Beverly Hills, CA

Completion Date: 2006
Area: 9,500 square feet

As an aficionado of mid-century furniture, the owner desired a house that would serve as a backdrop to many period pieces while complimenting their spare beauty. A modern, yet functional design capitalizes upon the city views from major rooms of the house, taking care to maintain maximum height ceilings throughout. The ground floor is laid out as an open plan that seems to visually expand as a wide hallway extends into the spaces on either side and terminates in the media room. Doors, windows, and glass walls extend to the ceiling, continuing the feeling of spatial openness. At night the Los Angeles city skyline is awash in multi-colored lights, crystal clear through the floor-to-ceiling glass.

The organizing element for the second floor is a ten-foot wide gallery lit by a continuous row of clerestory windows to maximize both daylight and the views provided by the open ends of the gallery. To the east is a view of the hillside planted with diagonal rows of flax, to the west is an expansive view across an adjacent canyon to the ocean. The major design elements in the room are staggered partition walls set to create an Art Deco feel that is carried out by the geometrically inspired furniture and larger than life art pieces that completely cover each wall section. The modern theme is further accomplished by a floating, clear staircase connecting the two floors, screened on one side by more bold rectangles and squares fitted into a wall of windows.

Several constraining factors had to be considered in the design: the site is a steeply sloping hillside property, previously occupied by a single-story flat roofed house with a kidney-shaped pool and overgrown landscaping. Therefore, the footprint of the structure needed to conform to the preexisting one. The overall height of the property was limited to 23’ to ensure privacy on an adjacent lot; site access could occur at one point only where the steep hillside road and the existing level pad meet at the southwest corner of the property.

The design solution includes a light grey terrazzo, white plaster walls and ceilings, mosaic tile and teak doors offset by splashes of color in furnishings, artwork and fixtures. On the second floor, a chocolate-colored hardwood floor provides a subtle amount of warmth to the more private portions of the house. As for the exterior, the hardscape consists of alternating bands of washed and smooth grey concrete, offering textural complexities, while the deck flows seamlessly from the floor of the living room, kitchen and office to the infinity-edge pool. A suspended aluminum awning was added to provide solar protection to the south facing doors. The upper walls are sheathed in natural wood panel on a phenolic core, while the lower walls are sage-colored smooth troweled stucco.