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STYLE: DESIGN : A Home With Heart

April 11, 1993|BARBARA THORNBURG

Saved from demolition and designated Los Angeles' Historic-Cultural Monument No. 458 3 1/2 years ago, the Wells-Halliday mansion on West Adams Boulevard has taken on a new life as the Carl Bean AIDS Care Center.

One of only two 25-bed, full-service AIDS hospices in Los Angeles County, the center is named in honor of longtime AIDS activist Bishop Carl Bean of Unity Fellowship of Christ Church and serves adults in the final stages of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. A new two-story annex of glass and concrete rises behind the renovated 1901 Dutch Colonial-style exterior to contain hospice facilities, nurses' stations and offices for doctors, a recreation director and social worker.

But it's the homey, Craftsman-style interior of the old building--with its warm wood paneling, colorfully stenciled floors and Arts and Crafts tiled fireplaces--that gives the hospice its heart. Lynn LeMay,chair of the design committee, spearheaded renovation efforts. "Nearly 90% of the furnishings in the old house were donated and many of the materials were sold to us way below cost," LeMay says.

One of the committee's most active members, designer Ron Meyers, donated the vintage living room furniture, supervised the selection of old and new Malibu tiles used for the dining tables (no two are alike) and stenciled the hardwood floors with help from other supporters. The most poignant decorative detail is the "The Border of Life"--a stenciled wall border displaying the names of people who have made $25 contributions to the facility.

"If we had built only the new facility, it would have been rather cold," says Michael Weinstein, president of the non-profit AIDS Health Care Foundation, which sponsors the center. "Having a combination of old and new is what makes the hospice work. The patients feel like they belong: This is, after all, their last home."

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