Local architect helps remodel Mira Costa’s teacher’s lounge - The Beach Reporter

Manhattan Beach architect Stephen Francis Jones was approached by restauranteur Mike Simms, who he had helped design MB Post and Simmzy’s in Manhattan Beach, to remodel the dilapidated Mira Costa High School teacher’s lounge, which had been sitting virtually unchanged for decades. Jones’ daughter Camryn will be a freshman at the high school in two years so he felt it would be a great opportunity to give back to the school and community as well.

“I wanted to make the space a place to have the teachers reconnect with each other,” Jones said. “None of the teachers were really using it in its full capacity. I wanted to make it a nice place for them to come to. Apparently it has a lot of people going over there again.”

The teacher’s lounge was funded through a drive spearheaded by realtor David Caskey and the Top 15 Agent Alliance, a group of the top-selling realtors in the beach cities that raised more than $80,000 to redesign and furnish the 1,200-square-foot space with new paint, leather coaches, new appliances and an old-growth pine table that is the centerpiece of the room.

Jones said the biggest challenge was working with the tight budget on one of the smaller projects he has ever worked on.

“One of the things I like to do when I look at a new space of a project is to look at the bones and see what I have to work with,” said Jones, who has designed other local buildings including Murad Inclusive Health Center and Spa in El Segundo, Veggie Grill in the El Segundo Plaza and the first Wolfgang Puck Cafe in El Segundo. “When I walked into the original lounge, even though it hadn’t been remodeled in (many) years, I can tell the windows that went around it and the volume of the space and the proportions, that I could enhance that by using minimal amounts of money and get the biggest bang for the buck.”

Jones wanted to get his daughter involved in the project hands-on. Jones had two specifically designed light fixtures left over from another project, but the problem was they were wrapped with red silk ribbon. Principal Ben Dale objected to the red since it was the color of rival Redondo Union High School. So he asked Camryn to help in the project. They cut rice paper in strips and decoupaged the fixtures so they “glowed from the light coming from inside.”

“My daughter and I made a project out of it on weekends,” Jones said. “She would come to my office and we’d work.”

Jones, who designed and built his own home in Manhattan Beach, and his company SFJones Architects, is currently working on the new Simmzy’s in Huntington Beach.


Sandra Sadauskaite