Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles) Renovation

This budget-conscious green renovation of a 1960’s Laurel Canyon 2-story “bungalow on stilts” presented many contraints and opportunities. The goals of the renovation were to update the spaces and flow to ones more suited to a contemporary family. This included brightening the spaces (the house previously had both dark finishes and as well as being heavily shaded) and “greening” the house as much as possible within the financial limitations of a projected six year ownership. All improvements (the house needed extensive updates beginning with the fact that it was completely uninsulated) had to either pay for themselves within six years or recover their value in resale.

Given that adding floor space was out of the question, the renovation became, by default, an exercise in designing the “Not So Big House.” Downstairs on the main level, priority was given to opening up the flow of space, freeing the kitchen from a dark niche and annexing the adjacent family room and dining area into a loft-like cooking, eating and gathering space. The original formal living room became a more frequently inhabited living area with a home office off to one side providing a new connection between it and the kitchen. Topologically, the layout went from a dark and dead-ended “U” to a doughnut in which all spaces had light, ventilation and circulation from at least two directions.

Above: Living Room before with dark false "beams" and soffits.

Right: Living Room after with "beams" and soffits removed

Above: Previous kitchen, small, back in a dark corner, with soffitt

Right: New kitchen open to dining area. Bamboo cabinets and flooring, recycled aluminum tiles on splash. CFL and LED lighting.

Above: Master bath before -- odd-sized small high window and minimal space

Below: Master bath expanded, window enlarged, space lightened and reorganized

Above: the existing stair hall with the railing that everyone deamnded be removed.

Right: Railing was kept but with the scrollwork removed and top rail replaced. Pendant fixtures are custom by Fire & Water.

Above: the existing railings were heavy and, er, ugly.

Right: using the same approach as with the indoor railing (above), segments of the over structured rails were removed, creating a random, lighter pattern. The color change helped, too.

Above: Street view of existing house with fake half-timbers and fake balcony

Below: After renovation. Window added for Master Bedroom also visually lightens the mass sitting atop the stilts. A plan to install industrial rollup garage doors was scrapped, at least for now.

On Line Portfolio:

Silicon Valley Eco Addition/Renovation
Union Square Eco Loft
NoHo Eco Loft
Upper East Side Eco-Apartment
Stern Loft
Sobel Apartment
Edwards House

2008 Idea House
Gramercy Park Apartment
677 Fifth Avenue Lobby
NoHo Duplex
Edwards Apartment

World Trade Center Memorial Competition entry

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