Designed between 1926 and 1939 by R.M. Schindler (1887–1953) , one of the forefathers of Modern architecture, Manola Court (aka the Sachs Apartments) is a sixteen-unit apartment property on a street-to-street downward sloping lot in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Schindler’s client for the Manola Court project was his friend Herman Sachs (1883–1940), a Romanian-born muralist and decorator known for his work on the Bullocks Wilshire Building, Union Station, and City Hall. The property was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2016. Schindler’s use of a plaster skin as an affordable approach to residential projects broke the trend toward steel-and-concrete construction favored by his cohort: the Manola Court complex is an excellent example of an early plaster skin design. The hilly topography of Silver Lake presented engineering and design challenges but also offered the opportunity for spectacular views of Los Feliz, the Hollywood sign, and Griffith Observatory from all of the units. Restoration of Manola Court began in the Spring of 2015. The goal of the restoration was to honor Schindler’s original design and intent while updating each space for how we live today. The question that the team asked was, “what would Schindler have done with the resources and materials we have now?” The team was confident that Schindler would have welcomed the modern plumbing, appliances, HVAC, and network cabling; at the same time, the original cabinetry, finishes, and Schindler-designed furniture were carefully researched and, wherever possible, restored or re-created. A priority for the owner and the restoration team was making design choices to emphasize the idea of community throughout the property.
It is said that Schindler likened this hillside residential complex to European hillside communities as might be found in Greece. Owner Paul Finegold believed that many architecture and design enthusiasts, especially fans of Schindler, would relish the opportunity to actually live in one of Schindler’s creations. Paul decided to take the Maid’s Room, one of Manola Court’s restored and furnished one-bedroom apartments, off of the rental market, instead offering the space for short-term stays. This idea led to the creation of the 501(c)(3) non-profit, Live to Give Ltg., Inc. and the Live to Give LA project. Guests of Live to Give LA enjoy the apartment on a by-donation basis with one hundred percent of the nightly rate going to rare blood research programs, a cause near and dear to Paul. In pioneering the "stay by donation" model, Paul is able to use the property in a way that Sachs and Schindler would be proud of—gathering community and guests from near and far who are inspired by architecture and design, while creating lodging in Silver Lake, a destination for many creative types which suffers from a paucity of elegant hotel accommodations.
To book a short term stay, please visit www.livetogivela.org. For more about this historic property, go to www.manolacourt.com.
1. Broadway Sheet Metal: exterior flashing
2. Luis Guerra: cabinetry and built-in furniture
3. Stucco Masters: exterior and interior plaster work
4. Caesarstone countertops