Down a quiet sidestreet, just off the fabled Sunset Strip, there is an apartment complex that appears, at first and even second glance, to be a perfectly maintained vestige from Hollywood’s early days. Though its white stucco walls glimmer and its warm terra cotta tiles are pristine, 7 Fountains could easily pass for a building entering its eighth decade. After all, none of its neighbors on North Harper Street in West Hollywood were built after 1950. That is precisely how the owner and his team of architects and designers envisioned 7 Fountains from the very start.
The project is a rare modern example of authentic Spanish-style architecture, with a series of courtyards, exterior stairways, open spaces, balconies and patios that are all covered with terra cotta tile. This asymmetrical, open layout is a charming hallmark of true Spanish style, but also represented a major challenge for the tile installation.
“Our biggest construction challenge was the prevention of leaks, which are so typical of this open Spanish style. Adding to our concern, we have fountains throughout, and an automatic watering system that reaches each balcony, increasing our risk of leaks. We looked and looked and looked for a waterproofing solution that we could have confidence in,” said developer Tim Lefevre. “We needed something effective that we could install beneath the tile, and that a manufacturer would protect with a serious warranty.”
The architect hired David Carlat to serve as tile consultant on the project. His role was to analyze both the vision and the plans for the building, and then make recommendations to ensure that the tile installation would meet the demands of the project and the exceptional standards of the team.
Together, Lefevre and Carlat tested numerous water-proofing products and systems on the market, ultimately settling on RedGard® Waterproofing and Anti-Fracture Membrane from Custom® Building Products.
“RedGard was absolutely unmatched in our tests,” said Lefevre. “We knew this was our answer.”
Furthermore, Lefevre was impressed with Custom’s 20-year system warranty that guarantees installations against failure. “We used the entire Custom system, from RedGard to backerboards and thin-set mortars and grout, and we sealed it with SurfaceGard® Penetrating Sealer. We have great peace of mind knowing the decks will never crack or spring a leak, and that we’re protected with a 20-year warranty.”
When it came time to install the tile, all substrates were prepared using LevelQuik® RS Rapid Setting Self-Leveling Underlayment, after initially priming with LevelQuik™ Latex Primer. Next, RedGard was applied by roller in two perpendicular coats, drying to its trademark red color to seal against leaks. MasterBlend™ Standard Thin-Set Mortar mixed with CustomFlex™ Ultra-Strength Thin-Set Additive for flexibility and added bond strength was used to set all tile. After appropriate curing time, the installers grouted the terra cotta tiles using Saltillo Grout Mix. For ceramic tile installations in the fountains, stair facings and wall details, Polyblend® Non-Sanded Grout was used.
7 Fountains is now an elegant residential development designed for working professionals, with tranquil courtyards, lush landscaping and vibrant design elements in common areas. In 2002, the project earned the prestigious Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism.
West Hollywood, CAYear Completed:
Stefanos Polyzoides, Moule & Polyzoides Architects and Uranbists, Los Angeles, CAContractor:
Tim Lefevre, Lefevre Corporation, Los Angeles, CATile Contractor:
Coastal Tile, Los Angeles, CACBP Architectural Consultant: