The LA Report Blog Web

Add to Technorati Favorites

Return to homepage:
The LA Report Blog


March 24, 2010

Mike Gottlieb - Green as ART

Posted by Don Rose
Mike Gottlieb is LEEDING the way these days when it comes to building green by putting an artistic touch on his designs. He began his career in 1985 as a commercial real estate agent. In the early stages of his career he represented tenants in both office and industrial arenas but after the Northridge earthquake in 1995 he began purchasing severely damaged properties, primarily in Santa Monica and renovating them.  After two successful renovations by 2000 Gottlieb decided to make this a full time job.

Mike’s method to renovating typically involved gutting the house, adding on square footage, and completely redoing the entire interior and exterior in a seamless manner, making it impossible to tell that the entire house was not built contemporaneously.  “Many developers maximize the square footage of the house while taking away from the amount of outdoor usable land. They feel they get paid for square footage. I do not work that way. My business model and belief system is that I get paid for evoking a feeling and an experience,” says Gottlieb. 

Not unlike the reason people go to nice hotels, larger is not necessarily better. Gottlieb prefers to have the interior of his houses relate to the exterior where most of the rooms have a balcony or access to the exterior. With the luxury of Southern California weather he feels it’s better to capitalize on the benefits of an outdoor feeling even if you’re technically indoors.
When renovating he tries to reutilize as much of the existing foundation and framing as possible, re-enforcing what’s already there and not waste material therefore making it as green as possible. Typically Mike redesigns the house based upon the framing style. A home such as one originally built in the 50s, had a large A frame in the front and required creating a farm type house.

Gottlieb strongly believes in a team approach. “Form meets function, and that’s what really brings a house to life,” he says. The team, vigilantly selected, that shares and helps create his vision, consists of an interior designer, contractors and architects.

The drawings for Mike Gottlieb’s most recent home, not intended to be green at first, sits atop the Palisade’s cliffs on Vicino, began four years ago, and took three years to build. He worked on the frame for three months stopped, then decided to build entirely green. He had been living in Brazil for six months and while he was there, it seemed that all he was hearing on the Internet was green this and green that. “Upon my return to LA, it seemed as though we were in a Brave New World.  So I decided to halt the project and redesign in order to make it very high level green, and, in fact, LEED Certified” says Gottlieb.

Green AND giving back!

Aside from his passion for building for a better environment Mike is very active in rescuing dogs. He got involved with this when he was living in Brazil.  He began taking dogs he found on the street for proper medical care and finding them new homes. He continues those efforts by generously donating money to rescues, as well as fostering dogs.

Currently, the Gottlieb household includes Lucy, a Labradoodle, his first dog as an adult (and the one that initiated his enthusiasm for animals), a three legged dog that he found hurt on the street in Brazil, Tripe, which means Tripod in Portuguese, and a pit mix, Baby.

Aside from his love for animals Gottlieb actively donates money to other types of charities including one in Africa that provides potable water.

Mike’s agenda for 2010 in addition to his green building projects includes hosting a few fundraisers for his fury friends and other charitable causes. Going green and giving back pretty much describes Mike Gottlieb’s daily calendar.