The City of Angels is also the city of architectural dreams. And Los Angeles homes are a joy – from iconic Modernist residences (hello, Garcia House and Moore House – see below), to minimalist mansions, and fascinating renovations and reinventions of existing historic fabric, to completely new contemporary homes, large and small, in all shapes and sizes. Bathed in sunlight under California blue skies and at the forefront of their domain, these homes are rich and diverse, representing the best of Los Angeles architecture.
Amazing Los Angeles Homes
Hollywood Hills House by Envelope Architecture + Design
Photography: Matthew Millman
The slopes of rolling Los Angeles suburbs are home to some of the world’s finest Modernist residences – think Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No 22 and John Lautner’s Chemosphere House. That’s what a couple – an interior designer and a contractor – had in mind when they started looking for a family home. Their search led them to unlikely terrain in the Hollywood Hills, ragged, empty, and bordering on a nature preserve. The steep slope, while still offering striking views, was almost unbuildable. Called for help, architect Douglas Burnham, director of Envelope Architecture + Design at Berkeley, was not fazed. Customers took over the land, and with it the ability to build from scratch in the hills, to create a contemporary response to these modernist classics. The architects secured the slope and landscape designer Matthew Brown re-fortified the site with native species. Soon a curious green volume began to spring from the foliage. The team enveloped the site in a wall of sculpted concrete, but this bright, cantilevered upper volume makes the house hard to miss. “There is an exuberance in the architecture of LA,” says Burnham. “There is room to experiment. The shade of green came from the customer’s preferences, but also from the canopy of the trees – although ours is largely an artificial green. ‘ The Hollywood Hills home has almost no conventionally shaped rooms. “The floor plan is very angled and faceted, few parallels or perpendiculars,” says Burnham. “We’ve tried to improve movement in the house, so it’s about spaces of movement and flow. This takes place in plan but also in section, with the volume of the main chamber slightly inclined, leaving more room for the space below. Broken geometry gives a relaxed and informal feeling.
Cove Way by Sophie Goineau
Photography: Michael Clifford
A historic mid-century Beverly Hills home by Alfred Wilkes has been restored by interior designer Sophie Goineau. Cove Way, a Californian residence set in the middle of a green park, was originally built in 1957 in keeping with the modernist architectural traditions of the time. Today, after two years of meticulous research and construction work, the house has regained its former glory – with a 21st century twist, while drawing on themes from great modernists, such as Richard Neutra, Harold Levitt and Mies van der Rohe and a minimalist ‘less is more’ approach. Goineau worked on refreshing the existing elements and opening up the space while maintaining the important overall aesthetics and philosophy of the structure. The house, which covers approximately 5,000 m² and has four bedrooms, is made up of an arrangement of straight and curved lines and expanses of glass that open onto the green gardens and the swimming pool outside. The pronounced overhangs of a flat roof enhance the vertical feel and visually extend the low volumes elegantly.
Moore House by Woods + Dangaran
Photography: Joe Fletcher
This 1965 Craig Ellwood home in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles has been given a new lease of life with a full restoration by Los Angeles architecture studio Woods + Dangaran. Called Moore House, the house brings together the best that California modernism has to offer; mid-century interiors, open-plan spaces, crisp, crisp volumes that are softened by the use of wood, architectural gardens and glass expanses that provide a long view of the cityscape beyond. When the team received the commission, the house was in poor condition, recalled Brett Woods and Joseph Dangaran. The two co-founders of the boutique architecture firm have to their credit a multitude of high-quality modernist-inspired homes, such as their recent Carla Ridge residence. Here, “the house envelope is improved to preserve the longevity of the structure and meet contemporary performance standards,” they explain.
