Frank Lloyd Wright
Case Study: Hollywood Hills Residence
When Patrushkha Mierzwa renovated her 1909 Mt. Washington bathroom, she paid homage to her home’s Frank Lloyd Wright prairie-style influences. Mierzwa had already remodeled most of the house and gardens with this in mind. Wright’s beliefs are practically sacred: Employ solid construction and craftsmanship; use strong horizontal lines and overhanging eaves; apply natural materials from the area; and add interesting geometric designs.
A purveyor of open-space planning, Wright dispensed with the claustrophobic Victorian rooms of his day. Instead, he believed in creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. He achieved this with cantilevered porches and large windows that brought in daylight and ventilation.
Meirzwa knew how to honor Wright: She installed a NanaWall system in her bathroom.
“If it were anybody else's house, it would be weird to make one's bathroom the highlight of a house tour, but the NanaWall windows take everyone’s breath away.”
The renovation wasn’t as simple as removing a fixed window. “Our historic home had a screened-in porch that ran along the back of the second story,” Meirzwa states. “It had a nice view, but because it was behind the stucco back wall of our small bathroom, we only used it for storage. Without changing the exterior of the house, I used NanaWall operable glass walls to fit the existing screen openings and extended the master bath to the new windows.”
Design Options to Suit Variant Architectural Styles
Because the house was old, the openings were not standard. The SL45, with its options and styles, solved this problem. Accordingly, Meirzwa never seriously considered other glass operable walls. “I felt the NanaWalls were a good match to fit the nonstandard openings and the existing casement windows,” she elaborates. “My exterior house trim color is a dark gray-black-brown – and the Nana color option matched perfectly!”
Feeling connected in this way to the beautiful environs of Mount Washington was important to Meirzwa and her family. “No matter what we’re doing, from every vantage point in the house we are able to feel the shifting breezes, listen to the falling raindrops, and admire the ever-changing colors in the sky,” she says.
After the renovation, the room became her favorite in the house. “If it were anybody else's house, it would be weird to make one's bathroom the highlight of a house tour, but the NanaWall windows take everyone’s breath away,” she says. The opening affords an exceptional view of the canyons, drives and the skyline of Southern California.
The house was built by the Milwaukee Building Company (later famous for designing Paramount Studios and Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian Theaters). Frank Lloyd Wright’s influences are obvious – a local architect who had studied directly under Wright at Taliesin did some of the work.
The Nanawall System Complements Rather Than Competes
With this in mind, Meirzwa had two design goals: “Keep true to the historic existing elements, and interpret a Wrightian feel.” She also chose sparse hardware and monochrome tiles, adding, “I wanted the bathroom to be serene and unadorned, with a respectful nod to Wright and the Orient. The materials I chose had to be simple, straightforward, and honest. In that room, the view is the focal point so everything had to accessorize nature; and Nanawalls support, rather than compete, with that.”
The SL45 is a standard aluminum folding- or paired-panel system. This top-hung system is easy to clean and operate and provides effective sealing and insulating properties. Now Meirzwa and her family have an increased connection to a property that abuts a 37-acre federally protected conservation. Oaks, ponderosa and eucalyptus trees provide shelter for owls, ravens, hawks and coyotes – and inspiration for her family – on a daily basis.