Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jayna Cooper | La Brea Avenue Residence | Los Angeles, California

"It all started when Cooper’s boss and mentor, David Gray, FAIA, of David Lawrence Gray Architects, gave her the task of researching real estate to find properties that might be a fit for the development side of his firm. She found a 2,300-square-foot lot half way between Los Angeles and Santa Monica for $225,000, and though it wasn’t right for the firm, she couldn’t stop thinking about it. “I thought that it must be an error,” she says. “Nothing in LA is this cheap, even on a busy street right off the I-10 and a few blocks away from South Central.” It turns out there was no error. Cooper’s offer was accepted, but complications soon unfolded, leaving Cooper in escrow for a year, as the owner tried to force her to walk away from the deal. As evidence of her character, Cooper hung on. “I said no way am I going to let anyone bully me out of this. I waited it out, and during that year I designed about 20 houses for the lot.” The lot was finally hers, but the design she decided on—a renovation of the existing bungalow with two more detached structures—was rejected by the city. “They wanted me to connect the roofs and I wouldn’t do it,” she says. Cooper decided she couldn’t fight City Hall, and went back to the drawing board." more at ARecord

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