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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Tribute to Cleo Baldon

This week we honor the late Cleo Baldon, a renowned architect who passed away earlier this month at the age of 87. Our CEO Gerald Olesker had the pleasure of working with her early in his career, and had some thoughts to share.


We all take that moment and pause – look to the sky and consider that pondering is part of the creative aspect. Some employers hate that, but I learned early on with Sid Galper & Cleo Baldon that design is a considered part of the environment.

Many of us sit in the Jacuzzi® and relax. But what if those comfy chaises built into the spa were not there? Well, thanks to Cleo and Sid they are. From iron hardware to the refurbished bungalows around Venice and Santa Monica (owned by Sid and Cleo) many of us had the opportunity to learn and craft our skills in a time past. They designed hardware, furniture, landscapes, spec houses, one of the first solar and passive houses in the Malibu Colony area, and many other items that we all look to for inspiration.

Galper/Baldon offered an office experience to me that shaped the beginning of my career. Picture being a young twentysomething in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Now everyday your office experience was sitting on the second story, corner window with a view up and down the Venice boardwalk. How did I ever get any work done? I called clients, from the Society of Architecture Historians to the rich and famous, across Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Malibu and all over. I remember working on museums to having a great run with Sid, meeting people like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I remember Cleo inking the deal for her book on Stairs and Stairways (photo consultation by Julius Shulman). Always inspiring.


Well, that is inspirational. Looking up and pondering, walking down the hall of the renovated Orthodox synagogue to the Galper Baldon Design Studio and challenging Cleo Baldon to a verbal dual. Most employees, after receiving the loudest and most verbose tongue lashing, would never attempt to challenge Cleo. Sid, on the other hand, was gentle, unless you knew the stories of his high school students receiving another kind of tongue tied swell up from plant matter. Sid was grandfathered in as a landscape architect with his ID number in the single digits.

Business with a partnership, it was always – go to Sid for the kind response and Cleo for the downright straight up design critique of a lifetime.

This yin and yang is what ran one of the top landscape and design firms in the country. I had the good fortune of learning form Sid early on, that when a tree would fall over, just replace it, then go to the client and work out the billing. The high profile clients still love him.

Now Cleo always had her wits about her, and how better to learn that challenge the best. One day, being that smartass twentysomething, I said “Cleo, how the heck can an interior designer design landscapes?”  Her answer was concise and with a smile. She told me that space was space. I have taken that with me for the last 25 years, lighting and manufacturing lights and elements for properties from curbside to poolside©. Just a small part of my lessons from Cleo Baldon and Sid Galper.

Now, working on competition drawings for the Stanley Black residence, you know the one with the statues all around the front yard on Sunset at a Dead Man’s curve, and learning from the staff how to render, I received quite the education early on. And with Sid, a lesson in business of how to deal with clients and always return a phone call in 24 hours. Today, I am looking to the sky to say a sad, but warm, goodbye to Cleo Baldon.

I am a chair junkie. I love the versatility of chairs. A pinnacle was when my wife and I rescued 3 Tara Chairs, from the trash crusher with the original rawhide straps and cushions. This design is one of the most versatile designs and sought after chairs on Well, why not, Cleo made sure that whether indoors or out, you would be comfortable. She constantly improved on the design from chair to sofa to table to seat to bar stool to strapping to cushions.

Goodbye Cleo, Goodbye Sid – your designs live on and are enjoyed by all.

“Enjoy the picture series, and next time you ponder, just know that ‘space is space’ and looking up or into a landscape or back into a home, someone yelled at someone and the design was born. Some one yelled at someone and the design was fabricated. And some one calmed the other down to say, just take a seat and enjoy, and ponder…” Gerald Olesker 

Baldon Book

Reflections on the Pool: The Best of California Design by Cleo Baldon

The Fundamentals of Lighting

Do you understand how different types of lighting can work together in your home? Ideally, you want to use a variety of lighting types to achieve a dazzling yet functional aesthetic. Here’s a quick rundown of the three basic types of lighting:

Ambient: Providing an area with overall illumination, this hidden source of lighting fills a room and produces a glow. Ideally it should blend into the surroundings. Ambient lighting can be achieved with chandeliers or wall-mounted fixtures.

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Task: Pretty straightforward, this lighting provides light for a function such as reading or cooking. Task lighting can be provided through pendant, recessed or track lighting – or even a simple table lamp! The right kind of task lighting should prevent eye strain and be free of any glare.

Country Kitchen Lighting Inspiration Mark Weaver ADG Lighting Copy


Accent: The lighting helps draw the eye to specific fixtures or elements such as paintings or sculptures. It can also be used outdoors to highlight landscaping or unique architecture. Accent lighting can be provided by fixtures such as wall sconces or track lighting.

La Mesa 6 Copy

Knowing when to use each type in your home or space can really make the difference in the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve. Need some assistance? Give us a call at (818) 597-9494 or shoot us an email at for a consultation.

Bringing East Coast Luxury to the Palisades

Gerald Olesker and the team at ADG Lighting recently had the opportunity to work on the restoration of a historic 1937 East Coast Traditional home in the Pacific Palisades. This $19 million spec home, restored by Shain Development, is a sprawling 11,000 square foot estate with 7 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. Featuring a gourmet kitchen, a butler’s pantry, wine room, and massive views, the estate is the ultimate combination of luxury and sophistication. Learn more about the property.

Greg Shain, proprietor of Shain Development, is a second generation home builder who grew up in the business of developing high-end custom homes. Working alongside wife Grace, the couple works under the simple principle that no two designs are alike. The duo has completed over 21 homes in the Brentwood and Pacific Palisades areas.

Greg, Grace, and Gerald — a true collaboration on lighting with a triple G! The team was also fortunate enough to work with Silverman Roofing, one of the best roofers in town.


Follow our blog for the latest updates on our projects and designs!


Corona del Mar Home Tour

We’re gearing up for the annual Corona del Mar Home Tour! The event takes place next Tuesday, October 14th from 10 am – 4 pm. The CDM tour includes a light breakfast, lunch, an afternoon reception, and of course the opportunity to view beautiful homes!

Our geometric pendants will be making a guest appearance in one of the homes, under remodel in the renowned Port Streets area. These can be made in any configuration. They will be available at 503 Found. Ask for the 10% CDM discount, available this month only! We honor it for custom orders as well.


Our geometric pendants at a home remodel in Corona del Mar

Learn more about the Corona del Mar Home Tour on their website. For information on our other pieces, visit ADG Lighting.

Celebrate the Arrival of Fall

Fall has arrived, and although we’re still experiencing triple digit heat here in Los Angeles, we know the rest of the country gets to experience the true, authentic feeling of autumn and all the sights and sounds that it brings.

Needless to say, we’re quite happy to assist our clients with their decor and lighting needs.

Planning for an outdoor gathering that needs just the right amount of lighting to go with the fall foliage? Need the right accent lighting for that new piece of artwork? Here are a few samples from our portfolio to get those creative juices flowing:

We will provide a consultation at your home or job site — call us at (818) 594-9797 or email us at