Rock Row by the Heyday Partnership

This is Day 142 of the Slow Home Project and we need you to join us in our quest to evaluate the design quality of houses in nine North American cities in nine months. This week we are looking back at our time in Miami, and today we are very pleased to be releasing our video highlighting Rock Row by the Heyday Partnership; Slow Home Award winner in the category of Best Townhouse Design – Los Angeles.

Today we have a special segment for everyone! We are very pleased to be releasing the second video from the Los Angeles Slow Home Award winners. This video is of the “Rock Row” project, which won the Slow Home Award for best townhouse in Los Angeles. John and Matthew got to meet the people who designed and built this project, as well as got a personal tour of the almost completed building.

“Rock Row” was designed and built by the “Hey Day Partnership”, which is a design/ build firm founded by two brothers Kevin and Hardy Wronske. This project is a newly built, LEED certified, 15 unit development located in Eagle Rock, California, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. We loved the simplicity and elegance of this design and feel that it perfectly exemplifies the principals of Slow Home.

Enjoy the video and let us know what you think. Post a comment and share your opinion!

  • BradW

    John and Matthew – great video of a terrific project

    When you compare this project to the nominated work in Miami you realize what is truly deserving of a Slow Home Award.

  • Bell604

    The small lot subdivision is a very nice addition to the whole of the plan. Overall, the project looks well planned out. Hopefully we can see more of this quality of planning in other cities.

  • MollyK

    John & Matthew,
    What a great project…it exemplifies Slow Home philosophy and what truly deserves an award.
    BTW, the music in this video is much better…nicely woven into the background.:)

    Now, as for BradW…when the comment section came up the only words out of my mouth were “Oh my god.” Then I thought “Can it be?”…
    PLEASE say you have come back to the site. I wanted so much for you to chime in on the Slow Home Award nominations in Miami. (Gosh, maybe you did and I just didn’t know.) Anyway, tell me you’re back…

  • BradW

    MollyK – you will hear more from me in Philly

    I think my comment above says it all regarding the Miami nominations…if these places get a Slow Home award I’ve got a dog house in my backyard that deserves consideration…

  • JPHH

    Miami needs some developers like the Hayday Partnership. They have done a really nice job on this project. Lots of developers should take notes.

  • JessicaD

    What a fantastic project! They’ve incorporated so many different elements into this project, which makes it very deserving of this nomination. The small lots and use of terraces/patios are two of the most exciting ideas I’ve seen so far.

  • PeterB

    Very nice work done here. Its nice to hear they arn’t worried about taking over the world and would rather take their time to make sure a project is done right, not just fast. What sets these guys apart than anybody in Miami, I think would be their concentration on environmental performance. This building had everything, as well as even elements I didn’t know existed.

  • Terri

    I like your choice of “dog house,” because I’d been thinking that Miami was a “dog’s breakfast” for design. The prices were generally better than LA across the board, but is that a good excuse for lousy design?

  • Terri

    Great to hear Keven Wronske talking about his partnership in Hey Day with his brother Hardy. By keeping it simple and being personally invested in their projects they’re building sustainably. I particularly liked the use of his word “responsible,” as it seems to me that this is the characteristic missing from so much of the irresponsible fast housing market.

    Good work, Matthew and John, and to the Slow Homers who voted for Rock Row way back when. I only wish we could have “walked through” the interior space with a camera…

  • MarisaM

    The video is great guys! Gives me some hope since this development was in LA. LA has the image around it of sprawl and bigger the better, well that is how I think of LA.

    I am glad you got an interview with the home builders, they seemed like a good team. Would they consider building outside of LA?

  • Athena

    I love that complex! Especially the terrace at the top of the stairs, so beautiful. I found it really interesting how they homes are not completely attached, that’s cool how they own that land then. Great Project!

  • MollyK

    Oh, how I’ve missed you…can’t wait to hear from you in Philly. :)

  • Murray

    It’s good to see how the theory works in practice.

  • bbhorner

    Wow.. after the abysmal townhouses in Miami this project was really refreshing and inspiring. I really appreciate Heyday’s hands on approach to residential housing and keeping their company small in order to maintain their control over projects. As Kevin said in the clip, “they are not trying to take over the world”. I wish more development companies would follow in their foot steps and put the extra effort in to make great future homes for people instead of throwing up four walls and a roof.

  • Cnick

    I thought that was really interesting! Thanks for posting. I had never heard of small lot subdivisions before so I thought that was a really cool idea. From looking at the units, I would never have thought that they were actually seperate lots. I liked the patios on all 3 levels as well. They were actually functional as well and could accomodate tables and furniture which is nice. This project was very deserving of the award for sure!

  • Mid America Mom

    Nice conversation in the video! Control from start to finish must be helpful to keep close to the original concept and plans.

    Thank you Steve for putting the piece together.

    Mid America Mom

  • Neogi

    Wow now that is what i call jaw dropping design. I love how they truly care about their projects and not simply the profits also i really appreciate what he mentions at the end, that they aren’t here to take over the world but just create beautiful designs. Just amazing. And i agree with John and Matthew, that by having all these different balconies they really do feel like separate outdoor rooms.

