Architects: Studio Pali Fekete architects
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Project Team: Zoltan Pali, FAIA, Judit Fekete, Siddhartha Majumdar, Brian Di Maggio, Mark Meyer, Matt Lunn, Yvonne Wong, Gregory Fischer, Richard McNamara
Structural Engineer: John Labib and Associates
Landscape Architect: Korn Randloph Landscape Architects
Contractor: William Kent Development Inc.
Project Area: 418 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: John E. Linden
With a long, narrow span of angled “fins” lining its sleek façade from the street, the Caverhill house looks monumental, albeit a stealth monument. Entering beneath the canopy of the carport, one is transported into the main living space, is full of air and light. The fins provide privacy from the street, while playfully welcoming and diffusing narrow strips of light onto the home’s interior surfaces. The result is a beautiful dance of sunshine that changes throughout the day.
The home replaced a smaller house on the difficult hillside lot, maximizing both the narrow footprint and the spectacular views of the Los Angeles basin. A hillside building ordinance and a desire to keep the previous structure’s footprint made the project a challenge – the lot is more of a wedge shape than a parallelogram. As a result, the plan is a modified wedge, one end of the house almost twice as wide as the other.
The main entrance is on the second of three levels, where the living room flows openly into the kitchen and dining area. These communal spaces and the bedrooms on the upper level are punctuated on each end by over 1,000 square feet of generous covered terraces and balconies. Each cove is protected from the sun and wind but still open to views.
Simplicity was the goal of both the architect and the client. Steel framing allowed for a fully-open plan, free from interior walls or vertical supports obstructing the views. The result is a clean viewing angle of the exterior from almost any spot in the house. All of the house controls — heating, cooling, lighting, window shades, security and more — are contained within a control panel near the front door. Ductwork was eliminated by the use of an Airfloor System, which heats or cools rooms through a series of dome-like structures beneath the micro-finished concrete floor surface.
The upper level can be accessed either through the interior stair, or through exterior staircases located on either end of the house, incorporating the terraces into the main circulation flow of the home. Bathroom vanities float above the floor, the electrical outlets tucked below, out of sight.
“In Japanese painting you have one brush stroke that gets branch, leaves and flowers,” says owner, Don Caverhill. “That’s what we were hoping for — to have less things do a whole lot more.”
The lowest level of the house, set on the slope below street level, contains two guest rooms, a lawn and a patio with a long fire pit running toward an infinity pool.