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Builder designs with women’s lifestyles in mind

Everyone’s heard of a man cave, but what about an entire home designed for a woman?

Builder and designer Kim Gordon has done just that. She briskly demolishes, renovates and stages homes geared toward female buyers in the white-hot Westside tech market, creating seven Venice residences since 2010.

Gordon’s open-space floor plans enthrone kitchens as a home’s nexus, and her oversize closets and bathrooms are treasured for the simple reason that the spaces can fit a couch.

“There’s a place for women to be digging really functional, smart homes,” said Gordon, who lives in a personally renovated Marina del Rey home. “For women, kitchens aren’t just kitchens anymore; they’ve become both hearths and hubs. I find myself using my laptop on the island, getting work done.”

Gordon draws design insight from her artist background and her life with two children from a previous marriage. Her team oversees a crew of 26, managed by her fiancé and business partner, Mauricio Suarez.

Along with practical considerations, her homes are brimming with thoughtful touches — which Gordon, in her typically unscripted and refreshingly direct way — said many male developers neglect.

“Developers usually hire designers to knock out a certain look, a formula, and they don’t stray from that,” she said, nothing that female developer-designers are rare.

“Kim creates these places for ‘little moments,’ like on the stair landing, or under the stairs where we put a tepee for the kids,” said design consultant Kelly Furano, who with her husband paid $2.5 million for a four-bedroom Dickson Street home in 2014.

Furano’s bathroom contains not only a couch, but also a greenhouse set before floor-to-ceiling windows.

“It’s like a sanctuary,” she said.

Furano, a former executive at True Religion, is among the well-heeled creatives who often pre-buy Gordon’s creations. Other buyers include a Google executive as well as former Ralph Lauren exec Jenna Barnet.

“Every single home she sells sets a record,” said Pardee Properties’ founder Tami Pardee, who brokers all of Gordon’s homes. “We price her homes 10% to 15% above the market, and we get every cent.”

It was Pardee who discovered Gordon in 2010 after witnessing her rehab skills on some area rentals. She quickly linked Gordon to a financier.

Gordon’s homes are spacious, airy wonders amid tightly packed Venice streets known for staid, Lego-like construction.

Her most recent design, a four-bedroom modern on Milwood Avenue in Venice, features soaring ceilings, steel windows, stone and wood touches, a rooftop deck and a steam room in the master bath. A sunny breakfast and lounge area is tucked under the stairwell, and a glass-enclosed pantry/wine room rounds out the expansive great area.

A barn silhouette roof-line hovers above Gordon’s trademark wall-windows that at night transform her creations into cheery cutout lanterns.

Ever the bohemian artist, Gordon added torch-cut chandeliers, Frida Kahlo collages (her own creation) and what she aptly terms, “crunch.”

“I asked myself, ‘What’s this weird stone house doing in Venice?'” said Gordon, standing before the newly built residence, which sold at its first open house for $5.2 million, more than $200,000 above asking. “It needed some crunch.”

The added crunch: an ingenious plaster-covered entry portal — a simple cutout rectangle — placed before the front door.

Back lit, the threshold is reminiscent of a high-end museum entry — all part of Gordon’s high/low sensibility that includes hand-troweled walls, staircases that become sculptures bathed in light against those wall-windows, and pocket gardens straight out of Tolkien’s elfin lands.

Known for her moxie and nonconformist approach, Gordon claims no formal architectural training. Before creating homes, she was known for intricate shrines, concrete floor finishes and shell collages that were popular among designers.

“I was told, ‘You can’t do this; you have no education,'” she said. “It was scary, and I took huge risks. But I just kept saying to myself, ‘Why not?'”

Source: Los Angeles Times


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