"I love it when the space is clean like a hotel room, but never stale," says Marc, a music composer based in Los Angeles. "You feel like you’re going into a homey place, but you’re not intruding." He’s describing an Airbnb he and his wife Judith, also a composer, visited recently in Big Sur, California, but he could just as easily be referring to their Hollywood Hills home, which is also available to book through Airbnb. Like their accommodations in Big Sur, their home is a fine balance of private and personal.
This is part of the reciprocity of hosting. Sharing their space and being invited into others’ inspires the couple to continually reimagine their home’s design. "We always have to find something to work on," Judith says with a laugh.
The couple are from Switzerland but have resided in Los Angeles for decades. Previously they occupied an understated midcentury home in Los Feliz, which they updated for a more open and contemporary feel. Though the home and location suited them, they fell in love with the Hollywood Hills while housesitting a one-bedroom home near the top of Sunset Plaza Drive, and resolved to return one day when the opportunity presented itself. "It felt amazing, driving up the hill through the winding streets, leaving the city behind," Judith says, describing their first visit.
In 2006, they set about building their dream home on a sloped, cactus-dotted site about a mile from the Hollywood Sign. Meeting on a weekly basis with architect Anna Hinton of Silver Lake’s Mass Architecture, the couple planned a modern residence that would center on communal spaces for entertaining.
The minimalist house Hinton created surpassed the residents’ expectations, but the four-year ideation and construction period was taxing. "We had a kind of a strenuous building process and we were looking to rent out a room to help us financially," says Judith. That’s when she stumbled upon Airbnb online. By renting their main residence as well as their 350-square-foot guesthouse, the couple could not only recoup construction costs—they were also able to improve their property.