In 2006, I moved from an old very large Spanish home in Mission Hills and purchased an apartment in a 1970’s mid century building in Balboa Park.
I remodeled the apartment completely to recapture its original architecture and also face the challenge of blending the new property with Mission furniture and large paintings brought from my previous home.
Bryan Forward was the designer for this project. He helped me and the entire working crew in innumerable ways. He was present during initial meetings with the architect and with the custom cabinet maker both for planning and execution purposes. Bryan’s intelligence, taste , diplomacy and practicality saved me from making unnecessary and costly changes to the existing structures to repairing costly mistakes made by other people working on the project.
Bryan helped me choose beautiful and timeless materials ( several woods for cabinets, doors and floors, stone for counters, paint and colors…and more) and gently stirred me away from anything that would not stand the test of time, either in terms of durability or of passing fashion. He updated and upgraded sections of the apartment that were not remodeled, such as bathrooms and closets by changing faucets and knobs. He even directed me to the best design and color for the phones!! He chose new frames for my art pieces and helped hang them in the best locations.
I am a very busy person. I appreciated enormously Bryan’s efficiency in pre-selecting possible choices and going with me to various vendors to make final decisions. Invariably, his choices were relevant and excellent.
The results are truly spectacular. Five years later, people who come to my apartment are dazzled by it and absolutely love it. It is aesthetically very pleasing with elegance, warmth and comfort.
Three years later, after my remodel, when the worn out entire 70’s building was in dire need of renovation, I managed to convince the Home Owners Board to interview Bryan before engaging in an incredible expensive and garish plan designed by another architect/designer group.
Bryan educated me as to the merits of preserving many original features that would eventually help secure a historical tax-saving designation for the building so that I could present this information to the board and educate the residents to the merits and true value of a building designed by a well known mid-century architect. Indeed, Bryan educated all of us, and worked with an architect to design and decorate hallways, first floor entrance, party and guest rooms, with a much lower budget than any of the previous team proposals. The proposal was outstanding and made so much sense that it won the approval of the Board, not an easy win.
In a building with 66 apartments and many differing owners’ opinions, where every decision is a committee decision and reaching consensus was most challenging, Bryan’s engagement with the myriad details proved to be crucial to the completion of the project. He demonstrated vision, talent, firmness and ability to compromise that carried the momentum to finish in a timely fashion, in spite of dangers of stalemate.
This project was, of course, a lot more complex interpersonally than a single apartment project, so it gave me the opportunity to observe Bryan’s capacity to cope with stress, underpayment for his time and efforts. Yet, he managed to complete a beautiful renovation that has won the approval of the residents and it has improved the quality of our building dramatically.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of recognition for Bryan’s work on the building, took place at the celebration of the renovation, when William Kreisel, the original architect of the building, expressed deep admiration for and delight in the authenticity and beauty of the 2010 come back of our building.
Celia J. Falicov, Ph.D., Owner
Bryan is fast on his feet. We have collaborated on several projects, including functional room remodels and landscape projects. I had complete confidence that he could direct a complete home remodel, and we got the chance to see him at work on a mid-century modern fixer in Sedona, Arizona. Over a long weekend, he and a pry bar found some hidden wonders, redirected an awkward flow, was a phenomenal colorist, redirected the landscape and essentially sent us on a solid direction for the next year.
He communicated well with our contractor and subs, speaking their language, and was very available for emergency consultation. Bryan was resourceful in finding period-appropriate solutions while being aware and sensitive to modern conveniences. The results are spectacular with no missteps.
He was very cost effective. I know that, even with more time and money, the project would not have turned out as well without his valuable insight. If this was not enough, Bryan has been a valuable consultant with regard to art and furnishings, again with an eye towards value, comfort and fit. In a world with some many interior desecrators out there, he established a personalized, authentic vibe without the obvious tricks and trappings that are all too common out there. We have a one-off house with a one-off environment.
Perhaps as challenging as the home remodel was reclaiming the landscape, which was a mishmosh of inappropriate plantings, fences, terraces, trellises, doodads and other homeowner "improvements." Bryan had the difficult task of bringing it back, to making it look untouched and original (like the national park next door). While this sounds easy, it was not. The yard is now effortless and flows with the surrounding natural beauty.
Steve Eilenberg, Owner
Forward Design Group