Terra Cotta and Ceramic Tile Bring Old Hollywood Elegance Back to the Sunset Strip
The project, completed in 2002, was built on a historic piece of land handed down in Willat's family and is a rare modern example of authentic Spanish-style architecture. Designed around a series of courtyards, 7 Fountains has a complete absence of symmetry that gives it an unmistakable sense of spontaneity and charm. This asymmetrical layout is a hallmark of true Spanish style, with extensive tile throughout. Exterior stairways, open spaces, private balconies and patios are all covered with high-fired terra cotta tile that extends into living areas. Occasional hand-painted ceramic tile accents carry out the traditional Spanish tone. Of course, there are also seven distinctive fountains throughout the complex, each featuring unique designs that add to the charm and elegance of the project.
To bring his vision of an open, upscale Spanish village to life, Willat hired Stephanos Polyzoides of Moule & Polyzoides Architects and Urbanists to help lead the design effort. Tim Lefevre of Lefevre Corporation served as fee developer and general contractor for the project. Together, this team created 7 Fountains with a delicate balance of authentic architectural design integrity and modern technology and convenience.
Recognizing immediately that tile would be a focal point, and that the open style of the project would present several challenges for the tile installation, Polyzoides hired David Carlat to serve as "tile consultant" on the project. Carlat's role was to analyze both the owner's vision for the building and the architect's plans, then work with Lefevre to make recommendations and ensure that the tile installation would meet the demands of the project and the exceptional standards of the team.
Together, Lefevre and Carlat tested numerous waterproofing products and systems on the market, ultimately settling on RedGard Anti-Fracture and Waterproofing Membrane from Custom Building Products of Seal Beach, Calif. "RedGard was absolutely unmatched in our tests," said Lefevre. "We knew this was our answer."
Furthermore, Lefevre was impressed with the manufacturer's 20-year system warranty that guarantees installations against failure. "We used the entire Custom system, from RedGard to backerboards and thin-set mortars and grout. We even sealed it with SurfaceGard Penetrating Sealer. We have great peace of mind knowing the decks will never crack or spring a leak, and that we're protected with a 20-year warranty."
When it came time to install the tile, all substrates were prepared using LevelQuik Rapid Setting Self-Leveling, after initially priming with LevelQuik Latex Primer.
All tile for 7 Fountains was designed and crafted specifically for the project, and David Carlat worked directly with the manufacturers and the tile contractor, Coastal Tile of Los Angeles. Western Quarry Tile of Monrovia, Calif. manufactured the 12-by-12 inch high-fired terra cotta that covers every courtyard, walkway, balcony, patio and stairway, as well as all solid colored ceramic tile and the bisques that served as the base for the hand-painted ceramic tile accents. Malibu Ceramics, of Malibu, Calif., hand-painted and fired the 2-inch ceramic tiles used as dots with the terra cotta in some areas, and the 3-inch tiles used on the stairways, walls and fountain murals to give the property a rich, traditional feel.
Owner: Boyd Willat, Angels Landing LLC, Los Angeles, CA
Architect: Stefanos Polyzoides, Moule & Polyzoides Architects and Urbanists, Los Angeles, CA
Fee Developer & General Contractor: Tim Lefevre, Lefevre Corporation, Los Angeles, CA
Tile Consultant: David Carlat, Los Angeles, CA
Tile Contractor: Coastal Tile, Los Angeles, CA
Tile Manufacturers & Distributor: Western Quarry Tile, Monrovia, CA; Malibu Ceramics, Los Angeles, CA
Tile Installation Products Manufacturer: Custom Building Products, Seal Beach, CA