Ray Kappe-Designed Multilevel House in Los Angeles

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January 21, 2009
Originally published in California Dreams
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  • 
  Ray Kappe relaxes in the central living space, which offers views onto other shared family zones. Behind him is a view down into his office. Half a level up, Shelly Kappe stands at the entrance to the upper family room.
    Ray Kappe relaxes in the central living space, which offers views onto other shared family zones. Behind him is a view down into his office. Half a level up, Shelly Kappe stands at the entrance to the upper family room.
  • 
  Rail-free stairs are unnerving for a first-time visitor, but they amplify the home's free-flowing sense of space and structure. The stairs were built inside one of the six concrete towers, and they lead from the central living space to the front door. The experience of moving from the enclosed stairway into the expansive open family area is dramatic.
    Rail-free stairs are unnerving for a first-time visitor, but they amplify the home's free-flowing sense of space and structure. The stairs were built inside one of the six concrete towers, and they lead from the central living space to the front door. The experience of moving from the enclosed stairway into the expansive open family area is dramatic.
  • 
  The front door is tucked under a cantilevered terrace.
    The front door is tucked under a cantilevered terrace.
  • 
  Ray sits at the central hearth on the north end of the comfortable sunken living area. From this perspective, you can see how the interior spaces flow into one another, passing one half-level up into the breakfast nook and kitchen and out from there onto the overgrown hillside. The various built-in furnishings have all been there since the house's construction.
    Ray sits at the central hearth on the north end of the comfortable sunken living area. From this perspective, you can see how the interior spaces flow into one another, passing one half-level up into the breakfast nook and kitchen and out from there onto the overgrown hillside. The various built-in furnishings have all been there since the house's construction.
  • 
  In addition to wood and concrete, the other main material in the house is quarter-inch single-pane glass: No room is without a natural light source, whether from skylights, mitered corner windows, or clerestories, as in the old bedroom of the Kappes' son Finn. The paintings are by their other son, Ron.
    In addition to wood and concrete, the other main material in the house is quarter-inch single-pane glass: No room is without a natural light source, whether from skylights, mitered corner windows, or clerestories, as in the old bedroom of the Kappes' son Finn. The paintings are by their other son, Ron.
  • 
  The exposed wood and raw concrete throughout the house are offset by bold colors, chosen by Shelly and the children. The house's warm hues can clearly be seen in this window seat in Ray's office.
    The exposed wood and raw concrete throughout the house are offset by bold colors, chosen by Shelly and the children. The house's warm hues can clearly be seen in this window seat in Ray's office.
  • 
  The grandchildrens' room, on the same, well-lit side of the house as Ray's office, is adorned with dolls and books.
    The grandchildrens' room, on the same, well-lit side of the house as Ray's office, is adorned with dolls and books.
  • 
  The terrace at the front of the house.
    The terrace at the front of the house.
  • 
  Wooden beams extend beyond the structure to create shading trellises for the terraces at the front and the back.
    Wooden beams extend beyond the structure to create shading trellises for the terraces at the front and the back.
  • 
  This detail shows the conjunction of concrete with wooden beams, where flush glass windows angle outward to the canopies of nearby trees. The detail also encapsulates Ray's vision for the house: a synthesis of the rational and the intuitive.
    This detail shows the conjunction of concrete with wooden beams, where flush glass windows angle outward to the canopies of nearby trees. The detail also encapsulates Ray's vision for the house: a synthesis of the rational and the intuitive.
  • 
  Ray Kappe, now 80, sits in the master bedroom. He says he's as busy now as he was 40 years ago.
    Ray Kappe, now 80, sits in the master bedroom. He says he's as busy now as he was 40 years ago.
  • 
  Shelly walks along the perimeter of the house, near the central living area. The design of the house, with its many rooms, nooks, and open family spaces, "was so ahead of its time," Shelly says, "that, to young people coming here, it still feels contemporary."
    Shelly walks along the perimeter of the house, near the central living area. The design of the house, with its many rooms, nooks, and open family spaces, "was so ahead of its time," Shelly says, "that, to young people coming here, it still feels contemporary."
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