In our recent meeting with the Case Manager at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, we learned the City’s view on acceptable connection options that would help us meet our objective of joining two separate parts of the house. With this information, some modifications I had requested, plus some additional refinement, Sebastian Mariscal updated our original plan and presented the latest version to us.
The final design still has a central courtyard but the structures on either site of the courtyard are connected by a 10-foot-wide bridge that is deep enough to support a rooftop garden and will provide a covered outdoor dining space underneath. This covered dining pavilion is similar to one that was present in the first plan for the house, but in the revised design it resolves the issue of disconnected parts of the home.
One of the design revisions we made was to change the exterior skin of the house from steel to timber. We felt that the steel skin of the original design looked a bit too formal and Teutonic. Steel is also dimensionally unforgiving whereas the wooden framing underneath is more plastic in its properties. It can be a challenge to get the steel perfectly into place. The revised design features a black washed cedar siding that will give a warm rustic feel that we like.
Sebastian Mariscal provided some computer-rendered images of the revised design reflecting an adjusted floor plan and also the dark wood skin. One of the most striking features of the home is the large “lift and slide” door system that allows for the living and dining area to completely open up to the courtyard. There is also a smaller door system on the opposite side of the room that opens onto a Pine Needle Courtyard so the room can be open on two sides simultaneously.
We noticed that the perspective of the renderings makes the home look huge whereas in fact the home offers approximately 2,200 square feet of livable interior space. The numerous courtyards, large window, and door openings will make the home feel much larger than it really is, but we know they will not be as expansive as they are portrayed in some of the renderings.
The final design offers an array of special spaces. As with all of Sebastian’s work, the house reveals surprises and even some challenges as you move through and around the home. For us this sense of discovery is a more enchanting version of modern design than a home that can be easily understood by looking from the street.
Next step for us is completing the documentation required for a building permit.
Michael Sylvester is a writer who lives in both Los Angeles and an aisle seat, preferably in the exit row. On his pilgrimage to Dan Rockhill's Studio 804 in Lawrence, Kansas, to see its fabled prefab projects, he was feeling a bit self conscious being a Left Coast vegetarian in steak country. "In addition to their cool prefabs, there was a great vegan restaurant downtown. Who doesn't enjoy mixing good architecture with good food?" he says.
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