  • Theresa@NY

    Hello all,

    First off, I thank you for creating this site. I compliment John and Matthew for all the work that goes into this and all of you posters for your dedication and efforts. I don’t always get to look at everything but I do follow along loosley…

    I have a question about the small spaces between the buildings – are there any issues in implementing this practice? If I were considering buying one I’d worry about rot or decay or insect/vermin infestation or any number of other things that could go on in a tiny and inaccessible space. I suspect that the builder has figured this out but I’m curious as to how.

    Anyway, hat’s off to all of you. I really hope slow, well designed, well built, affordable homes get the attention they deserve.

  • John Brown



    You ask a very good question. This is the detail from the project brochure and it shows a metal flashing cap that extends over the top of the two side walls and the in between space. This should keep the water out. As for the rest we mentioned your question to the guys at the Heyday Partnership. Hopefully they will get back to all of us with a more complete answer.

  • Theresa@NY


    Thanks for your reply, I look forward to their answer too. “Small lots” is such a good idea I think it might take off if regulatory agencies allow it and potential home owners become aware of it. It’s a much freer way to live rather than having to worry about HOA boards, assessments, fees, approvals, etc.

  • Dan M

    This project is wonderful, too bad I didn’t know about it when I was in LA last month or I’d have gone to see it.
    It really boggles the mind when people are lining up to buy properties like this (and for around the median price), yet most cities (and Miami really showed this) are not developing properties like this at all.
    I could totally see this in Calgary, but I am not sure it would get through the permit stage, we tend to have a fear of density… maybe it isn’t just us and that is why you don’t see so much of this.

  • Mid America Mom

    John or Matthew- would this lot type be the freehold townhome style we saw in some Toronto new development?

    Mid America Mom

  • Hilda

    This project is awesome! I can’t even begin to describe my joy upon hearing that all hope is not lost in housing design…there are actually people like “taking it slow”, and using the word “being responsible” when it comes to building houses! Totally agreeing with everyone that this project deserve the award. Thank you so much for showing this video!

  • autobrad

    The small lot subdivision looks to be the best of all worlds. You get a low maintenance unit that where you can lock the door and head for the airport of the spur of the moment and you own dirt and not have to deal with the headache of condo boards. Dan interesting comment about permitting. What aspects would be difficult in Calgary?

  • SangeetaG

    I’m am very impressed firstly by the kind of projects these two young men have designed. It’s simple, clean design and great thought put into environmental performance, something terribly lacking in Miami house designs. The small lot subdivision is a neat concept. With what we saw in Miami, they would probably design 4 homes in the whole lot and build higher. With the shallow nature of the townhouses, they make efficient use of available land, with the provision of multiple outdoor spaces. The townhouse is a great package deal. Let’s hope we find more of these in the near future!

  • Mid America Mom

    **** Online tour of an open concept home by housebrand (the firm Matthew, John, and Carina have) that is part of the Alberta Ballet House & Garden Tour. ****

    Here :

    I liked that barn door and the back splash. Good work on the video Matthew (and nice to see you not in black ;) ) !

    Mid America Mom

  • Kadoman

    I’m super impressed by the Wronske brothers. Essentially, that is what I think the whole building industry needs to turn to. No large corporation type builders who use massive plots of land to make a quick buck. But small, intelligent and responsible (environmentally and socially) firms who develop lands with those goals in mind.

    I am a very big fan of the multiple patio’s. As we’ve seen in Miami, townhomes are terrible for lighting. Thus it is great to see some intelligent design to help solve that problem.

    I also find the small lot idea fascinating. So many people are terrified by having close neighbors, but also worry about not owning land. It seems like a neat compromise.

  • Anonymous

    I jotted down some thoughts as I was watching the video and here they are….
    Selling out in a month is great because it show people are appreciating the quality of design.
    Small lot is a very attractive idea for me, I would love to own a part of this project or something similar. There really is an allure to owning your own land but that is very difficult to do in a sustainable way. Great accomplishment here.
    This video was very well done. I really enjoyed the break down of this amazing design.
    46 outdoor balconies for 15 homes is wonderful.
    I really admire what Heyday is doing, seeing the project through from beginning to end, and working on reasonably sized projects that they can really dig into is great.

    Cheers everyone.

  • Allie G

    I absolutely love this project. The whole idea and concept is fantastic, especially the environmental procedures. Honestly, if I were able to, that’s the kind of place I would want to live. Gives me a lot of hope that there are real slow homes out there – and they can be appreciated!

  • Neogi

    i think more developers should really model themselves around their philosophy as it is very effective. I am simple smitten with this design, and i can understand why they sold out so quickly.

  • Andrew

    I really like the clean exterior form and how the exterior spaces are so well connected with the interior – the interior spaces help define exterior spaces, and vise-versa. It’s also refreshing to see such a strong emphasis on environmental design. I particularly like the unique permeable driveway.

  • Deng

    This is an amazing development, especially the fact that it is LEED certified.
    I really like the idea of small lots, and vertical yards!
    This should be more practiced throughout North America.

  • DJS

    Really neat to see what a slow home looks like. Finally a housing project that takes into account location and environmental concerns. Having several balconies allows for more outdoor space without having too much overhang.

  • Anna in Asheville

    All I can say is I am one proud mom of these 2 builders!!

  • Lia Aquino

    I enjoyed the analyses and commentary in this video. I also liked the editing. I’m very happy for heyday. I was one of the first occupants (unit 4!) in their first project in Echo Park the rental units my roomies and I lovingly referred to as “Patton”. They have contributed positively to the communities they have built in.