Echo Chamber

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April 9, 2010

After architectural designers Louis Molina and Laurent Turin of Good Idea Studio revamped a tiny, dilapidated 1923 clapboard house in 2004, they moved their Los Angeles office into the ground level and have taken turns occupying the 578-square-foot living quarters upstairs. While Turin is supervising the firm’s office in his native Switzerland, Molina, who also teaches at the Woodbury University School of Architecture in Burbank, gives us the tour of their diminutive-by-design Echo Park remodel.

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  A sliding glass door and breezy cross ventilation make Louis Molina’s modest living room appear more generous than its actual dimensions.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    A sliding glass door and breezy cross ventilation make Louis Molina’s modest living room appear more generous than its actual dimensions.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  The downstairs office houses the tools of the trade.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    The downstairs office houses the tools of the trade.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  Good Idea Studio redesigned the front facade with a welded tube steel staircase, an aluminum-and-polycarbonate awning, and fiber cement-board paneling painted “Pool Party” blue.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    Good Idea Studio redesigned the front facade with a welded tube steel staircase, an aluminum-and-polycarbonate awning, and fiber cement-board paneling painted “Pool Party” blue.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  The bedroom offers just enough space for a bed and nightstand.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    The bedroom offers just enough space for a bed and nightstand.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  Surrounded by flax, agaves, and a prolific lemon tree, the gravel terrace out front makes an inviting place to eat, work, or party. Molina and Turin fashioned the table from repurposed glass and Unistrut tube steel and the humble chairs from plywood wrapped in sheets of blue foam.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    Surrounded by flax, agaves, and a prolific lemon tree, the gravel terrace out front makes an inviting place to eat, work, or party. Molina and Turin fashioned the table from repurposed glass and Unistrut tube steel and the humble chairs from plywood wrapped in sheets of blue foam.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  The architectural office below the living quarters is compact, with just enough space for shared workstations and a bookcase made of plywood and pink Plexiglas.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    The architectural office below the living quarters is compact, with just enough space for shared workstations and a bookcase made of plywood and pink Plexiglas.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  Thanks to a skylight and the absence of conventional wall cabinets, the kitchen looks more like an airy extension of the living room than a dedicated space for cooking. With the sink, oven, and storage tucked behind and a long countertop in front, the island serves as a more versatile built-in feature.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    Thanks to a skylight and the absence of conventional wall cabinets, the kitchen looks more like an airy extension of the living room than a dedicated space for cooking. With the sink, oven, and storage tucked behind and a long countertop in front, the island serves as a more versatile built-in feature.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  Molina and Turin combined angle and bar aluminum from Industrial Metal Supply Company and wheels from Pro-Fit Cabinet Hardware to design a custom track for a sliding door/projection screen fashioned out of two hollow-core doors from Stock Building Supply Company.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    Molina and Turin combined angle and bar aluminum from Industrial Metal Supply Company and wheels from Pro-Fit Cabinet Hardware to design a custom track for a sliding door/projection screen fashioned out of two hollow-core doors from Stock Building Supply Company.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  At $2.75 a square foot (which includes a designer discount), Molina and Turin could afford to extend matte white ceramic tiles from Dal-Tile beyond the conventional shower boundaries to give the bathroom the look of a brighter, more expansive space.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    At $2.75 a square foot (which includes a designer discount), Molina and Turin could afford to extend matte white ceramic tiles from Dal-Tile beyond the conventional shower boundaries to give the bathroom the look of a brighter, more expansive space.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  Red Plexiglas from a previous project was reused as colorful cabinetry accents. The material, purchased in a four-by-ten-foot sheet at Gavrieli Plastics, Metals & Sign Supplies, was cut, painted white on the back (which unexpectedly changed the color to pink-orange), then glued.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    Red Plexiglas from a previous project was reused as colorful cabinetry accents. The material, purchased in a four-by-ten-foot sheet at Gavrieli Plastics, Metals & Sign Supplies, was cut, painted white on the back (which unexpectedly changed the color to pink-orange), then glued.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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  Concrete retaining walls form an outdoor terrace that serves as a dining area, conference room, and workshop. The three-quarter-inch construction gravel from George L. Throop Company allows rain to percolate into the ground and irrigate a lemon tree rather than create polluting runoff.  Photo by: Heather Culp

    Concrete retaining walls form an outdoor terrace that serves as a dining area, conference room, and workshop. The three-quarter-inch construction gravel from George L. Throop Company allows rain to percolate into the ground and irrigate a lemon tree rather than create polluting runoff.

    Photo by: Heather Culp

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