Launch Slideshow

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    Benny Chan/Fotoworks

    At this house in Los Angeles, a glass walkway connects two pavilions, creating a private poolside courtyard.

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    Benny Chan/Fotoworks

    At this house in Los Angeles, a glass walkway connects two pavilions, creating a private poolside courtyard.

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    Benny Chan/Fotoworks

    The firm’s reputation as a master of Modern restorations also helps it to land new-house commissions such as this cleverly sited hillside residence in Los Angeles.

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    Benny Chan/Fotoworks

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    David Glomb

    A restoration and addition to Albert Frey’s 1946 Loewy House in Palm Springs, Calif., demanded intensive research and a strong dose of humility. “You have to be willing to step into the original architect’s mind,” says Radziner. “If you inject your own eg

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    David Glomb

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    Tim Street-Porter

    While Marmol and Radziner are modernists at heart, they’re not dogmatic over issues of style. At an addition to a 1923 clapboard cottage (1998), they gently grafted more contemporary pieces onto the original while preserving its design integrity.

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    Tim Street-Porter

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    Tim Street-Porter

    At an addition to a 1923 clapboard cottage, they gently grafted more contemporary pieces onto the original while preserving its design integrity.

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    Tim Street-Porter

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    Tim Street-Porter

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    Benny Chan/Fotoworks

    At a new residence (2002) for Ron Radziner and his family in Venice, Calif., the second story steps back to let the home’s scale match its one-story neighbors.

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    Benny Chan/Fotoworks

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    David Glomb

    High-end custom isn’t the only housing type to interest Marmol and Radziner. They’ve designed special-needs apartments (above), Marmol’s prefab vacation home (top), and two single-family residences they’re developing (middle).

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    David Glomb

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    David Glomb

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    Marmol Radziner and Associates

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    Benny Chan/Fotoworks

shop talk

Ex- and almost-architects lurk in every corner of Marmol Radziner. Not only do many construction staffers come from architecture backgrounds, but so do the heads of the in-house wood and metal shops. Brent Bryan, the wood shop's leader, studied architecture at Tulane University. “I like getting dirty better than sitting behind a desk,” he says. Just across the office, the four fabricators at the metal shop take their cues from Scott Enge, who worked for Steven Holl in the early 1990s and spent three years as an architect at Marmol Radziner. Now he oversees the making of custom windows, sliding doors, and hardware, often to match existing, out-of-production items in remodels and restorations. His metal expertise also factors into the firm's aspiration to build structural steel frames for prefab housing.

Placing the shops under the same roof as the architects' drafting tables facilitates the quality control the firm prizes. “In the process of drawing a cabinet or metal detail, the architect can go over and talk to the crafters,” says Leo Marmol. The 13-person wood shop often makes full-scale cardboard mockups of closets or cabinetry, setting them up on the site for the client's approval before going ahead with the permanent versions. In a couple of cases with irregular existing walls, it's even established a temporary, on-site cabinet shop to ensure the results are a perfect fit.

fine furniture

Along with its handmade detailing and woodwork, Marmol Radziner has a history of crafting custom furniture for clients. So its own made-to-order retail line seemed a logical next step. Five years ago it launched the Kings Road Group, a series of licensed, authorized replicas of the furniture in R. M. Schindler's 1922 Kings Road House. The firm fabricates the pieces in its wood and metal shops and sells them through showrooms in Los Angeles and New York City. It donates a portion of the income from the line to Friends of the Schindler House, which has given it full access to the original pieces. “We're recreating the originals in exacting detail,” says associate Daniella Wilson, who guides the firm's interiors and furniture divisions. “For example, we hard-wire-brush the wood to raise the grain so it has an old feel.”

More recently, Marmol Radziner Furniture developed an original line based on its bespoke pieces for Ron Radziner's own house. The luxurious, minimalist bedroom, living, dining, and indoor/outdoor collections come standard in walnut or maple with stainless or blackened steel hardware, and buyers frequently specify custom sizes or materials. Buoyed by its success with furniture so far, the firm plans a second original line modeled after the pieces designed for Leo Marmol's just-finished desert retreat. For more information on Marmol Radziner Furniture, visit its Web site at www.marmolradzinerfurniture.com.