Two Houses Are Better Than One

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photos by:
July 31, 2009
Originally published in Make It New!

Or is one house better than two? For Santa Monica–based architect Jesse Bornstein and his family, both are true.

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  Making use of the hilltop location, each window was planned to frame interesting vistas or to find the best sight lines around adjoining buildings.
    Making use of the hilltop location, each window was planned to frame interesting vistas or to find the best sight lines around adjoining buildings.
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  Galvanized-aluminum flashing is used to hide lighting fixtures and to delineate the tops of the redwood-strip walls. “It’s a simple palette of materials,” says architect Jesse Bornstein.
    Galvanized-aluminum flashing is used to hide lighting fixtures and to delineate the tops of the redwood-strip walls. “It’s a simple palette of materials,” says architect Jesse Bornstein.
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  The house as first found in 1999.
    The house as first found in 1999.
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  The restored original and new addition. After a brief tussle over access to their shared driveway (resulting in what Bornstein calls a “spite fence”), most of the occupants in the apartment building next door appreciate having a family as neighbors, rather than another big box to block their light and views.
    The restored original and new addition. After a brief tussle over access to their shared driveway (resulting in what Bornstein calls a “spite fence”), most of the occupants in the apartment building next door appreciate having a family as neighbors, rather than another big box to block their light and views.
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  The architect with his daughters. The redwood strips on the new house were purposely cut to the same width as the horizontal wood siding on the old house to create visual harmony between the two.
    The architect with his daughters. The redwood strips on the new house were purposely cut to the same width as the horizontal wood siding on the old house to create visual harmony between the two.
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  Sunlight is plentiful at every level of the house.
    Sunlight is plentiful at every level of the house.
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  There are balconies off nearly every room. The interior is built around a mature Chinese elm that once dominated the backyard of the front house.
    There are balconies off nearly every room. The interior is built around a mature Chinese elm that once dominated the backyard of the front house.
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  The girls’ room features wood furniture designed by Bornstein.
    The girls’ room features wood furniture designed by Bornstein.
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  Kalia and Olivia in the dining room (the Danish dining table was acquired by Jesse’s parents in the mid-’70s, the dining chairs are by Arne Jacobsen, and the light fixture is by George Nelson).
    Kalia and Olivia in the dining room (the Danish dining table was acquired by Jesse’s parents in the mid-’70s, the dining chairs are by Arne Jacobsen, and the light fixture is by George Nelson).
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  The sisters in their colorful bathroom with Kohler fixtures.
    The sisters in their colorful bathroom with Kohler fixtures.
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  The architect at home in his kitchen with cabinetry that he also designed.
    The architect at home in his kitchen with cabinetry that he also designed.
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  Kalia, just outside the playroom, overlooking the courtyard and the Chinese elm around which the entire interior was built.
    Kalia, just outside the playroom, overlooking the courtyard and the Chinese elm around which the entire interior was built.
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  Kalia and Olivia enjoying the outdoor space. Kalia’s favorite part of the house? In her own words, “I like the backyard where we play soccer, hopscotch, and jump rope and draw and have picnics.” ’Nuff said.
    Kalia and Olivia enjoying the outdoor space. Kalia’s favorite part of the house? In her own words, “I like the backyard where we play soccer, hopscotch, and jump rope and draw and have picnics.” ’Nuff said.
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