By Alex Treaster | Houzz
For years, a Los Angeles woman dreamed about creating an urban oasis where she and her husband could escape to enjoy the beauty of nature at the end of each day. Then, on her birthday one year, her husband surprised her by purchasing a 1-acre lot near Coldwater Canyon. With the help of Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, the couple embarked on a journey that transformed the narrow, elongated property with a modern home that celebrates both nature and the lives lived inside.
Houzz at a Glance
- Who lives here: An empty-nester couple
- Location: Beverly Hills, California
- Size: 6,500 square feet
- Designers: Takashi Yanai and Megan Lawler of EYRC Architects
The back story: When the couple purchased the property, they originally envisioned the project as a remodel. However, after consulting with architect Takashi Yanai, they decided to remove the existing house and guesthouse to fully embrace the length of the long, slender lot. “We pushed it [the new guesthouse] as far back as we could in the property. That maximized the space in between the main house and the back house, and that really became the central outdoor space of the property,” Yanai says. “It’s the outdoor space which really ties the whole piece together.”
The central courtyard, which contains a pool and a garden, also incorporates the natural landscape with a rugged, tumbling hill. Early on, architects Yanai and Megan Lawler observed that unlike other homes in the area, the property is not a “view lot” offering valley and horizon panoramas.
Instead, the property offered an opportunity to create a more secluded, retreat-like setting. For Yanai, Lawler and landscape architecture company GSLA Studio, that meant accentuating the lot’s natural features. “One of the main landscape strategies was to celebrate the wild nature of this hillside,” Lawler says. As the project evolved, the hillside played an important role in the design of the home as well.
Within the main house, rooms and windows direct the viewer’s gaze back to nature and the central courtyard. “That central area really is the gem of the whole property. It’s meant to be the central focus,” Lawler says. “The living room and dining room open up [to the courtyard] with large glass doors.”
As a result, Yanai says, the landscape subconsciously becomes a part of the homeowners’ daily experience. “You feel the sunlight coming through the glass, you see the branches and leaves moving in the wind, and you’re still indoors,” Yanai says. This continuous blurring of the indoor-outdoor environment accentuates the sanctuary effect of the property.
The indoor-outdoor connection is carried throughout the kitchen in several ways. On one end of the room, a wall-to-wall glass window showcases a bamboo garden. “If you look out the window, you’re getting this great light and all of this greenery,” Lawler says.
The bamboo also provided inspiration for the countertops. When a previously selected countertop stone became unavailable, Lawler happened upon an even better solution. “In the end, we found this stone that’s kind of wild and green, and she [the homeowner] loved it. And it looked like the bamboo that was outside. It was this really pretty parallel that looked like it should be there,” Lawler says.
Out of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen proved to be the most important to the homeowner, providing a space for her to cure her own meats and prepare vegetables from the courtyard’s garden. White Designer Kitchen Ideas and Inspiration.
Cabinets: Poliform; countertops: verde bamboo
In addition to bringing a sense of the outdoors into the home, Yanai and Lawler wanted the house to reflect the personalities of the homeowners. “That includes celebrating the two people that live here, but also their art they have collected over the years, and their furniture,” Yanai says.
Furnishings: Eames pieces already owned by homeowners; rug: already owned by homeowner; floor: polished concrete; wall paint: Whisper, Dunn-Edwards
With Eames furniture, warm spot colors and geometric shapes, the living room is minimal, yet straightforward and inviting. “It’s a vessel that celebrates the intersection between the clients and their site,” Yanai says. Contemporary Living Room Furniture to Match Your Personality.
The dining area, situated in the same large room as the living area, also subtly bridges the outdoor-indoor connection. The natural light and white walls on one end blend seamlessly into the darker brick on the other end. The brick, like other building materials in the home, was selected for its durability and ease of maintenance.
Brick: medium-dark smooth blend
The master bedroom, located on the second floor of the home, carries through many of the same sensibilities as the lower level. Yanai says the bedroom’s large glass windows help to maximize the sense of the outdoors and orient the room’s view back toward the central courtyard.
In the bathroom, materials were selected for being honest and humble in nature, but also interesting and beautiful, Lawler says. Bring a Stylish Shower Bench to the Bathroom.
Countertops: Super Thassos glass slab; cabinets: birch wood, custom built by Hirsch Custom Cabinets; floor: gritblasted, Baycliff Lord, Burlington Stone
Entry and Exterior
Ultimately, the galvanized metal became an important material in establishing the indoor-outdoor connection. “The galvanized metal in the entry, as well as on the backside of the house, wraps from the outside and comes inside,” Lawler says. This approach, repeated in other areas with the brick and stucco, creates several dynamic transitions to the outdoor environment.
The vision for the property works largely because it uses the lot’s unusual dimensions and wild landscape to its advantage, and then brings those qualities into the home. Despite being just a few feet away from other homes in the neighborhood, Lawler says, the homeowners regularly feel as if they are coming home to a “bucolic, serene setting.”
Builder: All Coast Construction
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