Baldwin Park, CA
I first met Jim about 16 years ago. I was working at NBC at the time and several people there had worked with and spoke very highly of him. I was living in a small Spanish Colonial house in Sherman Oaks and hired him to help me expand it and add a second floor. I always remember how, to some of our initial meetings, along with his designs he brought several tabbed historical reference books, showing me examples of the details he had in mind so that when the project was complete, everyone would think it was all original, and that he had really done nothing. I always thought that was really an interesting approach: make it so great and take no credit. It was not about him, it was about the house.
The project went pretty smoothly. All remodeling projects have surprises, once demolition commences and you get to see what is really under there. Our project was no exception. Jim was always there to help work things out and make any last minute adjustments and to work with the contractor and the subs to ensure that the final outcome adhered to his original vision. He has a calm and easy-going demeanor that built good working relationships, not adversaries, with all of the workers and City officials. I believe this was a big factor in how smoothly our project went. He was a calm leader and never blamed anyone. He just created solutions.
We were very pleased with the finished house and were happy there for many years. After moving in, we began to realize and understand better how great and functional some of Jims design ideas that we talked about in the early phases of the project worked really well for our lifestyle.
About 5 years ago, we were interested in building a new and larger house high up in the Hollywood Hills. Of course, I called Jim again and he came out and met me and we discussed the project. He was pretty much the same nice guy from 10 years earlier. Calm, yet funny as ever! He seemed to have reservations and told me he wanted to do some research for a few days and get back with me. We met again the following week and he shared all of his research, including several existing easements that no else had bothered to tell us about. Basically, he told us all of the reasons to NOT buy this property and to look for another. Although we loved the lot, he was right, so we got out of the deal. He never charged us for any of his work.
So of course, when we found an even better property with even better views about a year later, called on him again. This new house is really a Mid-Century Modern inspired residence, and, like before, Jim amazed us with his designs, 3-d models, and piles of tabbed books of all of the best Los Angeles Mid-Century Modern architecture for inspiration. Like before, he carefully guided us through the process, including this time dealing with all of the complicated neighborhood politics and Homeowners Association meetings and the City of Los Angeles Mulholland Scenic Corridor processes. He and his staff were always attentive and usually responded to our requests with more than we asked for and far exceeded our expectations with their many creative design surprises.
He oversaw the construction as he did before: working with all of the tradesmen and inspectors and building consensus to work together. Our contractor, who was different this time, was very complimentary of Jim and said he and his staff were a real asset to this complicated project and that he really hopes to work with them again.
Jim and his team are currently working with us on completing the final interior design details such as furnishings and fabrics.
We built our dream house with Jim and cant imagine having done it any other way. We consider him a good friend and refer him with full confidence to all our friends that are building. We would never attempt any future building projects without him