Garcia House by John Lautner
Photography: Roger Davies
Perched nimbly on one side of the Hollywood Hills along Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, John Lautner’s futuristic Garcia House is one of the most enduring specimens of the Mid-Century Modern movement. Completed in 1962 for jazz musician, conductor and Hollywood composer Russell Garcia and his wife Gina, the almond-shaped house is also well known for the steel caissons that hoist it 60 feet above the canyon. below that it is for its part in the years 1989 Lethal weapon 2, where he seems to fall apart in a blow to the villains of the film. Special effects and fame aside, the Garcia House, which indeed stands tall and tall, is now a part of living history, with its V-brackets, parabolic roof and stained glass windows. The current owners of the house, director of entertainment business John McIlwee and Broadway producer Bill Damaschke, have been on a mission to restore and revive the house since they bought it in 2002, while also keeping it there. living full time. Wallpaper * first featured on the house in our January 2009 issue (W * 118), when McIlwee and Damaschke were enjoying the fruits of their ambitious restoration efforts. “When we first saw the place in 2002, it was a bit of a mess,” McIlwee now remembers. “It was 25 years of neglect. Structurally, the house was perfect. The whole house rests on caissons and no part touches the ground. However, the roof was a big problem because it had deteriorated, ”he continues. “There was a leak through a window and she ate through part of the house. We went in, took out an old carpet, painted the house and lived there for a year. This was essential for us as we would have made different decisions if we had tried to get the job done before moving in. Writer: Pei-Ru Keh. Artistic direction: Michael Reynolds
Curson Residence by Nwankpa Design
Photography: Jess Isaac
Transforming an existing home to contemporary requirements while retaining a sense of a building’s original character and intention is no small feat. To do all of this during a pandemic is even more impressive. Achieving that balance between the old and the new, in the face of the challenges posed by local blockages and various other restrictions, is something architect Susan Nwankpa Gillespie has achieved in her latest project, Curson Residence. The project, completed by the architect’s studio, Los Angeles-based Nwankpa Design, involved the redesign of a 1920s storybook-style home in the city, which was artfully delivered by a design team and building made up entirely of women of color during the Covid -19 lockdown of 2020. The house featured a distinctive roof with steep slopes and a prominent tapered chimney facing the street. Nwankpa Gillespie worked with the main features of the original structure – such as its defining roof outline – to enhance its architectural presence on the exterior, but also its functionality and sense of space on the interior. Maintaining most of the roof, the architect pushed back the walls to add an additional 400 square feet to the existing 1,000 square foot home. The smart landscaping around the building will soon become a mature garden, adding a touch of nature to the urban site.
Monon Guesthouse by Jérôme Byron
Photography: Jess Isaac
A curious wooden structure has emerged in a back garden in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz. Nestled behind a hillside property, here is Monon Guesthouse, the latest work of Californian architectural designer Jerome Byron; and its unusual appearance and lodge-like nature resembling architectural folly was no coincidence. “As a commission, the guesthouse was meant to spark the creativity and imagination of the husband and wife, entrepreneur and writer, and their two young children,” says Byron. The guesthouse, spanning two levels and some 245 square feet, now sits amid lush foliage in a finely landscaped architectural garden. The levels, walkways and planting were designed by the LA Terremoto office, who first entered the site, reimagining it with a wild and graphic garden of cacti and herbs. The small cabin-like addition was then added among this natural environment.
Carla Ridge Residence by Woods + Dangaran
Photography: Joe Fletcher
Los Angeles architecture studio Woods + Dangaran has designed an idyllic hillside home nestled in one of the city’s famous green runs. Located in Trousdale Estates, the Carla Ridge Residence embodies the spirit of Los Angeles living, bringing together an urban lifestyle with spotting scopes, open spaces, and architecture that merges indoors and outdoors while making a snap. to classical modernism. With a generous 9,800 square feet and five bedrooms, and created for a local developer, the home is expansive. It is also a design that is completely in tune with its surroundings, combining an open and flowing interior for its common areas, with an array of outdoor spaces. There are courtyards, paved decks, sheltered outdoor pathways, architectural gardens, and a stunning double infinity pool with views to the east of downtown Los Angeles and to the west to the ocean. Peaceful. “The visitor experience is carefully choreographed,” says the team.
Positively negative by Dan Brunn
Photography: Brandon Shigeta
This minimalist California beach house is the brainchild of American architect Dan Brunn. The house, located right on the Venice Beach waterfront, is an ode to raw concrete and clean volumes, but was born out of pragmatism and functionality; Positively Negative, as the house is named, was created in direct response to “the harsh marine weather conditions and the densely populated environment of its location,” explains the architect. Showcasing a narrow facade and attempting to strike a healthy balance between natural light, privacy and outdoor space, the design of the house was conceived as a series of stacked cubes. The composition is quite complex but also feels right at home in the Los Angeles-based Brunn portfolio – the architect is well known for his clean, minimalist sculptural work.