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The Sunset Plaza Residence by David Thompson and Kevin Southerland of Los Angeles-based architecture, development and sustainability design firm Assembledge+, is high up on my list of dream homes.
With lots of light, an open floor plan, large mitered windows, indoor/outdoor living area, covered attached garage, an infinity pool and 180˚ views of Los Angeles, it pretty much fills my check list for the perfect abode. The house was also one of the homes on last year's CA Boom Show LA architecture tour.
Located above the Sunset Strip in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, the design for this 5,000 sq ft house opens up to the surrounding landscape allowing the project to utilize all of the relatively flat site, unique to the hills. The simple forms and warm material palette evoke a clean modernist approach reminiscent of the early modernist homes in the area by Schindler, Neutra, and Carl Maston among others.
The exterior is clad in a combination of cinnamon-colored mangaris wood (a sustainably harvested Brazilian hardwood), smooth-troweled stucco and cement board painted brown.
To deliver as much natural light as possible, architects deployed skylights, interior glass panels and exterior glass walls, some translucent but not transparent, to preserve privacy. “The way the plan is laid out, as an L-shape rather than a block, gives the house even light throughout the interior rooms,” Southerland says.
Assembledge oriented the house on the flat promontory, ensuring sightlines from every room. “We wanted to extend what we see as the great Southern California modernist project where there is a real integration of indoors and outdoors,” Southerland says. Here we see the downstairs living room, which flows into a family room shown in the next photo.
Ceiling-to-floor movable glass walls open the expansive space to the outdoor terrace and its infinity saltwater pool. Cool-white terrazzo interior floors continue outside, unifying the spaces. “The idea was to make this continuous, uninterrupted plane that turns into water,” Thompson says. A subtle upward inflection of the roof plane farther extends south and west views.
above: A wide supporting column is wrapped in copper-hued mirrors at one corner of the family room. It captures flashes of artwork, furniture, foliage and water. “It brings in the reflections from the hills, the architecture, and even people walking by,” Southerland says. “That column is actually inside the room, so that when you close the glass doors, it reads as a transparent corner.”
More views of the copper clad supporting column:
A 1940s French Empire-style home with a mansard roof used to sit on the 13,000-square-foot site, according to architect Thompson.
His client’s desire for something more modern extended to the kitchen, lined with custom walnut cabinetry.
“I can turn any home style into quite a pad, but I really like modern,” owner Brad Blumenthal says. “Although it’s by far the most difficult type of house to design because the lines are so clean, you can’t hide anything.”
above: Back by the entry, stairs lead to the second floor. Contemporary homes are often criticized for lack of storage, but Assembledge took advantage of otherwise empty pockets of space.
above: A modern interpretation of a Japanese tansu cabinet is tucked underneath the staircase. “Rather than it being a wood cabinet, we wanted it to look as if it was part of the wall — clean and simple,” Thompson says. Note the powder room in the distance (also shown below).
above: the powder room off the main entry, with a glass wall alongside the driveway.
above: the master bath has a large glass enclosed double shower, limestone flooring and walls and a bathtub set within wenge wood.
above: The series of outdoor spaces were designed by Jonathan Goldstein of Jonny Appleseed Landscaping in Beverly Hills.
Built by Eric Engheben of 44 West Construction in Topanga, the architecture unfolds in a similar manner upstairs. An exterior wall of the master bedroom terrace has been cut away, creating a “window” toward the scenery.
It was important to the designers and their client to balance the use of glass and terrazzo with other materials that were visually warmer, thus the American walnut floor on the second floor.
And as seen at night:
6363 wilshire blvd., #401
los angeles, ca 90048
Special thanks to photographer Michael Weschler, Debra Prinzing and the Los Angeles Times, David Thompson of Assembledge+ , 44 West Construction and pushpullbar for information, quotes and additional images.