Liz and Billy called us and said, "We have a big project. We're looking for an artist." At first we weren't sure what they meant. We don't get called "artists" every day.
Their home is in a nice neighborhood on a spacious lot. Their particular home is a remodeled pair of artist/writer bungalow's connected at the front with a deck between out back. There's a two car garage opening onto an alley.
Their style is eclectic and classy. The Gucci edition Fiat 500 in the garage goes nicely with the patio umbrella made of cheerleader pom-pom material. The south wall sparkles at sunset from the glitter Liz put in the paint, and the north wall is a mural of acclaimed muralist Morley on a ladder painting a mural (so meta), which reads, "I love you enough to pick you up from the airport." If you've ever lived in Los Angeles (or visited) you know that getting to and from the airport, you're on your own.
So, that's love!
At first Liz and Billy just wanted a four-foot fence and entry gate across the front of the property as well as running down the northern property line to an existing gate at the house. However, when they saw the work we did in front, they asked about an eight-foot fence running along the north perimeter from the start of the house atop an existing retaining wall leading right to that awesome mural!
The front and side of the house are on a hill and the pattern they chose was horizontal so we tapered the top and bottom boards and it looks really stylish. We added trim across the top so passersby won't get splinters.
Soon after, they had us put wall extensions across the back property wall. It helps with privacy. They're considering getting rid of the bamboo and having us come back to design and build a pergola just for them. We're already thinking of ideas!
Next, they asked us to put in an angled entry gate with a lock. Angled gates are a little tough. You have to anchor them just right. Plus, the cinder block wall surrounding the gate had a three-quarter inch variation from the bottom. So we had to be careful to shape the boards so that all the lines look straight and even. It turned out really well.
Next we put the side-yard gates on. They're setting apart a moss-art garden in a fairly narrow walkway. We wanted them to be sturdy and still allow guests visibility into this space. (Liz likes to create pockets of mystery and adventure around the property. This area is serene and peaceful while expressive and creative.)
Finally, when the rest of the project was finished, we surveyed the entire property, it's look and feel from the curb, how it looks at sunrise and at sunset, and we got to designing. We knew we wanted a signature piece. The entry gate sets the tone for every guest's experience. Liz and Billy like unique and memorable while possibly subconscious design so it couldn't be flashy or over the top.
It had to be special to them. We went with the design you see in the slide-show below. It has three staggered plexiglass panels which float in the wood planks from the front and light up when the sun is behind them. We chose a blue that would pop for the top and bottom panels and white to center it up. These gates get comments nearly every day from neighbors and people driving by.
Several times we had delays on this job. Some were due to rain, others just normal things that come up on a job, and even a few operator errors. Liz and Billy rolled with it all. They are clearly no strangers to contractors. They told us over and over, "You're the artist. You create. I appreciate." And it wasn't just words.
They had ideas and were open to exploring. When I got excited about something it always fit with what they wanted. They were gracious to our team, even joining us for lunch more than once. I remember feeling like I would do anything for these two, just because they're so great. Their communication was so clean and open-minded. They were flexible but not pushovers.
I think the saddest thing for me when we finish a house is that we rarely see our customers again. Unless they need us to build something new or do refinish work, our fences and gates are solid so we have to say good-bye.
I would work with them again on anything in a heartbeat. Special thanks to them both for being good sports and allowing us to share their story. If you see design ideas in here that you like, be sure to pin them. We have lots more design ideas on our profile at houzz and on our facebook page.
If you have a project you'd like featured on our site, book an appointment and we'll drop by.