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Light Hearted

Light Hearted

A former motel is revived as a cool California retreat


August 25, 2021 |

When the principals of Los Angeles design firm Bishop Pass toured the 1950s-era Coral Sands Motel with its would-be new owner—with whom they had already worked on several restaurants over the years—they immediately saw its potential.

Located in central LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood, the goal was to “create an oasis—a spot for locals to gather and dine, as well as providing a hotel in an underserved area,” says Bishop Pass’ Stephen Knight. The significant overhaul of the 60-room property into the airy, bright Cara Hotel required removing the façade and roof, and the partial removal of the second floor to make way for the entry’s 16-foot-tall vaulted ceiling. The designers also did away with the existing pool to create a central courtyard that now boasts lounge space and dining amongst palms and 100-year-old olive trees. At the front, hedges shield two additional dining patios perfect for the LA climate.

For design inspiration, the duo “looked to the early Los Angeles tradition of referencing Old World European architecture, but giving it a California twist,” Knight explains. Details like traditional plaster mouldings and limestone pavers mix with furniture and lighting that seem to come from various eras for an eclectic mix that Knight says “gives the space a collected feel, like it had evolved over time.”

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