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Ray Kappe-Designed Multilevel House in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles architect Ray Kappe built a multilevel house for his family back in 1967, and the results still resonate today.
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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.  Photo by: João Canziani
    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.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  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.  Photo by: João Canziani
    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.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  The front door is tucked under a cantilevered terrace.  Photo by: João Canziani
    The front door is tucked under a cantilevered terrace.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  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.  Photo by: João Canziani
    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.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  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.  Photo by: João Canziani
    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.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  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.  Photo by: João Canziani
    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.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  The grandchildrens' room, on the same, well-lit side of the house as Ray's office, is adorned with dolls and books.  Photo by: João Canziani
    The grandchildrens' room, on the same, well-lit side of the house as Ray's office, is adorned with dolls and books.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  The terrace at the front of the house.  Photo by: João Canziani
    The terrace at the front of the house.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  Wooden beams extend beyond the structure to create shading trellises for the terraces at the front and the back.  Photo by: João Canziani
    Wooden beams extend beyond the structure to create shading trellises for the terraces at the front and the back.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  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.  Photo by: João Canziani
    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.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  Ray Kappe, now 80, sits in the master bedroom. He says he's as busy now as he was 40 years ago.  Photo by: João Canziani
    Ray Kappe, now 80, sits in the master bedroom. He says he's as busy now as he was 40 years ago.

    Photo by: João Canziani

  • 
  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."  Photo by: João Canziani
    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."

    Photo by: João Canziani

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