The extensive courtyards, balconies, fountains and stairways throughout 7 Fountains of West Hollywood are covered in high-fired terra cotta tile, making waterproofing a primary concern. All substrates were prepared with RedGard Waterproofing and Anti-Fracture Membrane from Custom Building Products to prevent leaks.

All terra cotta tile and solid colored ceramic tile was manufactured specifically for 7 Fountains by Western Quarry Tile in Monrovia, Calif. The company also produced the bisques that were used as a base for the custom hand-painted tile used for murals and accents throughout the complex.
Down a quiet side street, just half a block off the fabled Sunset Strip, there is an apartment complex that appears, at first and even second glance, to be a perfectly maintained vestige from Hollywood's early days. Though its white stucco walls glimmer and its warm terra cotta tiles are pristine, 7 Fountains could easily pass for a building entering its eighth decade. After all, none of its neighbors on North Harper Street in West Hollywood were built after 1950. That is precisely how the owner, Boyd Willat, and his team of architects and designers envisioned 7 Fountains from the very start.

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.

High-fired terra cotta tile, accented with hand-painted ceramic dots, completes the authentic Spanish style.
Because of the exposed patios, balconies and stairways, Lefevre's primary concern was eliminating the possibility of leaks, a problem inherent in this type of design. "Our biggest construction challenge was the prevention of leaks, which are so typical of this open Spanish style. Adding to our concern, we have fountains throughout, and an automatic watering system that reaches each balcony, increasing our risk of leaks. We looked and looked and looked for a waterproofing solution that we could have confidence in," said Lefevre. "We needed something effective that we could install beneath the tile, and that a manufacturer would protect with a serious warranty."

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.

Asymmetrical architecture leads to delightful surprises around every corner. Ceramic murals were custom designed for the property, and hand-painted and fired by Malibu Ceramics of Los Angeles.
Next, RedGard was applied by roller to the prepared substrates in two perpendicular coats and allowed to dry to its trademark red finish to seal against leaks. Terra cotta and ceramic tiles were set using MasterBlend Standard Thin-Set Mortar mixed with CustomFlex Ultra-Strength Thin-Set Additive for flexibility and added bond strength. After appropriate curing time, the installers grouted the terra cotta tiles using Saltillo Grout Mix. For ceramic tile installations in the fountains, stair facings and wall details, Polyblend non-sanded grout was used.

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.

All tile was installed using material from Custom Building Products. The company’s tile installation system protects the project with a 20-year warranty.
Ground broke in 2000 for 7 Fountains, and the project was completed in 2002. An elegant residential development designed for working professionals, each spacious dwelling includes a home office with separate entrance and wiring for virtually every technology need. Common areas are tranquil courtyards with vibrant design elements such as a patio fireplace, fountains and lush landscaping. The property covers 35,000 square feet on North Harper Street in West Hollywood, and is home to 20 apartments. In 2002, 7 Fountains earned the prestigious Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism.

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