Project Description

Located in Santa Monica, this residence rises from an 8600 square foot lot to create the forever home for an interior designer, a private chef and their children.

The home’s design represents a modern adaptation of Santa Monica’s residential vernacular, which includes white stucco Spanish Colonial revival houses with gridded windows and wrought iron balconies, as well as California craftsman bungalows. It also draws influences from the austere residential architecture of the Danish countryside – an early design influence for the owner. The resulting residence is an unexpected marriage of these two influences, creating a home that is both familiar to its surroundings and a marked departure from them.

The front half of the house makes use of most of the foundation from the lot’s original structure, leading to an elongated scheme. An addition will hold most of the home’s program. Because our clients wanted an exterior courtyard, the addition is shifted off the axis of the original home, giving rise to a twin gabled form. The steeply-pitched roofs will host a solar array that will charge Tesla batteries and allow the family to sell energy back to the local utility.

An existing fireplace sat where the design team wanted to place the front entry. Rather than eliminating it, it has been repurposed as an outdoor fireplace surrounded by a small patio and enclosed by a wrought iron gate.

Because the existing foundation would not bear a full two-story load, the front portion of the house features a two-story volume with loft spaces. The entry leads to a foyer and media room. Traveling through the home reveals bedrooms, a powder room, and an office that overlooks a large, well-appointed kitchen, where meals for both the family and the chef’s home-based business will be made.

Shared living spaces are at the nexus of the two forms. The converging gables at this knuckle create interesting roof forms that divide the double-height space. A stair lined with book shelves for the couple’s substantial book collection leads to a reading room overlooking the first floor’s communal quarters. The reading room then flows into a master suite that features a small loggia.

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) shares a wall with the back of the house and extends over the garage. It has its own private stair and entry from the backyard. The garage includes a workshop with a rollup door that also opens to the backyard.

The home and the ADU both take advantage of coastal Southern California’s sunny maritime climate, merging indoor and outdoor spaces. The back and side yards are enclosed by masonry walls that enclose a kitchen garden, citrus trees, the courtyard, which will be used for al fresco cooking and dining. An outdoor firepit encourages gathering outdoors after dark. The grounds also feature an area to relax and enjoy a soak in a hot tub and an outdoor shower. Local civil engineers and landscape architects were hired to marry the site to its surroundings and provide a carefully curated and water-efficient planting plan.


Santa Monica, California