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Domestic Democracy

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In a code-happy L.A. suburb, how do you break the mold without breaking the law? Architects Alice Fung and Michael Blatt steer clear of anarchy with a little democratic design.

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  The Fung/Blatt family enjoys the backyard of their Mount Washington home. Despite its 5,000-square-foot lot, the house is just 1,640 square feet. Michael Blatt admits, “If we could add anything to this house, it would be five walk-in closets.”  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    The Fung/Blatt family enjoys the backyard of their Mount Washington home. Despite its 5,000-square-foot lot, the house is just 1,640 square feet. Michael Blatt admits, “If we could add anything to this house, it would be five walk-in closets.”

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  The elevated dining room opens out to a side patio, which climbs the wall just behind the house.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    The elevated dining room opens out to a side patio, which climbs the wall just behind the house.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  There are precious few decorative flourishes in the house; the architects put their faith in line, form, and materials. Concrete, stainless steel, and birch were used in the kitchen, where not an inch of space goes unused.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    There are precious few decorative flourishes in the house; the architects put their faith in line, form, and materials. Concrete, stainless steel, and birch were used in the kitchen, where not an inch of space goes unused.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  Galvanized steel was used to clad the fireplace.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    Galvanized steel was used to clad the fireplace.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  Téa gets mom ready for her close-up on the curvy nature-meets-industry chaise lounge of the architects’ own design. The landscaping in front and out back is characterized by sturdy, resilient, and drought-resistant plants like bamboo and cacti, cultivated in galvanized steel planters.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    Téa gets mom ready for her close-up on the curvy nature-meets-industry chaise lounge of the architects’ own design. The landscaping in front and out back is characterized by sturdy, resilient, and drought-resistant plants like bamboo and cacti, cultivated in galvanized steel planters.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  The steel framing used for the house was left partially exposed. Other pragmatic touches with longevity and economy in mind are evident throughout, such as the screwed-down birch plywood stair treads that can simply be flipped over when worn out. Most seating below by Charles and Ray Eames. The coffee table by Paul Laszlo is, says Fung, “probably the nicest thing we own.”  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    The steel framing used for the house was left partially exposed. Other pragmatic touches with longevity and economy in mind are evident throughout, such as the screwed-down birch plywood stair treads that can simply be flipped over when worn out. Most seating below by Charles and Ray Eames. The coffee table by Paul Laszlo is, says Fung, “probably the nicest thing we own.”

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  Kai and Téa brush their teeth in the upstairs bathroom shared by all. “We went with the 1950s thing—a family bathroom,” explains Blatt. The sinks are by Kohler.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    Kai and Téa brush their teeth in the upstairs bathroom shared by all. “We went with the 1950s thing—a family bathroom,” explains Blatt. The sinks are by Kohler.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  The tile is by Carter.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    The tile is by Carter.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  A river breeze flows up and down Fung and Blatt’s canyon street predictably at 4 p.m., cooling the house. In the master bedroom, Blatt and Téa take advantage of the cross-ventilation. The bed is from IKEA; the sheets are a Marimekko reissue from Crate & Barrel.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    A river breeze flows up and down Fung and Blatt’s canyon street predictably at 4 p.m., cooling the house. In the master bedroom, Blatt and Téa take advantage of the cross-ventilation. The bed is from IKEA; the sheets are a Marimekko reissue from Crate & Barrel.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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