|2. John Byers Office, 1926
246 26th St.
John Byers Office
Ironwork - John Byers Office
Chez Mimi with Nina Bol and her mom
| In the period between World
War I and World War II, John Winford Byers made more of an impact on the
Santa Monica architectural landscape than any other local designer. He explored
the possibilities of a number of styles, including Spanish, Mexican, and
Monterey, and was most known for his adobe-designed buildings. 246 26th
St. was his office.
Prior to getting involved in architecture, Byers, a graduate from Harvard University, was employed as a schoolteacher, teaching Spanish and French, at San Rafael High School and Santa Monica High School. Self-trained as a builder and architect, Byers completed his first commission, a house at 510 Lincoln Boulevard for W.F. Barnum, the principal of the Santa Monica High School in 1916. Byers eventually established his architectural practice at 246 26th Street.
Byers explored the possibilities of a number of styles, including Spanish, Mexican, and Monterey. He studied the native building traditions of Hispanic cultures, and went through a phase where he built houses of adobe and stucco. This style became such a passion for him that he established his own workshop, employing Mexican craftsmen who were masters at creating and installing the decorative tile and woodwork that he used in his houses.
Byers designed dozens of homes in Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, and Santa Monica for 30 years, from 1916 through 1946. Examples of his work include the residences at 1707 (Albert Ahern residence) and 1717 (Donald Armstrong residence) San Vicente, 217 17th Street (Laidlaw residence), 1602 Georgina (E.J. Carrillo residence), 500 25th Street (J.B. Nethercott residence), and 270 18th Street (Speers residence).
Other dwellings were constructed in Coachella, Victorville, Bel Air, and Beverly Hills. Byers also constructed an adobe memorial recreation hall in Santa Monica, a clubhouse at Brentwood Park, and a church in San Fernando. He also designed many homes for celebrities in Bel Air, and one of the most notable buildings was the John Thomas Dye School.
By had a fascination with architectural forms and materials indigenous to California. He was most notable for his "Adobe" designed buildings, having written several articles in the 1920s and 1930s on adobe construction and its influence in California architect.
When John Byers died in 1966, he was based out of this Spanish Colonial Revival compound at 246 26th St. It is now a charming restaurant, Chez Mimi, and one of your few chances to dine at a local landmark.
The LA Weekly calls Chez Mimi “The loveliest patio dining spot
around, where the vine-entwined gateway alone makes it hard to remember
you're in California and not some gentrified country stable yard in southern
France. Inside, in charming low-ceilinged rooms, fires snap on cold nights
and Mimi herself checks in on her customers.”
A Pleasant French Evening Posted by dalittleguy