LA-based design studio Laun takes inspiration from the Mid-Century style of the original building to create a new home for the WHH Foundation transforming a former artist’s studio into their new office
The mark that we leave on the world reflects the way we live our lives – and for pioneering Californian investor Bill Hurt, his legacy is one of philanthropy. The mission of the family-run William H. Hurt (WHH) Foundation is to “invest in human capital to make the world better”. It’s not only Bill’s memory that the foundation keeps alive, however. Following a recent renovation by LA-based design and architecture studio Laun, the WHH Foundation is now run from an intimate office in the former artist’s studio of Bill’s wife, Sally Hurt.
The 650-square-foot freestanding studio is set within the landscaped gardens of the Hurt family residence. The main home celebrates Mid-Century style, and while it was originally built in 1949 and received a major makeover and extension in the late 1980s by Californian modernist architect, Ron Yeo. The studio was added in 1995, alongside a greenhouse.
Rachel Bullock and Molly Purnell, co-founders of Laun, drew inspiration from the history of the building and its garden setting when transforming the space. The result carefully blends meticulous restoration work – in the exterior cladding and rooflights, for example – with sensitive architectural interventions. Discreetly nestled amidst lush trees, the greenhouse features a new copper roof, which disappears into the garden just as the timber-clad studio does. On the inside of the studio, enormous glazed walls borrow this landscape, with desks positioned in front of windows to make the space feel more expansive.
Inside, Laun wanted to keep the residential vibe of the space but with subtle adjustments that would make it suitable for working life – an updated HVAC, improved technology, a bathroom, and a built-in kitchen with bespoke walnut millwork that matches the original timber shelving. A cork floor was added to enhance the acoustic performance and comfort of the space and complement the Mid-Century palette. The greenhouse has been transformed into a conference room with a custom table and built-in bench.
Bill Hurt founded the WHH Foundation in the 1960s, and almost six decades later, it is continuing to make the world a better place. The new offices are a fitting setting to take the organisation into its next chapter – and a place for family to celebrate the memory of Bill and Sally Hurt.
Images by Ye Rin Mok
Enjoyed this article? Read more: 6 garden offices for working from home