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Meet Benjamin Page of Studio Functions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Benjamin Page.

Benjamin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Like many young people today, I graduated High School without knowing what I was good at and what skill defined me as a person. I wasn’t sure if I had anything to offer this world.

The first year of college I took as many elective classes as possible from film history, fencing to painting to see what my “true calling” might be. Just before I fully plunged into majoring in Art, I accidentally stumbled onto architecture and design, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture. It was one of the hardest but most fulfilling things I have ever accomplished in my life. However, looking back, the seeds of architecture and interior design were actually planted in my childhood, but lay dormant until emerging later. For 45 years, my mother owned a fashion retail chain and a fleet of funky theme restaurants that had a big impact on me while I was growing up. Design had always been there with me, I just wasn’t able to see what was right in front of me.

After a few years working for architecture and design firms upon graduating college, I didn’t feel I was being challenged enough, and the firm or the principle designer would always take credit for my work. My passion became just a “job”. Fearing that I would grow to hate something that I love so much, I decided to open my own design studio, Studio Functions, and took on clients. It was so liberating!

Six years ago, I decided to evolve my career once again by buying dilapidated houses and selling them after a full-on renovation. It was risky, but we entered the market with a fresh perspective and thorough understanding of the LA urban lifestyle. We designed environments, instead of just another cookie-cutter “flip”. Our work received tremendous positive feedback from buyers, agents, neighbors and the press for bringing positive energy back to the communities. Since then, the wheel has continued to turn in that direction.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The real estate market in LA has been a hot bed for investors and home buyers since 2010. At the time, I was able to discover the potential of less desirable homes that most buyers would just pass on, and that has always been the case for every house we worked on. The struggle continues for us as well as many potential home buyers in LA, as the real estate prices keep on climbing with no end in sight. Five years ago, there were still fixers selling in Northeast LA for $300-400K; now they start at $600K. The current high home prices put us and other home buyers at risk, so we are very selective on our investment projects. We’ve diversified our portfolio, working with rental properties and other investors to minimize any market hiccups. We are evolving just as the city of LA continues to reinvent itself.

Please tell us about Studio Functions.
Studio Functions is known for modern, functional, clean architectural interiors and landscape architecture that creates a dialog between interior and exterior elements. Our designed spaces utilize all of the potential a property has to offer, so there are no non-contributing “dead zones”.

We have worked and consulted on residential, retail, corporate and hospitality projects for clients that appreciate timeless modern design that allows their renewed spaces to have a positive impact on their lives. Unlike others in the market, we do not “copy and paste” just to rack up projects; our work is realized through careful conceptual development that ignores what is “trendy” at the moment. Each design is influenced by the individual site’s unique characteristics. This allows each of our designed environments to be one-of-a-kind and tailored to our clients’ specific needs.

I am most proud when looking back at some of our projects from 10-15 years ago, and how the aesthetic has remained modern and timeless. It is almost a spiritual experience, contributing positive changes to people’s lives through our design and making a difference in neighborhoods, as well as making new friends along the way.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have very fond memories of the 9 early childhood years I spent living with my grandparents in Miaoli County, Taiwan. It was in this small town with rolling hills as far as the eye can see that I learned how to build mud ovens in the rice fields after each harvest to cook sweet potatoes; fishing for crabs and shrimp in a meandering river nearby and catching and raising frogs from tiny tadpoles were other favorite pastimes. It was there that I grew to appreciate nature and all the wonderful plants and creatures we share our environment with. The townspeople were decent and warm, and they were able to appreciate the simplicity of life. It was a place where one’s status was measured by joy for life and kindness toward others.

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Image Credit:
Martha Benedict

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