Situated on the upper edge of a "mini-eucalyptus arroyo," this remodeled home in the exclusive Brentwood area of Los Angeles California, has, over the course of two major additions designed by the same architect within 15 years, evolved from a quaint 2000sf English cottage into a 6000sf warm, modern and sustainable family home … all the while maintaining the intimacy of the 1948 cottage.
In 2000, the owners sought to have a home in a nice Los Angeles neighborhood wherein they could raise their burgeoning family. The owners purchased a 1948 2000sf, single story, 2-bedroom English Cottage styled home (believed to have been originally owned by Yul Brynner) on a ½ acre hillside site, sloping downward away from the rear of the home, overlooking a mini eucalyptus arroyo. The owners loved their new location but were soon faced-with having to raise their new and growing family on a hillside with extremely limited yard spaces for children to play and in a location where nature is very close – deer as well as coyotes wander the arroyo.
The owners commissioned architect Richard Best to add 2500sf to the cottage and transform it into a home more fitting to their growing family’s needs. Subsequently, in 2014/15, the owners again commissioned Richard to create a 2-story master suite addition. Living in or visiting the completed project - the original 1948 home remodeled + the 2000 addition + the 2014/15 addition, one goes through an unexpected and delightful experience as the spaces of the home “unfold” to reveal intimacy and environmental immersion.
It was important to Richard and to the owners that their remodels and additions be appropriately designed to fit into the neighborhood and have the feel, scale, and soul of the original cottage. With this in-mind, Richard has interpreted the design intentions of the original cottage - “modernizing” the architectural vocabulary and creating open-plan, 2-story additions which promote site “engagement” at various floor levels and openness to the outdoors in a manner clearly inspired by the original cottage, yet modern.
At the front door of the original (still remains as it was) 1948 structure, one is presented with a quaint a low-slung entry which establishes a very comfortable sense of scale. Inside, the remodeled spaces of the original cottage exude comfort and a cozy sensibility evoked by the reuse of the original home’s exposed timber framing structure, open-plan circulation, and an inventive two-sided steel fireplace which acts as a room divider between the living room and a home office. Accordion wood doors connect these rooms to a newly formed outdoor rear patio. At this point one also gets ones first hint that something very interesting is happening just beyond – a glimpse of the 2000 & 2014/15 additions.
Moving from the original 1948 structure into the 2-story 2000 addition, one is greeted by a modern and open linear floor plan arrangement – a kitchen, casual dining and family room extend perpendicularly from the 1948 structure into the rear yard and down the hillside. The open framed cathedral ceiling and wood roof trusses establish a lofty feeling and a rhythm discretely separating the open rooms one from the other. Extensive use of windows and French doors connect the indoors to the outdoors and provide abundant natural lighting. This new appendage ends with a symmetrical family room which has no corners – it is a geometry composed of two overlapped squares - one rotated 45 degrees atop the other to create double opportunities for bay windows. The design not only connects the home to the desired exterior flat yards spaces, but it also takes full advantage of the sloping terrain by adding a floor below the original level so as to maintain a scale appropriate to the neighborhood. The exterior materials were chosen taking “hints” from the original 1948 structure – natural redwood siding, reused brick veneer and wood doors/windows all serving to aesthetically connect the addition back-to the spirit of the original structure.
By 2014/15 the owners’ family has fully blossomed - the children are now teenagers and there is a need for additional space. However, the owners are very content with their remodeled cottage and Richard’s 2000 addition – unsure how to add to a home which they feel is quite perfect as it is … wanting whatever changes are to be made to be sympathetic to it. They are also concerned about potential additions blocking-out their views of the eucalyptus arroyo. The owners approached Richard with trepidation – we love our perfect house but we need it to be a bit bigger and we don’t want to block-out the arroyo views or create a hemmed-in feeling – how can we add but still see the arroyo.
In response Richard created a private yet connected 1,150 square foot, 2-story master suite, which by its positioning, dynamic geometries and extensive glazing create the fourth side of the former rear patio, making it into exterior courtyard with views around and through the new addition into the arroyo. A dynamic angularity in the new master addition (inspired by the 2000 addition) simultaneously reduces the apparent size/presence of the master suite addition on the edge of the eucalyptus arroyo while creating framed views into the arroyo from the newly formed courtyard. The new master suite - a master bathroom, master closet and a master sleeping loft each having exterior decks and/or patios, is connected back to the 2000 addition via a glazed hallway which provides a sense of connectedness and privacy. A modern rustic aesthetic of exposed board-formed concrete, natural finished Corten steel exterior cladding, frameless metal windows, and clear finished Douglas Fir planks serve to “extend” the soul of the original cottage into the master suite.
