Designer John Picard isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty in the kitchen, or washing the sand off his feet in the bathroom. This ecological pioneer’s half-lot home is designed for maximum efficiency—and comfort.
“It didn’t bother me to do a house with a lot of things half the size of what people think is normal,” John Picard says of his half-lot home in Manhattan Beach. The home’s steel frame offers a maximum expanse of glass. Because of the small footprint, Picard wanted every inch of the living space to be usable—which is made possible by the steel frame and a service core that runs the entire height of the building.
Opening onto the open-plan living and dining rooms, the aluminum Bulthaup System 20 kitchen with its nine-foot-long stainless steel island and Miele appliances has become a focal point of the house. Pressed in one seamless sheet of steel, the island, Picard says with the obvious pride of a satisfied customer, “is an amazing piece of engineering.”
Where the System 20 is the showpiece in the kitchen, from the master bedroom it’s impossible not to notice the egg-shaped Agape tub in the doorless bathroom. Picard glibly remarks, “When you’re spending $6,000 on a tub and $2,000 on a faucet fixture, you’ve got to make sure what you’re buying is something that stands out.”
Picard and his daughter, Alexis, who visits on weekends, enjoy cooking fresh ingredients like fish or artichokes in the Miele steam oven. The translucent glass wall provides plenty of natural light and gives the aluminum-and-stainless-steel kitchen a soft white glow.