Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Structural Engineer: Lukas Quach, Axial Engineering, Van Nuys, CA
Landscape Design: Laurel Stutsman
General Contractor: Becker General Contractors
Project area: 367 sqm
Project year: 2007 – 2009
Photographs: David Lena Photography
Nestled in the heart of Cheviot Hills, this house on Kilrenney Avenue sits deftly on its hillside site. IKONIKO partnered with the builder Becker General Contractors to develop this as a speculative project in this upscale west Los Angeles neighborhood. An existing single story house and disconnected garage, built in 1960, served as the starting point of the design. In order to be environmentally sensitive, the design preserved the existing building’s exterior walls, floor slab and foundations. This also allowed the existing home to take full advantage of the dramatic views from its corners.
Because the other existing houses in the area sit closer to the street, the current zoning allowed this new design to be built in the front portion of the site. This allowed the architecture to have a dramatic, modern expression while mitigating the sloping front yard and maximizing the private rear yard. A new entrance, placed at an intermediate level, connects the renovated garage to the new living room with a new staircase. This new living room serves as the main viewing platform in the house. Frameless glass walls soar to 12 feet (3.7 m), wrapping the room on three sides, taking in the expansive views of the lush foliage in the neighborhood. A sleek, wood paneled ceiling hovers over the living room and the kitchen, connecting the spaces architecturally, while containing the crucial recessed lighting and ventilation ducts. The centrally located kitchen overlooks the main living room and is able to take advantage of the views to the south while maintaining a degree of privacy with a change in level.
Ascending to the main level, one is greeted with an expansive view to the rear yard. Glass doors slide away to seamlessly integrate the living spaces with outdoors. A generous patio space under the master bedroom provides a cool place to relax in the shade while taking in the California sun. The glass walls at both ends of the house are designed to be open to the gentle sea breezes, allowing the house to naturally ventilated most days of the year.
In order to preserve the views to the rear yard, an open steel staircase drips down from the upper level, inviting visitors to come upstairs. The cantilevered treads are clad in solid walnut, matched to the kitchen cabinets. The stair leads past the double height glass wall, allowing one to take in the view of the minimalist landscape in the rear courtyard. At the top, the master suite moves into the rear yard. This private retreat features a generous open plan with free-standing closets and private balcony.
The master bath is a minimalist expression in marble and glass. North-facing windows over the two-seater tub allow soothing light to enter, but are placed high enough to maintain privacy. An upper level media room spills out with a large balcony over the living room below. This balcony connects across the front of the house to two of the bedrooms. Deep overhangs shade these southern-facing windows, keeping the house cool.