Although these lanes are lined with homes of various styles and forms, what makes this area unique is how the longitudinal aspect of the houses frequently extend from side to side within a given parcel, giving them a somewhat cramped appearance when seen from the street.
While the "Lanes" are home to multiple stunning properties, one in particular we can't get enough of is the three-level, 7,300-square-foot residence that New York-based firm MB Architecture recently worked on.
The team decided to free up space on the sides of the parcel by positioning the narrower side of the house to face the street so that the south-facing length of the home could enjoy direct sunlight. This also created more distance between the house and neighboring properties.
The owners originally wanted a maintenance-free home, with interiors and exteriors that would be durable. Therefore, MB Architecture’s lead architects Maziar Behrooz and Bruce Engel chose materials that were hardy, free from delicate detailing, and ones that wouldn't require any refinishing over time.
They used raw concrete for the foundational walls, zinc for the roof, and charred cypress for the sidings and interiors. To ensure proper sealing, the windows and doors were pushed tight up to the forward plane of the clapboards.
Working with landscape designer Shep Butler, Behrooz and Engel created a meadow-like garden around the front yard, using a green buffer to provide the owners with plenty of privacy.
The communal zones, as well as a guest bedroom, are located on the ground level. In the living room, a raw steel box inserted into one of the concrete walls serves as a storage system for the owners’ collection of vintage vinyl records.
"A sunken courtyard on the south side of the house, and a generous light-well on the north break the flatness of the site, and allow light to be filtered into the lower level, transforming the basement into a well-lit family room with a private outdoor space," says Behrooz.
"The porch is entered through a south-facing sliding glass door that, together with the north-facing ribbon window, allow natural light to filter into the house and reflect down into the heart of the house via narrow slits and openings along the staircase and its concrete stair-wall," says Engel.
- Architecture: Maziar Behrooz and Bruce Engel of MB Architecture
- Builder: Richard Swanson Contracting
- Structural engineering: Greg Llewellyn
- Landscape design: Shep Butler
- Landscape installation: Landscape Details
- Lighting design: Caitlin Faron of Shine
- Interior design Afsheen Kothari Design
- Photography: Matthew Carbone