LA Modernism: Sophie Goineau Restores Historic Midcentury House in Beverly Hills
LA Modernism: Sophie Goineau Restores Historic Midcentury Home in Beverly Hills
Interior Designer Sophie Goineau has recently completed the restoration of the historic MCM Alfred Wilkes House on Cove Way Drive in Beverly Hills. Giving new life to a residential icon in Los Angeles, the project was completed after two years of uninterrupted restoration throughout the pandemic. Revisiting themes from the great modernists Richard Neutra, Harold Levitt and Mies van der Rohe, Goineau leaned into the dual configurations of straight lines and curvilinear shapes throughout the 5,000 square foot 4-bedroom.
Sophie Goineau is the founder and principal interior designer of her eponymous design firm in Los Angeles, Sophie Goineau Design. Goineau and her team of designers specialize in evocative experiences, spaces, and objects. Centered around the holistic approach of the Bauhaus, the studio seeks to blur the boundaries between art and living to create layered aesthetics. Goineau, alongside Scott Strumwasser and Tash Rahbar, principals of Los Angeles-based firm, Enclosures Architects, collaborated to conceive every detail while preserving the integrity of the original home.
Goineau references her inspiration for materials as drawn from the Modernist icons inherent to the project, as well as her study of the philosophical elements of design. “It is a belief that there is a soul in every simple thing, the concept that hard materials are also living. It teaches me to address the way we treat matter and make choices. This is all part of the design process.” From the entry and throughout, the millwork is produced in woods indigenous to the US wherever possible; the inlaid ceiling, wall partitions and stacked door frames are teak, including the Art Wall tiles in the powder room, handmade from Mosarte in Brazil. The wall paneling, fluted bar, doors, closets, vanities and kitchen are custom designed in walnut. Bespoke brass hardware handles on the main entry doors echo a half moon motif on every pull and closure throughout.
The dual-sided fireplace, from the living room to the library, is built from Kolumba clay bricks handmade in Denmark by Petersen Tegl and designed in collaboration with architect Peter Zumthor, also used at the Kolumba Museum in Germany and the Royal Danish Playhouse in Copenhagen. The home’s original carpet flooring was re-laid in terrazzo, inlaid with brass inserts and cream Calacatta stone, inspired by architecture icon Alexander Girard’s textile prints designed for Charles and Ray Eames, replete with Minotti and Henge furnishings.
©Michael Clifford©Michael Clifford
Novacolor’s Italian-made Lime Plaster Paint flows from the exterior facade to the indoor wall surfaces, also streamlining the master bath walls with their seamless coating, Wall2Floor, setting the stage for the custom designed bathtub carved in Spain from a single block of Pietro Grigio stone . The master bath fixtures are the by Cocoon collection by John Pawson, the acclaimed American architect recently known for designing the West Hollywood Edition with Ian Schrager, with Cocoon’s Piet Boon Dutch-designed fixtures in the secondary baths.
©Michael Clifford©Michael Clifford
In the secondary bedroom’s ensuite, circular shared bath, existing skylights expand to enhance the Japanese-made Yohen Border Tiles Ceramics in green, repeated in various shades in a second and third bath, as well as in the indoor/outdoor solarium, each space exploring its own individual niche.
No detail is left untouched in the MCM Alfred Wilkes House. As Goineau states, “These walls are objects, not just walls. Screen walls filter light, and every day the light changes, creating living experiences. They don’t block anything. They will always be entrouvert, or partially open. Like humans. ” Originally built in 1957, the home was reimagined through the restoration to pay respect to history by reinterpreting it, and in doing so, the design celebrates Los Angeles and its legacy of modernist housing projects.