Warren’s first commission out of graduate school in 1989 was the original project here: The reworking of an existing 1400 square foot 1951 Ranch style house located in Santa Monica Canyon for two young art collectors. At that time the program included annexing 400 square feet of existing garage space and adding a new carport. The insertion of highly articulated and machined elements that opened up and activated the spaces of the house completely transformed the original residence.
23 years later, W3 Architects had the honor of being invited back by new owners to reconceive the house for a family with three young children. Completed in the fall of 2013, the residence now has bedrooms for the children plus a guest room on the ground level with the main living, dining and kitchen area. A 410 square foot master bedroom, bathroom, and closet were created on the new second level. The size, placement and configuration of the addition were tightly constrained by the siting of the original house at the base of a steep hillside tucked into a kink of the irregularly shaped lot, combined with the desire to avoid the use of any new visible structural elements. This upper level addition provides expansive views of the Canyon tree canopy while maintaining total privacy. The natural and organic materials convey a “rustic modernism” appropriate to the location.
The design intent was to expand the house for the functional requirements of a modern family while maintaining the character of the original building and restoring many of the elements created in the 1989 renovation. All of the utilities and systems were updated to drastically reduce the energy use of the house. The total square footage is now 2,518 and the house demonstrates a sustainable and intimately scaled design approach that allows for the family’s continued enjoyment now and for future generations.