As in-house architect for the Wolfgang Puck Food Company, Stephen Francis Jones established one of Southern California’s most iconic brands. He founded his own firm in 1996 and was immediately hired by Puck to develop the fine dining ambiance at Spago Beverly Hills, this project led to the design of Wolfgang Puck restaurants worldwide. Fluent in Spanish with Colombian roots, Jones has a fresh perspective on what makes a social space a memorable experience and he seeks to realize each client’s distinctive vision by interpreting and enhancing their concepts. From casual to high end dining, he creates uniquely inviting settings and has expanded his services to include a medical treatment office to rebuilding homes in Santa Rosa after the fire. Here Stephen Francis Jones shares one of his recent projects with The LuxPad…
5,260 Sf plus a detached garage and sun room
Project Time Taken:
This project started in 2015 as a three phase remodel. The owners originally lived in Nairobi, Kenya and made this purchase as their future permanent residence after the sale of his company in Kenya was finalized. Each phase was constructed from September to May so that they could live there in the summer and return back to Kenya for the rest of the year as CEO of the Company. The duration of the project was 2 & 1/2 years.
Completion of Project:
The project was finally completed and the owners moved in May of 2017.
Located in the historical Coronado, California, this house was built in 1909 by master architect William Sterling Hebbard, the influential San Diego architect that designed noted civic and residential buildings during the late 1880s. The original house was a 5,260 sf residence with 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms with a guest house attached. The new owner, Kevin and Carolyn Ashley, relocated from Kenya after a successful development of an East African restaurant chain called Java House. They commissioned their architects who designed the African restaurants to update the entire interior and create a modern home with African influences without losing its century-old roots. The gracious entry remains unchanged, but elements such as opening up the stair case and removing some interior walls to create vistas between adjacent rooms created new spacial relationships that depart from the compartmentalized floor plan of the original design.
Creation / planning process
There was a special effort in understanding the period of the house and identifying what was original and what was added on later. Since there were not many photos of the interior, we had to do exploratory demolition and investigate under the floor crawl space to understand the timeline.
It was important to keep the exterior as original as possible so much consideration was taken not to move windows or exterior doors unless it could be justified.
How it went?
The majority of the project went smoothly. We had a very competent contractor who had his eye on making sure that things were done correctly and made good suggestions as problems arose. Since the owners were on the other side of the world, they relied on us to describe situations and make decisions. We would send photos and material samples to Kenya for approvals.
Favorite room / part of the project and why?
My favorite room is the kitchen/family/casual dining room. The original layout was so compartmentalized that you were always only in one space at a time without much interface with people in the other rooms. The way that the spaces were opened up allows a visual connection between the spaces without taking away from the individuality of each space. It is most rewarding to see how the owners use the space and them telling us about their favorite part.
Any issues / problems you had to overcome during the project?
The main issue had to do with the structural integrity of the house. Being over 100 years old floors sagged and there was a lot of work required to straighten them out. We couldn’t just add a self leveling floor because of the added load it would put on the structure. Fortunately the main structural design was based on a post and beam grid in the center of the house that encircled the stairway so we were able to strengthen that and lift floors back to level.