Sometimes sleepy, vibrantly edgy, and always arty, Venice, California, remains a bastion of architectural freedom, where decades ago Frank Gehry famously plunked down an enormous pair of binoculars and dared his colleagues in architecture to join the fun. Here’s a selection of five unique Venice homes that have piqued our interest over the years.
Avid surfer and advertising creative director Eric Grunbaum turned to the Los Angeles–based architect Barbara Bestor to design a surf shack for him near the ocean. For Grunbaum, she created a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath house that harbors a traditional sensibility with a contemporary heart. From the deck off the master bedroom, Eric Grunbaum looks across his front yard. Barbara Bestor designed the second story to float over the ground “like a cloud.”
Most recently featured on Dwell’s West Side Home Tour, the Preston Way residence by architect Molly Reid includes a freestanding studio she built for her husband, sculptor Cliff Garten.
A folded Cor-ten steel curtain surrounds the Walnut Residence by architect Daniel Monti, who points out that much of the home’s programming had to be pushed toward the front of the structure to make room for the large canopy of the decades-old pine tree on the lot.
Next door to the Walnut residence is a house possessing the same tree-hugging sensibilities: Dwell Home Venice is barely discernible from its verdant surroundings, dominated by a central pine tree that could have been chopped but became a large part of the design scheme. Owners Michael and Tamami Sylvester worked closely with architectural designer Sebastian Mariscal on its look and feel, which Mariscal says was designed to completely blend in with the landscape, so that the house, he says, “cannot be seen from the street—only trees, only green.” Stay tuned for the great reveal: The house will be covered in more depth in an upcoming issue of Dwell.