Here’s a phrase you don’t hear much: "What a beautiful garage."
And yet, it’s what anyone would say if they were to pass by this striking slat-and-glass structure in Venice, California. Designed by architect Martin Zünkeler, the two-story building sits behind a white stucco California bungalow. The dwelling is home to Andreas, Brita, and their two kids, and it’s a reminder that any renovation—no matter how functional—is an opportunity for creativity.
When the family approached Zünkeler, principal of L.A. design firm Bau10, to help them spruce up their dilapidated detached garage, he encouraged them to think bigger. With recent changes to city building ordinances, there was an opportunity here to add on a granny suite. Why not go for it?
Andreas collaborated deeply with the architect to develop the resulting two-story, 1,120-square-foot unit, which is "much more than a garage," says Zünkeler. "It’s an extension of the yard."
Glass doors surround the ground floor, creating a seamless visual flow between courtyard and parking space. For even more room to play, the family can move their camper van out of the way to use the light and airy open room as a studio space.
Shop the Look
The top floor is essentially a well-appointed studio apartment. The kitchen is integrated right into the railing, with a view of the staircase over the long Armani marble countertop (a built-in lip prevents objects from falling over the edge).
At the end of the L-shaped prep area and cooktop, there’s a small nook that offers a "special moment," Zünkeler says: a cozy workspace with a view.
The facade is built from vertical slats of acoya wood, which mimics the look of a bamboo screen. "It’s treated with a super-strong vinegar," explains Zünkeler. "What it looked like day one, it looks the same after a year and a half." Wonderful news for those who want to admire this surprising moment of functional beauty for years to come.
Builder/General Contractor: Les Constructions Du Lys Structural Engineer, Tuscher Engineering Group
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