written by:
August 9, 2010

Upon the birth of their first child, artist Stas Orlovski and food stylist Alise Arato felt that their 700-square-foot 1930s bungalow in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles was too small to accommodate their growing family, and hoped to double their space. They considered remodeling, but architect Kevin Oreck, who had already reworked a four-car garage on the property into an art studio for Orlovski, helped them realize the need for a total rebuild. “It was a nondescript, dumpy bungalow, and we all quickly came to the conclusion to just tear it down,” says Oreck.

 

After the studio was completed, says Orlovski, “the next step was to build a modern house utilizing honest, simple materials—concrete, glass, metal and plywood. At the same time, it was important for the house to not be too precious.” The couple also wanted a total of three bedrooms and two baths and a highly functional kitchen, and they planned on utilizing solar power. Oreck answered with a 1,500-square-foot open-plan house that utilizes natural light and ensures privacy, one that could forego an HVAC system in favor of natural ocean breezes and solar-powered water heating. “One of our favorite aspects of the new house is that we utilize every square inch of it each day,” says Orlovski. “There is absolutely no wasted space.”

Floor-to-ceiling windows line the entrance facade of the house, whose front door is tucked around the edge of the corrugated metal at right. The driveway was retained but now leads, through the gate at rear, to a patio off the dining room, situated at the
Floor-to-ceiling windows line the entrance facade of the house, whose front door is tucked around the edge of the corrugated metal at right. The driveway was retained but now leads, through the gate at rear, to a patio off the dining room, situated at the back of the house.
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The front door of the old house directly faced the street; to introduce a better transition, Oreck pivoted the new entrance a quarter-turn to the left. “There should be a little choreography when you enter a house,” he says. The office/third bedroom is at
The front door of the old house directly faced the street; to introduce a better transition, Oreck pivoted the new entrance a quarter-turn to the left. “There should be a little choreography when you enter a house,” he says. The office/third bedroom is at right.
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Oreck incorporated a pitched ceiling to allow light in from all sides, and added, beyond the series of structural beams, clerestory windows he describes as “sort of a light spine that runs through most of the house.” To maximize the feeling of spaciousnes
Oreck incorporated a pitched ceiling to allow light in from all sides, and added, beyond the series of structural beams, clerestory windows he describes as “sort of a light spine that runs through most of the house.” To maximize the feeling of spaciousness, the living room is partially open to the kitchen and dining room, beyond. At right is the door to the third bedroom/office and the rectangular opening leads to a bedroom and bathroom. The radiant-heat floors are powered by the sun: “It just seemed silly to build a new house in the 21st century in Los Angeles and not utilize solar power,” says Orlovski.
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“I always design kitchens that allow people to work with lots of space for friends to stand without being in the way,” says Oreck. “Since Alise deals with food so much as a stylist, it helps to have the kitchen open so she can stay connected with friends
“I always design kitchens that allow people to work with lots of space for friends to stand without being in the way,” says Oreck. “Since Alise deals with food so much as a stylist, it helps to have the kitchen open so she can stay connected with friends and family while she’s working.” The cabinets are Baltic birch; the backsplash is made from statuary marble. Above the Wolf range is a vent custom made by the architect, who also installed track lighting that can be directed as needed.
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The architect incorporated bar seating and shelf space in the dining room, and placed small vertical windows on one side of the house to maintain privacy and provide the wall space for art that Orlovski requested. The dining table and chairs were among on
The architect incorporated bar seating and shelf space in the dining room, and placed small vertical windows on one side of the house to maintain privacy and provide the wall space for art that Orlovski requested. The dining table and chairs were among only a few pieces the couple bought for the new house.
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The master bedroom leads to the patio and art studio. “The master suite is situated at the rear and can be completely closed off from the rest of the house—a very nice feature when we have friends and family staying with us,” says Orlovski.
The master bedroom leads to the patio and art studio. “The master suite is situated at the rear and can be completely closed off from the rest of the house—a very nice feature when we have friends and family staying with us,” says Orlovski.
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Oreck placed the master bedroom window high enough for complete privacy, and added awning windows for a cross breeze. Above the paneled closet is the solar hot water heater and its storage tank; in addition to heating the water for the radiant-heat floori
Oreck placed the master bedroom window high enough for complete privacy, and added awning windows for a cross breeze. Above the paneled closet is the solar hot water heater and its storage tank; in addition to heating the water for the radiant-heat flooring, it heats the water throughout the house. Eventually, when it is financially feasible, the couple intends for the electricity to run off solar power; the architect prepared a system that they can add more panels to someday to achieve this.
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One of Orlovski’s collages hangs in the third bedroom/office, which is lit naturally from above and furnished with mid-century pieces. “I knew their new house would look great when I saw how they furnished their old house,” says Oreck. “Stas loves finding
One of Orlovski’s collages hangs in the third bedroom/office, which is lit naturally from above and furnished with mid-century pieces. “I knew their new house would look great when I saw how they furnished their old house,” says Oreck. “Stas loves finding this stuff on eBay or Craigslist—it’s a labor of love.”
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Oreck used the same ply he used throughout the rest of the house for the master bathroom, which has dual sinks for the couple. The mosaic tile is from Trend; the fixtures are from Newport Brass.  “This layout is as space efficient as you can get—we had no
Oreck used the same ply he used throughout the rest of the house for the master bathroom, which has dual sinks for the couple. The mosaic tile is from Trend; the fixtures are from Newport Brass. “This layout is as space efficient as you can get—we had no space to spare in this house,” says the architect.
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Orlovski and Arato’s son at work in dad’s studio, to which the architect added a large, roll-up door that when raised, opens the space completely to the backyard patio and main house. The house’s dining room is at right; behind the plantings is the master
Orlovski and Arato’s son at work in dad’s studio, to which the architect added a large, roll-up door that when raised, opens the space completely to the backyard patio and main house. The house’s dining room is at right; behind the plantings is the master bedroom.
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The site plan showing the original house, at right nearest the street, a small garage and the converted art studio, at left, which was larger than the old house. “It was like living in a submarine,” says Orlovski of the previous home.
The site plan showing the original house, at right nearest the street, a small garage and the converted art studio, at left, which was larger than the old house. “It was like living in a submarine,” says Orlovski of the previous home.
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The new house begins at roughly the same point at the front of the lot, but now extends farther back, toward the new studio. “We initially explored the possibility of a two-level house, but it was beyond our budget,” says Orlovski. “Since we had an existi
The new house begins at roughly the same point at the front of the lot, but now extends farther back, toward the new studio. “We initially explored the possibility of a two-level house, but it was beyond our budget,” says Orlovski. “Since we had an existing art studio at the back of the lot, Kevin had to address our needs within a limited foot print and a very narrow space.”
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Floor-to-ceiling windows line the entrance facade of the house, whose front door is tucked around the edge of the corrugated metal at right. The driveway was retained but now leads, through the gate at rear, to a patio off the dining room, situated at the
Floor-to-ceiling windows line the entrance facade of the house, whose front door is tucked around the edge of the corrugated metal at right. The driveway was retained but now leads, through the gate at rear, to a patio off the dining room, situated at the back of the house.
Project 
Orlovski-Arato Residence
Architect 

To see more images from the project, please visit the slideshow.

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