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Pool Snacks from Ashes and Diamonds
Thomas J. Story

It’s a late winter day in Los Angeles. The kind that makes people want to move to Los Angeles: It’s, yes, sunny and 72, palm trees sway against a clear blue sky, beach balls float in the pool, Charles Mingus plays on the hi-fi, and people sit on Eames sofas and sip chilled rosé while nibbling on a vivid super herby frittata and pillowy focaccia in a mid-century modern pool house designed by Pierre Koenig. A deer silently makes its way along the edge of the property. This is the Hollywood Hills home of Kashy and Laura Khaledi, owners of Ashes & Diamonds, a winery known for its excellent bottlings and modernist take on the Napa Valley experience.

Laura and Kashy Khaldi
Kashy and Laura Khaledi in their Pierre Koenig pool house.

Thomas J. Story

Today is one of their annual “A&D Classic at the LA Pool House” pickup parties, during which Los Angeles members of their wine club come to get their allotment of crémants, single-vineyard Cabernets, zero-zero Chardonnays, and other wines crafted by some of the top makers in the business.

Wine Glasses and Shadows

Thomas J. Story

When Ashes & Diamonds opened in Napa in 2017, it stood out in several ways, most notably the design of its winery, a collection of buildings with zigzag rooflines, portholes, and a cantilevered neo-modernist structure, all designed by Bestor Architecture in a way that evokes Bauhaus and Neutra instead of Tuscan villas and French châteaux. It was modernist rebuke to modern farmhouse. There was a swank lounge with low-slung seating for members, a zine with writings on punk rock and architecture, and a groovy soundtrack of hip-hop, down-tempo groove, and jazz, all passions of Kashy’s, who got his start in the music business working with artists such as the Beastie Boys.

Jasper Morrison Side Table
Yearbook, the Ashes & Diamonds ‘zine, sits on a Jasper Morrison side table.

Thomas J. Story

This was before Napa Valley figured out that people wanted experiences along with their tasting flights. Today membership at Ashes & Diamonds has evolved into what might be just one of the best buys in wine country: Not only does the baseline membership get you early access to exclusive bottlings, it also includes concierge access to some of the best hotel pools in the area, and multi-course wine lunches that have become a favorite among locals who treat the winery as a sort of vinous Soho House.

Ashes and Diamonds Team Toast
The Ashes & Diamonds team toasts. 

Thomas J. Story

Today in the Hollywood Hills, the winery’s chefs, Ethan Speizer and Madison Gabor, have come down from Napa Valley to cook for members. On the menu: a freewheeling California mashup with an herby frittata, a nod to Kashy’s Iranian heritage; a fancy take on chips and dip, with smoked trout roe and charred onions (a toasty briny pairing for bubbly); pillowy focaccia; and other tasty things that just go well with wine. Join us on this beautiful day as we savor the convergence of good design and good wine.

What’s on the Menu

Tour the House

Ashes and Diamonds Living Room
The Khaledis’ living room is filled with a mix of period-correct furniture and other modernist pieces like the Vala swivel recliners from Design Within Reach, accented with Tom Dixon pillows.

Thomas J. Story

The Khaledis’ L.A. home is the ideal backdrop for intimate tastings and Ashes & Diamonds events for a number of reasons. Off the bat, it’s an intimate, social setting where Kashy and Laura can host wine lovers in a relaxed way. It translates the fresh, modern anti-corporate energy they’re bringing to the Napa wine scene. And the stunning house, designed by Gregory Ain, along with the bonus Pierre Koenig pool house, represents the Khaledis’ devotion to mid-century style across the spectrum, from furniture to home design to wine making.

“Ashes & Diamonds has been having a conversation with the mid-century era since its inception, dating back to the first wine we made in 2014,” says Kashy. “There was an elegance, refinement, and minimalism that came with wines from that era. They didn’t use the common practices of picking raisins, adding tartaric acid, and other additives that have become common.”

Mid-Century Chairs

Thomas J. Story

Everything the Khaledis do pushes against what he likes to call the “McMansion era” of modern wine. So in August 2020, when their real estate agent showed them this largely untouched architectural gem (commissioned by Ben Margolis, a prominent lawyer who represented blacklisted writers in Hollywood), they knew they’d found their new home. Ain studied with Richard Neutra, and was a protégé of Charles and Ray Eames. He worked for the legendary couple as their chief engineer during World War II.

Poolhouse Shades
Brightly colored Sunbrella shades playfully pivot to protect the Pierre Koenig–designed pool house from the bright afternoon sun.

Thomas J. Story

“Ain is a kind of an unsung hero of that era,” says Khaledi. “We learned that he wasn’t popular for his views on communal living, so that tarnished his reputation and didn’t allow him to come up with his peers like Lautner or Neutra.”

The home, which is furnished with finds from Modernica, DWR, and Danish Modern, bears all of the hallmarks of that architectural heyday: boxy rooms, right angles, clerestory windows, and an honest simplicity. They replaced the marmoleum floors and some drywall when they purchased the home, but the design and layout remain untouched.

The second structure on the property also has a distinct pedigree. It’s believed to be the last Pierre Koenig–designed building to be completed in the 1990s, before the case-study architect and USC professor passed away in 2004. With its large metal-framed windows, sharp angles, and rectangular canvas-shade awnings in primary colors, it’s a stunning and simple setting for their wine gatherings.

Lap Pool and Patio

Thomas J. Story

“We say come to our place in Hollywood where we can talk about the philosophies around design and architecture, and how it relates to the era of wines that we champion,” Kashy says. “It’s just a continuation of the dialogue around mid-century culture.”

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