The project is a highly sustainable design as well. Energy use is reduced by employing a high efficiency heat pump heating and cooling system, dual paned/gasketed metal window/door systems, natural lighting through a Kalwall skylight and generous exterior glazing with extensive eaves for shading, rigid roof insulation, and earthen backing – the lower floor is up-against the hillside which tends to even-out the day/night temperature differential.
Architecture & Interior Design: Richard Best Architect Inc.
Structural Engineering: Dan Echeto & David Choi Associates
Interior Decor: Noelle Schoop
Landscape: Connie Heitzman
Photos: Carmel McFayden and Adriano Sarmento / James Porschen
In March of 2009, The Rob B OPI Concept Salon was established to provide high-end manicure, pedicure and massage services using OPI Products, providing a comfortable atmosphere to enhance client’s physical appearance and soothe their souls within a “green” retail environment.
This eco-friendly Zen-like oasis respects the environment and makes people feel good. One can feel the difference when you cross the threshold - the freshness of the air, the balance of humidity and temperature, the calming of elegant natural materials and the acoustic privacy of a home.
The salon is filled with the most comfortable ergonomic furnishings. The design supports OPI's commitment to providing a stylish, healthy and safe salon environment and proudly uses the latest in salon sanitation procedures to ensure that the most stringent salon regulations are exceeded.
The ROB B OPI Concept Salon achieved LEED® Silver Certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies, including: 1) Reducing pollution, saving energy and reducing energy costs – by using high efficiency energy saving heating/cooling systems coupled with abundant fresh air ventilation, high efficiency lighting – LED (light-emitting diode) lamps and abundant daylighting and by using SMART Cars; 2) Improving human health – by implementing a Green Cleaning Program to reduce exposure to noxious chemicals; and 3) Conserving natural resources – by using rapidly renewable bamboo wood for cabinets & furniture and saving water by using drought tolerant landscaping and building with recycled construction materials.
The clients for this Los Angeles project were a young and growing family in-need of new spaces to accommodate additional family members, while living on a steep hillside.
The design embraces the challenging terrain by extending itself out into the sloping landscape. By doing so, the 2-story layout emerges from the hillside as the slope of the soils descends toward a stream, enabling multiple access points from inside of the home directly to the outdoors, making this otherwise unusable site useful and family friendly.
The design doubled the size of the existing home while maintaining its modest sense of place. The original understated cottage maintains its intimacy from the street view - only revealing its true grandeur unfolding before ones very eyes as one moves through the home front to rear.
The interior design features an abundance of inter-spatial connectedness, openness to the surrounding eucalyptus grove, naturally finished interior woods and a series of high spaces culminating in a unique 2-story master suite overlooking a dell.
The exterior styling is a modern interpretation inspired by the existing modest English Cottage to which this addition attached.
This 4,500 sf machine for living is composed of clean minimal forms. A quintessential Hollywood Hills home, the project sits as a sculpture in the landscape. The striking two story living room epitomizes hillside living with views of the Los Angeles basin as a backdrop. Inside, the marriage of natural woods, birch, beech, maple and fir collaborate with the shower of natural light to create a rich, warm and comfortable environment. The features of the home include a gourmet kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances and French limestone countertops, an elevator, computerized phone system, central vacuum, built-in stereo speakers.
This beachfront home offers unique design opportunities and complex environmental challenges. Relatively rare siting for homes, oceanfront sites present an almost mutually exclusive relationship between openness to the shear beauty of the place – the fine lines of drifting sand and the multicolored glow of the western setting sun, and resistance to the inherent danger of the place's natural elements – the rising tides of storm surges and unabated high wind.
The design for this home embraces the dichotomy – it is design to both catch the sunsets and summer breezes while allowing for storm surges to simply pass-through. The entire lower floor is designed as a knock-out system, designed to give-way to the pressures of rising sea water, allowing the structure to remain in-place upon its deeply set pile footings as the sea washes in/out during a heavy storm.
Riverside Mission Inn - The Mission Inn, a National Historic Monument, was an historic renovation/restoration project comprising approximately 300,000 sqft. of guest rooms, restaurants, theaters, a chapel, offices, plazas, landscaping, and lobby. The original building is a turn-of-the-century Spanish structure which had been built and added to for nearly 30 years. (ELS & WZMH).
Immersion Retail - The Portland Niketown was the second flagship concept store for Nike. Specialized detailing was used throughout imbedding the Nike logo and Nike clothing design motifs throughout interior design of the store itself. This design epitomizes the integration of retailing and interior design. (Consulting Architect for CNI Design ).
Historic Traditional - A sympathetic remodeling of a 1904 vintage traditional home in the hills. Shaker and Craftsman styling were used throughout to complement the existing traditional styling and unite it with the residential needs of this century. Shaker styling provided opportunities to create new modern forms – like the kitchen cabinets – in compliment to the existing traditional/craftsman detailing.
