The Invaluable Ward Edward Jewell

Architect Ward Edward Jewell has been designing luxury homes throughout the L.A area (and well beyond) since 1979. He believes in a team approach to every project, gathering the best in the fields of architecture, interior designer, garden design, and, of course, building. “A group dialogue with an enlightened client results in a beautiful project,” he says. Some of those clients have included James Cameron, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, and Candice Bergen. Apart from enjoying what he does, Ward is also passionate about dogs and we’re thrilled he included puppy Meadowbrooke in his portrait. “She's our sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She was the runt of the litter,” he says. (Cue the collective "oohs" and "ahhs.") Read on to learn more about why Ward’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing for nearly forty years.

How would you describe your aesthetic? My projects develop from an initial sense of the location’s attributes, as well as from the dialogue I pursue with my clients. I design my buildings to incorporate my client’s needs as they are integral in the decision making process, but also with a sense of architectural appropriateness. I do that by paying attention to the project site’s characteristics (topography, views, light sources, breeze directions) and being true to the aspects of the specific style I am working in. I believe in designing residences that reflect the genius loci—the spirit of place, not trends of the day, and they must seem always to have existed within the context of the neighborhood.

How did you get started in the business? My love of architecture originated in my youth, as I was fortunate to grow up ina Wallace Neff house (the Goetz Residence). My interior designer mother was constantly working in the grand old homes of Los Angeles and she gave me an appreciation for and understanding of the beauty that surrounds me. I have always been immersed in good design. It’s in my DNA.

From where or what sources do you derive your creative inspiration? I study the essence of individual styles. I take notice of historical details, for instance, how an elevation was composed, how a building was sited, or even how the moldings of a complicated cornice work as a unit. I enjoy traveling to areas where I can absorb pure examples of a singular architectural vernacular. An example would be walking the streets of Santa Barbara where I can find a flood of brilliant early California Spanish design which inspires me to create new possibilities.

If you could reside on a Hollywood film set from any era, what would it be and why? I could see myself living in a Provençal villa replete with vineyard as in Ridley Scott’s movie A Good Year with Russell Crowe. I’d have a great time with the obligatory renovation and restoration project.

What takes a kitchen or bath from ordinary to extraordinary? Kitchens and bathrooms are architectural vignettes. They call for all the same attention to organizational planning and architectural principals that the entire building requires. However, kitchens and bathrooms also need an additional layer of detail, texture and harmonious color palette. And they must include highly functional, well-designed plumbing fixtures and appliances that make my clients' lives exceedingly comfortable.