A Modern Bungalow in Venice Beach

A Modern Bungalow in Venice Beach

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By Erika Heet
A house designed to be part of the landscape is at home among the trees in Venice, California.

It was a love for architectural diversity that first drew Michael Sylvester to Venice, California, known for its tiny 1920s bungalows set cheek by jowl with lot-hogging postmodern boxes. He bought a 5,600- square-foot piece of land with one of those bungalows on it, "only it wasn’t a cute Craftsman with redeeming values; it was a stucco box with structural problems," says Sylvester. He and his wife, Tamami, lived in the bungalow and eventually called upon Boston-based architectural designer Sebastian Mariscal—whose Wabi house (see Dwell, September 2011) particularly intrigued Sylvester—and allowed him free rein on a design for a new house. As he is known to do, Mariscal took an organic approach. "When I first visited the site, I was moved by how the trees in the front were creating a special silence of green within the eclectic neighborhood of Venice," says Mariscal. "The first thing that came to my mind was that I must preserve the same view, meaning my design cannot be seen from the street—only trees, only green." The process of creating the house—built as a living design laboratory to be known as Dwell Home Venice—has been well documented by Sylvester, who tells the story of its journey.

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