Spanish Remodel - From the street, the second story we added to this modest and authentic 1-story Spanish home in Garden District of Santa Ana California is nearly out-of-sight. The owners wished to nearly double the size of their home with added bedrooms on a second floor, and they were insistent upon keeping the scale and comfortable feel of their existing home. The remodeled portions of the home included a gourmet kitchen complete with a private stair to a wine room.
Spanish Hillside - This 4,500 sf, two-story Spanish jewel is beautifully sited atop a step hillside overlooking the City of Glendora, California. This 4-bedroom gem has a gourmet kitchen, a three-car garage and a pool. The size of this home, its proportions, scale, finishes and details harken back to original and true Spanish architecture of Southern California. The home has sweeping westerly views to the Pacific Ocean, nearly 60 miles away.
Zen Condo Retreat - A traditional town home in a multi-unit development is transformed into a Zen-like Japanese style retreat in Beverly Hills - a minimal cozy sanctuary amidst the hustle-bustle of daily life in Los Angeles. City and canyon views offer perspective as the Japanese garden, integral to the public spaces, transports one to distant places. Meticulously selected materials maintain the theme: variable plank walnut hardwood flooring, zebra wood cabinets with black granite counter tops, shoji screen pocket doors, noir stained fir interior trim, and stone tile bathroom flooring.
Classic Mediterranean - Gordon Highlands, CA - 7,500 square foot, two-story mansion complete with a gourmet kitchen, six bedrooms and bathrooms, an infinity edged swimming pool, and a 4-car garage with an auto court.
Classic Family Home Remodeling - This family home remodeling epitomizes the harmony which can be found between a classic architectural context and contemporary clean lined living. We remodeled this classic one-story traditional home in Los Angeles to let in more light and provide for a more open room to room feeling all the while maintaining a comfortable scale and intimacy within each of the discrete spaces. The result is modern living within a traditional shell.
These elegant civic designs utilize naturally competent materials such as natural woods, raw concrete, and aluminum to resist the seaside climate conditions. The restrooms are designed “inside-out” such that each toilet stall is completely private and entered from the exterior. Outdoor “rooms” provide for public lavatories and showers.
The Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks Office / Police Sub-station building is a concrete shell inspired by the protection of a clam shell. The “shell” is pulled apart to reveal the two separate public entrances – one for police and the other for Recreation & Parks.
Beverly Hills Civic Center - The Beverly Hills Central Fire Facilities – one part of the ensemble that together with the Central Library, the Police Headquarters, and new Parking Structure, form the Beverly Hills Civic Center. This design, a result of The Beverly Hills Civic Center international design competition of 1983, stove to contextually unite a complex mix of civic uses while being aesthetically respectful to the existing “Chariga-esque” Beverly Hills City Hall structure. (Charles W. Moore Architect).
A modernist opus reminiscent of the "Case Study" homes of the 1950s and 60s, this single story post and beam gem is nestled in a tight-knit Southern California seaside community. As is typical for this area, real estate is at a premium value and yards are therefore very limited. The existing structure is a courtyard layout which captures unbuilt site area in an inner courtyard ... essentially creating a private outdoor "room".
Richard's client - an aficionado of modern architecture and talented designer himself, saw remodeling opportunities in the existing structure which could enhance the indoor/outdoor living afforded by the famous Southern California climate and improve the home's livability. The owner was deeply concerned that the changes he desired, be executed in a manner consistent with the existing Mid-Century aesthetic. With a "Less Is More" approach lead by the owner, the team sought to “extend” the home's underlying simple beauty and crisp lines while creating more room-room openness and greater courtyard connectedness to the living room, master bedroom and home office. Warm natural stone flooring and new Douglas Fir sliding doors provide an uninterrupted indoor/outdoor spatial flow to the courtyard, while Kirkstone countertops, maple cabinets and stainless steel appliances punctuate the modern elegance.
Inspired by the California Spanish tradition, a traditional ranch style home in Los Feliz was doubled in size and re-styled. While not being literally Spanish in it’s styling, this design exemplifies qualities of Spanish architecture that are climate appropriate for Southern California. Thick plaster walls, large eaves, tile roofing, arched openings, and earthy coloring all blend into a deeply comfortable ensemble.
A guest quarters addition is inspired by the board/baton ranch styling of the main house. The exterior styling creates consistency between the two buildings on the property, while the interior styling is warm, natural, and minimal – yielding refreshing and composed accommodations for the owner’s guests.
These are design views of the interior of a circular room which houses the actual natural spring which supplies the waters Yosemite Waters bottles and sells.
Designed to honor and celebrate the water spring/source, the tile pattern is inspired by the natural landscape and the Earth's natural water cycle.
Mountains, seas, the sun, the moon, evaporation, are implied in the abstracted imagery.