by Jerry ElengicalOct 09, 2021
The Ruby Street’s website welcomes one with a chirpy introduction – “We’re a hidden gem in Highland Park where people gather to celebrate love, art, and community.” The said space’s contemporary redesign in Highland, Los Angeles, gave California-based Working Holiday Studio the chance to insert and plan areas to host events, cultural programmes, co-working, along with artists residencies. Formerly a historic Highland Park Church, The (new) Ruby Street opened after a month of extensive overhaul, into a spacious, ‘creative community hub’. It will also serve as a design showroom, and host areas for music performances, film screenings, intimate dinners and creative workshops, while being open to the public.
“The Ruby Street is a building that has been, at times, both a Civil Rights meeting place and a Progressive church founded by a female pastor, and was taken over in 2016 by singer and designer Lourdes Hernandez and her husband, musician and real estate developer Zach Leigh,” explains the Working Holiday Studio team. Hernandez and Leigh sought to reimagine the 743 sqm space in a contemporary light, in tandem with preserving its original features. The musician couple wanted a space where their fellow creative friends and community could gather to ‘celebrate love, art and LA’, a venue for events such as weddings, performances, photoshoots and dinner parties. The Ruby Street has, in fact, become host to numerous private events and over 200 weddings in the past four years.
This year saw interior designer Francesca ‘Kiki’ De La Fuente and creative partners Working Holiday Studio, along with the Ruby Street team (all LA-based), come together with their favourite brand partners and designers to renovate and reopen the space as the Eastside’s newest creative hub, in a discernibly contemporary fashion.
The warm, updated interior design features pastel-coloured walls, new oak floors, dollops of green plants and skylights that further open up the space. The garden sees redesigned landscaping as well, while new décor (with new, lighter furniture) takes up the space inside.
The former church’s open plan layout, along with its stained-glass windows and craftsman façade are the elements that have been retained in the adaptive reuse of the project. Anchoring the space is the expansive, light filled Worship Wall, which is flanked by smaller rooms and suites for more intimate events. The second interior space is called the Reception Hall, along with two other small spaces, The Gallery and the Suite. The Reception Hall sees long, wooden tables accompanied by rows of teal coloured and soft pink chairs, while sofas in the same colour sit across the space, and a few steps further, one is met with vertical planting systems adorning the walls. The large backyard area is meant to host film screenings, dinners and other communal events, as planned by The Ruby Street Team.
The studio relays, “The team has partnered with some of their favourite brands and creators from Los Angeles and Europe whose work combines function with sculptural and artistic design,” such as Blu Dot, Menu, Bend Goods, and Form Plus. An entire room at The Ruby Street was outfitted by Blu Dot (now called the Blue Dot Lounge) where guests can relax in a pastel world. A touch of Danish design has been added to the space with the Afteroom Lounge Chairs from Menu, while the verdant backyard, accessed by bright white steps, is completed with furniture from Bend Goods. Graphic designer Daniel Barreto lends the space an artistic edge and updated visual identity.
With rugs designed in Stockholm, Nordic Knots brightens the Ruby Street’s floors with Scandinavian patterns. Other pieces adorning the space include sculptural lights by Entler, pleated planters Tess planters from Most Modest and a varied range of eclectic furniture by Croft House, Mod Shop, Nima Abili, Hightower and Owl, which elevate the interiors. The space welcomes a fresh colour palette, courtesy Backdrop Paint, along with a pretty mural that decorates The Ruby Street by LA-based Dakota Solt. The Ruby Street is a wonderful expanse that stands as a bright example as to what an adaptive reuse, interior design project can achieve with a creative and passionate team of designers and a collective willingness to focus on creating simple, beautiful and functional spaces.