Re-designed By Studio Shamshiri


The Iconic Mid-century Quincy Jones' Smalley House

After meeting the AD100 designer Pamela Shamshiri through the creative Michael Reynolds, the gallery owner Shulamit Nazarian realized how much she and pamela had in common. Both were independent women of Persian origin, born in Iran and immigrants from Los Angeles after the Islamic Revolution. And coincidentally, they both owned architecturally significant homes designed by famous architects who pioneered the Southern California modernist movement.


Pamela Shamshiri owned Rudolph Schindler`s 1948 Lechner House, while Shulamit Nazarian owned the A. Quincy Jones` Smalley House (1969–73) in Holmby Hills, one of the architect`s most important residences. According to Nazarian, in an interview to Architectural Digest magazine, the relationship between her and Pamela came because the two were going through similar transitional moments in their lives, which generated a great emotional connection. And as Shulamit Nazarian is also a gallerist dedicated to supporting Middle Eastern women and culture, this partnership was more than welcome. 


Renovating an important midcentury home to adapt it to the 21st century lifestyle is not an easy task. It is necessary to understand and respect the historical significance of the space in order to reconcile it with the modern contemporary expression. That`s why it was only after living in the house for a decade that Shulamit Nazarian decided to embark on this adventure and carry out this large-scale renovation.

The designer Pamella Shamshiri describes the project as a soft, feminine counterpoint to the sharp modernist planes.

Shulamit knowing that the architecture of this house is alive, she knew that it has to remain relevant to the way she lives in the house now. Therefore, in the renovation, they have retained Jones` language in whatever changes were made, even to amplify the power and significance of its architecture. The 7,500-foot home was originally designed with kitchen, children`s bedroom, master bedroom suite, a living room sunken and an elevated living room defined by a beautiful rough sawn cedar wall that extends into the garden. In fact, one of Jones` signatures is the dynamic connection between interior-exterior.


The most significant change, therefore, was in Shulamit`s bedroom, which was formerly a children`s area and now also has a home office so the gallerist can work from home. ‘’The progression through the house feels natural and easy" Shamshiri declares to Architectural Digest magazine, about the reorganized floor plan. In addition to the homeoffice, the designer created a spa with a clay sauna, an organically designed bench and a hot tub with stones and concrete in the same tone.


As for the kitchen, the designer Pamella Shamshiri says it was a big challenge to work with the rigid cabinets and walnut doors. But that in the end the result was satisfactory and the new space started to connect the more formal areas of the house with the family spaces in the most beautiful, generous and welcoming way.

Voluminous shapes and bold lines are featuring throughout the interior, in its furnishing, its possible to see pieces by renowned timeless designers such as Pierre Paulin, Milo Baughman and Paul Frankl. The designer Pamella Shamshiri describes the project as a soft, feminine counterpoint to the sharp modernist planes.


The mid-century architecture of the house really stands out in its own beauty. But the most intimidating part of the process was seeing how Pamela Shamshiri and Shulamit Nazarian tackled the great spinal wall. After discussing several ideas, in the end the designer and the gallery owner arrived at a solution that respects the integrity of architecture and art.


Definitely, this house represents a fusion between past, present and future. Which is the hallmark of every great architectural element.

Credit Architectural Digest