Behind the Design: Park Place Apartments in Mountain View
Just steps away from the bustle of Castro Street in downtown Mountain View, nestled between two sprawling parks, is Park Place Apartments. With plenty of green space, towering trees, and walk-ups reminiscent of New York brownstones, Park Place is the perfect combination of old-school charm and modern comfort.
Park Place sits on the grounds of the old Mountain View High School. When the site was purchased, the school closed and merged with Awalt High School – coincidentally, the very same high school attended by our CEO Jackie Safier. Her father and Prometheus founder, Sanford Diller, purchased the property during Jackie’s senior year. Jackie had no idea of the acquisition until she joined Prometheus, years later.
The old high school served as design inspiration for the Neighborhood, and there are nods to education and learning throughout. We sat down with Marie Fisher and Madeline Trait from Marie Fisher Interior Design, the designers behind the project, for insight into their design process.
Where did the inspiration for the Park Place renovation come from? I know it was heavily influenced by the history of the Neighborhood. Tell us more about that.
Marie Fisher [MF]: The site was the former Mountain View High School, which closed in 1981 and relocated to the old Awalt High School site, merging with the school and retaining the Mountain View High School name. Their mascot is the Spartan, with their colors being black and gold. This site and the City Hall construction on Castro Street marked the beginning of the gentrification of Mountain View. We knew right away we wanted to incorporate elements of education into the design.
How did you select the artwork that is featured?
MF: The artwork we selected had to fit in to the high school scholastic vibe. In addition, we're always looking for pieces that are from local emerging artists that add an element of surprise. A great example of this at Park Place is Clint Imboden's ruler art piece, titled 'MEASURE'. It’s a whimsical use of an everyday material that really enhances the lounge space.
We also used art from local artist Tiffany Jan. Tiffany's art was chosen as we were looking for work that was hand drawn as well as something that felt playful. We also wanted the artwork to be black to coordinate with the wall where it would be placed so that we would have a subtle monochromatic color arrangement.
What are your favorite elements?
MF: We definitely love the details. There are elements of the leasing office and Neighbor Lounge that are unexpected, and that adds an element of fun to the design. An example of that is the custom wallpaper in the bathroom, designed by Marie Fisher Interior Design (MFID). It’s a quirky callback to classrooms and it livens up an otherwise ordinary space.
The custom tables in the kitchen with integrated lighting and linoleum tops are a callback to libraries and study spaces. Elements of nostalgia make the entire space feel cozy – a perfect spot for Neighbors to relax or enjoy a dinner together. Or study!
The mosaic tile piece at the entrance to the leasing office is reminiscent of old New York apartment entryways – particularly the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Choosing this felt like a natural choice given the New York inspiration in the architecture of the building.
Are there any unique aspects that stick out in your mind?
MF: One of the most special parts of the design is how we did the styling and accessories. Each area has a different subject. For example, the television hutch and entertainment area is focused on chemistry. The coffee table is centered on biology. The shelving units feature nods to a reference library and the kitchen pays homage to the arts. It was important to us that nothing is really obvious, or kitsch.