Architect couple Annie Ritz and Daniel Rabin, cofounders of And And And Studio, recently renovated their home in the creative enclave of Silver Lake, Los Angeles—a neighborhood filled with bohemians, hipsters, and young creative families. This major remodel and addition was an exploration in materials, color, and texture which transformed a rundown home into one that’s open, bright, and playfully chic with midcentury-inspired decor.
The existing home, about 1,000 square feet, was in disrepair and completely gutted down to the studs. A taller, reframed roof gave the single-story space lofty ceilings. The addition, which provides another 1,000 square feet, is the other arm of the now T-shaped abode. Set back on a large lot and nestled between a pool and courtyard, it takes advantage of natural light and facilitates the family’s indoor/outdoor lifestyle.
Through their work, Annie and Daniel are dedicated to "creating inventive and unique spaces that balance sophisticated and playful, refined and odd, contextual and different." Their Silver Lake home is a true example of the firm’s creative approach. We chatted with the couple about the challenges and triumphs of designing Courtyard House.
What were your main sources of inspiration?
We took a lot of inspiration from the material choices within the project. We are constantly discovering different materials and thinking about how they want to be used, how they can influence the design, and what effect and atmosphere they will lend to a space.
For example, we came across a commercial tile from Japan that was pretty pedestrian but had a really nice, matte finish and fun color palette. It was a small, oddly sized square tile, and we challenged ourselves to bring that tile into our bathrooms in different ways. In the master bathroom, you see it in a warm natural tone, paired with shiplap wood paneling and brass fixtures, whereas in the kid’s bath, we used it in more of a retro sense and integrated the tile into an immersive, colored grid.
What was on your checklist when designing this home?
We start every project with an open mind. We review and balance the site, existing conditions, and budget with lifestyle needs and goals and treat every project as an opportunity to test new ideas. With this project, we wanted to experiment with color, texture, and materials and balance that with quiet and loud moments. To that end, we sought an architectural form that was very simple—two pitched volumes meeting at a right angle to create a "T." It was both a response to the existing site as well as a way to best connect all of these spaces to distinct, outdoor zones.
How did you choose the color palette?
We think of color as a sophisticated design tool that’s key to creating a unique and holistic space. The kitchen is a great example of this; we integrated a rich, olive green in the cabinetry and paired it with sophisticated detailing, natural materials—Calacatta marble and a warm oak—and an unusually shaped island.
From there, we developed a bold palette to complement and build upon this scheme—a custom, 20-foot-long, turmeric velvet curtain; a terrazzo dining table paired with burgundy chairs; a warm, neutral sofa opposite a bold marigold one.
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What is your favorite feature of the house?
That’s very hard to answer about your own work. We find ourselves drawn to the main living space—its height, openness, natural light quality, and warmth. It’s the linchpin between the front courtyard and the backyard and pool area. When we have friends over, we open up the front and back sliders, and the space becomes the connection or meeting place.
What was the biggest challenge in designing your home, and how did you overcome it?
The existing house was unremarkable and in disrepair. Given its context and neighbors, it was set unusually far back from the street, leaving a significant amount of front yard vacant and unused. We saw this odd feature as an opportunity to create something special: a property with a quiet street profile that you enter through a private garden and courtyard.
It sounds unusual, but the existing site didn’t have a single living plant or tree—in order to make the front courtyard work, we brought in a 50-year-old olive tree to give it a heart and a center, balancing it with boulders and native plantings to create a play space for our kids and an elegant entrance sequence for our visitors.
Visitors enter the gate and first take in the courtyard; then they experience being in it as they approach the house. Once inside, the front courtyard is part of our kitchen: it can fully open onto it, and you experience it again from a different perspective. The long and light-filled, thickened hallway of our kids’ bedrooms looks onto the courtyard and the olive tree. It’s as much a part of the house as the actual house itself.
Where do you recommend shopping for home decor items, either locally or online?
Menu, Ferm Living, Muuto, APlusR, Parachilna, Madera Surfaces, and Drikolor.
More My House:
Builder / General Contractor: Zorzoli Builds LC Construction
Structural Engineer: Craig Philips
Interior Design: And And And Studio
Cabinetry Construction: Rowla