Search the Landmarks:

2. John Byers Office, 1926 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.” offers this review:

A Pleasant French Evening Posted by dalittleguy
Very wonderful evening. The restaurant has a quaint French cottage feel. The food was very good, had the goat cheese tart: delicious! The entree filet mignon was perfect, and loved the sauce it was served with. Had the apple tart, which was good, nothing amazing for me. Waiter was pleasant but got a bit distracted as it got busier. Price for 2 with corkage around $150, but worth it.

Yahoo! User Reviews of Chez Mimi offers:

• Fine Dining at Chez Mimi's
Among the best dishes: mussels, sand dabs, lemon tart, espresso ice cream.Consistently fine food and good service, charming atmosphere.
by Claire from West Los Angeles 10/27/04

At Chez Mimi, simple French fare is served on a brick patio with vine-covered trellises and trees entwined with lights. -

Ultra-professional French Canadian Mimi Hébert----remember her at Chez Hélène in Beverly Hills?----will greet you as you pass the beautiful iron gate of her enchanted restaurant, location the former Camelion’s. Divided into 3 patios----even one for smokers----and 3 independant dining rooms, all showcasing fireplaces, you will feel that you have arrived in Provence. You will definitely appreciate the chef’s home-style French cuisine. It is simple and enjoyable. Try the puff pastry with goat cheese, or the refreshing chilled cucumber soup for hors d’œuvres; then for entrées the bouillabaisse, the cassoulet or the lighter leg of lamb with herbs de Provence or the fresh trout with almonds. A good way to finish: the tarte Tatin and its vanilla ice cream. The place is so romantic that once you have been Chez Mimi, there is non doubt that you will adopt it and return very often. -