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.”