A 1960s postcard shows a Newport Beach, California, building in its early heyday. Hot-pink letters across the facade spell out 'The Stuft Shirt,' the original tenant, in a mod, Summer-of-Love font. But the soundtrack is clearly Sinatra, not rock; and this restaurant's interior decor is more stuffed-shirt than hip, with Old World drapes and seriously nouveau-riche chandeliers. A succession of restaurants would eventually replace the Stuft Shirt'each more at odds than its predecessor with the structure's underlying Modernist design.
By late 2009, when Los Angeles architect Paul Davis began transforming the 8,100-square-foot interior into a new home for A'maree's'an unusually laid-back high-fashion emporium'he found the once clean-lined spaces masquerading as a neo-Aztec-faux-Casablancan extravaganza. After the last restaurant, the discouraged owner, a wealthy real estate investor, left the place vacant for 13 years; maintaining the exterior, he resisted interested parties, awaiting tenants he trusted to value the original design.
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