grateful for his offer of help, but as we sit awaiting our plane, I don’t want to put too much pressure on him as the design ship has clearly left the dock (Isidro is building La Corona faster than anyone could imagine, so how much help can Raphael lend at this late stage?).
“I’ve been giving this some thought,” says he in that ohh-soo-smooth French accent. Good, I’m thinking. Hear him out. We’ve got some time to spare. I like his initiative, but really what can we change at this stage? “I don’t like two things. First, there’s no way to get to the second floor without getting wet. It doesn’t work. And I don’t like the fact that you have a bathroom next to the kitchen.” Ya, I agree, but a couple of bright minds have been thinking about this and no one’s come up with a better way.
“You need an elevator.” A what! All circuits are blinking red now. Geez, I’ll be pulling on the Oars of Commerce until I’m 80 to pay for this… Quicker than you can say, “What the F are you talking about!? Raphael pulls out Jaime’s (our new Mexican architect) design plans, which he has comprehensively redrawn (in the one day he’s had them), and lays out a new design to the back end of the house that does in fact solve the problems. To loosen up the frontal lobes, he starts with…”I think the Man Cave should be bigger. Make the downstairs kitchen smaller…” Well now, maybe there’s something to this new design?
An hour later when we board the plane, I know this is going to be a very expensive trip. While there are still some big hurdles to get over (like getting La Jefa to say yes), Raphael’s design is simply brilliant. Elegant, functional and very, very creative.
That night and the following day, Raphael works through every detail of the new design with KR, Jaime and Isidro. I’ve worked with creative folks my entire life and know when I’m in the presence of genius; he’s brilliant and a master at”selling” the concept to all parties concerned. By the time we get on the plane back to LA a day and a half later, we have a cohesive creative design that everyone’s bought into. Including me, provided I only have to work until 70 to pay for Raphael’s Vision. Key elements of the current design:
- Everything’s still based on Chuck’s original Ahh-Haa idea of putting a garage/man cave on the ground floor and our bedroom and pool on the third floor. The design drawn on a cocktail napkin at Little Big Sur still holds up.
- We will have an elevator where the old bodega was. It will go up three floors.
- We’ve torn down my old office and expanded the living room instead. Next to the elevator is the new bathroom
- On top of the expanded living room will be Karen’s new studio (third floor) and secret garden (fourth floor). Both are accessed via a bridge from the main part of the house
- I will get an office in my Man Cave.
- Ground floor will now have two guest bedrooms, two guest bathrooms, a guest living room and kitchen. The washer and dryer will still be on that floor for those guests who want to help out. Primary feature is my Man Cave with separate office.
- Second floor will have an enlarged living room, dining room, kitchen, the world’s largest pantry, and the pool room (under the pool). And the guest bathroom next to the elevator.
- Third floor will have the master suite, patios,pool, pool bathroom and KR’s studio across the bridge.
- Fourth floor will have the observation deck, outdoor kitchen and access to the “secret garden”.
- The creative concept for the entire house will evolve as you go up. The ground floor will keep all of the original 100 year old adobe’s design feel and surfaces. As you go up, it becomes a mixture of old/new. By the time you’re on the observation deck, its very modern.
The net of all of this is that the new team is going fast forward on a terrific design. Isidro is pounding the calculator hard figuring out how long I have to pull on the Oars of Commerce to pay for this. Jaime and Karen are working on the interior details.
After the initial design session, KR and Lilly flew to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks. We then flew back to PV to check on how its progressing. The going forward plan is for KR to stay down in PV until La Corona is finished and for me to fly down as often as I can to help out (i.e., write the checks).
Back on the factory floor
For those of you wondering how things are going on the build-LA-into-a-cleantech-center-of-the-world front, here’s the link to the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s blog: http://laincubator.org/blog/.
I’ve got to get back to the Oars.