Leigh Jerrard is a Los Angeles-based architect and sustainability consultant. After six years in Frank Gehry’s office and five years in the residential architecture firm Yeh + Jerrard, he founded Greywater Corps, a business where he designs and installs recycled water systems from the home he shares with artist Olga Koumoundouros and their six-year-old son Niko. Here he describes his ideal live/work space: one inspired by eco-friendly practices and ancient architectural solutions found in western India.
How would you define your aesthetic? I believe that ecological design can go hand-in-hand with inexpensive, thoughtful architecture that embodies simplicity and beauty.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Four years ago our family put this belief into action when we bought a “tear-down” house in northeast Los Angeles that we didn’t tear down. Instead, we moved in and began creating our ideal live-work environment along our aesthetic principles.
How do you keep your work space organized? Our professional practices are carved out between the spaces of domestic chaos. I like the blank slate quality of our environment; there is nothing precious about our house, so we have tremendous freedom to change things; the house and garden are in a constant state of experimental flux.
You established your firm in 2009. What led to that point? When we first moved in we planted an orchard of different fruit trees. After watering them one day, I pulled the plug on our son Niko’s bath and watched 50 gallons go down the drain. Soon after, I started researching greywater and rainwater systems. Our home now uses recycled, repurposed, and reused materials in carefully considered interrelationships between the built environment and the natural world.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now? We have several spaces in the yard that function as outdoor rooms — furniture for these spaces would be wonderful. And I love most of the Eames designs for their combination of playfulness and forthright functionality, and for their confident details. And the Eames Storage Unit — right now we badly need more storage!
What and who inspires you? My truest ideal living and working environment would be something like the stepwells in western India. These stepwells are a combination rainwater catchment system, communal water source, and public meeting space. I’m not sure how I’d fit it all into my home, but my ideal workspace would include more of this highly functional, constructed social space.