The Renard Residence, 2003
Of the premier properties in the Hollywood Hills, few benefit from the spiritual gifts of the native hillside environment. Most of even the costliest properties such as those found on the "Bird Streets" are flat pads artificially cut out of the slope, and arrayed cheek by jowl to capture a commanding view. These properties follow the Western Tradition reflecting man's desire for power and control over nature. For the most part, the romantic California ideal of the house set within the garden is lost. In contrast, the Renard Residence follows the Eastern Tradition of living within nature not apart. Every element of the architecture is informed by the surrounding two acres of botanical gardens, native chaparral, and the view through Nichols Canyon across the city. The magic and mystery of the two+ acre site is pervasive.
But this is not to diminish the quiet power of the architecture. Here is a residence steeped in the classic post and beam tradition, yet so carefully executed utilizing materials and technologies refined over two generations one is not overly bold proclaiming it a new icon of the "California Lifestyle."
When Julius Renard first came to the property he found a residence designed by the architect Richard Dorman which had suffered alterations and significant deferred maintenance since its construction in 1959. Initially, with its good spatial aspects, light, and plan, restoration was contemplated and commenced. It is usually dangerous to try to improve on an architect's vision, yet over years, and with major input from architects associated with the project, the residence was rebuilt, built again, and continually refined. When you experience the residence we think you will agree the end justifies the means. The main living space is now configured for open plan living incorporating the master bedroom, music room/library and two baths. An additional two bedrooms and a bath are located beyond the pool at the opposite side of the courtyard in the guesthouse/studio.