Nakahouse / XTEN Architecture

© Steve King

Architect: XTEN Architecture
Location: , , USA
Project Team: Monika Haefelfinger, Principal; Austin Kelly, AIA, LEED AP, Principal; Monika Haefelfinger, Austin Kelly, Scott Utterstrom, Jae Rodriguez, Qichen Cao, Karin Nelson, Joseph Tran, Karin Von Wyl
General Contractor: NWGC, INC.
Structural Engineer: Axial Engineering Group
Geotech: CY Geotech
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 2700 sqf
Photographs: Steve King

© Steve King

Nakahouse is an abstract remodel of a 1960′s hillside home located on a West facing ridge in the Hollywood Hills, just below the Hollywood sign. To the South and West are views of the Beechwood Canyon; to the East is a protected natural ravine, with a view of Griffith Park Observatory in the distance.

© Steve King

The existing home was built as a series of interconnected terraced spaces on the downslope property. Due to geotechnical, zoning and budget constraints the foundations and building footprint were maintained in the current design. The interior was completely reconfigured however, and the exterior was opened up to the hillside views and the natural beauty of the surroundings. A large terrace was added to link the kitchen/ dining area with the living room, with a steel stair leading to a rooftop sundeck. Terraces were also added to the bedroom wing and the upper master bedroom suite to extend the interior spaces through floor to ceiling glass sliding panels that disappear into adjacent walls when open.


The exterior walls are finished in a smooth black Meoded ventetian plaster system, designed to render the building as a singular sculptural object set within the lush natural setting. A series of abstract indoor-outdoor spaces with framed views to nature are rendered in white surfaces of various materials and finishes; lacquered cabinetry, epoxy resin floors and decks and painted metal.

© Steve King

The contrast between the interior and exterior of the house is intentional and total. While the exterior is perceived as a specific finite and irregular object in the landscape the opposite occurs inside the building. Once inside the multitude of white surfaces blend the rooms together, extending ones sense of space and creating a heightened, abstract atmosphere from which to experience the varied forms of the hillside landscape.

© Steve King
© Steve King
© Steve King
© Steve King
© Steve King
Cite: "Nakahouse / XTEN Architecture" 07 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    A bold statement to use the white color for the interior and the opposing black color for the exterior, but the choice works well, especially for the interior because the white color gives the sense of a larger space and void. Also the black plaster for the exterior makes the structure more as a singular sculptural object, creating a harmony between the house and the hillside.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    If architecture is to be considered, then the total white in the interior do bring out the amazing surrounding site to declare a powerful statement. However, if the human factor, the user, is considered, the brightness of the entire space creates an uncomfortable sense all around.

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