An Architect’s Matte Black Los Angeles Home Opens Wide to the Great Outdoors

An Architect’s Matte Black Los Angeles Home Opens Wide to the Great Outdoors

By Alex Temblador / Photos by Dwell Creative Studio
Brought to You by Genesis
At Assembledge+ founder David Thompson’s Laurel Hills home, glass bridges and massive sliders connect three cedar-clad volumes to a landscape flush with grasses, boulders, and olive trees.

Dwell Escapes is supported by Genesis. We selected this escape because its clean lines and meditative spaces clad in strong materials echo the minimalism and attention to craft found in the Genesis GV80.

The house changes every hour. Sunlight streams through glass walls and windows, casting branch-shaped shadows on white and black walls and wood floors with flowing grain patterns. This is not a home that stands still. There is movement in the details of the materials, the shadows, and the residents as they walk between the indoor and outdoor spaces. 

This Los Angeles residence located in Laurel Hills is minimalist in design and takes advantage of Southern California’s year-round mild climate by seamlessly blending the inside with the outside. Architect David Thompson designed the home for his family of four—and his goal was to create a dwelling that would foster "a lifestyle connected with nature and the outdoors."

Glass walkways allow family members to feel like they’re walking through a grove of olive trees while still being indoors.

Positioned around a fire pit, the outdoor living room provides the Thompson family with a space to relax and connect on the pool patio.

According to his wife, Jamie, he achieved his goal: "I feel like I’m always walking in a new house, and there’s always something new to discover. It’s usually subtle and beautiful, and I find it inspiring."

The Laurel Hills Residence and the surrounding palm trees reflect on the surface of the 40-foot-long swimming pool.

Utilizing a neutral palette of charcoal panels and western red cedar, the exterior complements a landscape of native California plants. Sharp lines fashion a boxy house shape, but subtle elements—like the charcoal roof extending a few feet beyond the cedar panels—create depth and texture.

A silver Genesis GV80 sits in the home’s driveway, which is split by smaller lines of river rocks.

A beautiful auto court with a hidden garage door doubles as a charming and tranquil courtyard. It sets the tone for the home’s relaxing atmosphere while emphasizing its connection to the surrounding environment.

A pocket window wall in front of the dining room lets in the warmth of the California sun during mealtime.

Walk through David and Jamie’s home and you’ll discover three areas—a living, sleeping, and guest pavilion—all of which are connected by glass bridges with views of lush landscapes full of wispy wild grasses, boulders, pebbles, and a courtyard of olive trees. Though each space offers a different type of design magic, it’s the living pavilion that’s especially wondrous.

The home’s warm dining room features yellow chairs, an abstract wall painting, and a bronze hanging lamp with glass bulbs on both ends.

"The experience in the living pavilion is really meant to be connective," says David. "There are sight lines that connect the interior and the exterior."

Composed of a living room, kitchen, dining room, breakfast room, and family room, the living pavilion merges with the landscape by way of large window walls and pocketed doors. These walls can slide away temporarily so that David, Jamie, and their two daughters can move between the indoor spaces and the 40-foot-long pool and outdoor living room complete with a stylish couch and fire pit. 

A cutout in the roof allows the family to sit together near the pool and watch the stars at night.

One of Jamie’s favorite spots in the living pavilion is a small sitting area with a cutout in the roof. 

"Sometimes when you look up, your eye gets lost in the sky or the stars, but this frame gives you a picture window in the sky," she says.

Susan Mitnick approached the interior design concept with one idea: to bring the family together.

A Genesis GV80 sits in the driveway of the Laurel Hills residence, ready to take the family further into nature.

While David and Jamie set out with the intention to create an inspiring space, the home had to be practical in some ways for their family of four and two dogs. This is where interior designer Susan Mitnick came in. 

"You can still have luxury and beauty; you just have to pick the right materials. I wanted them to be comfortable living in the house," she explains.

Small details—like unique hanging lamps, modern chairs with contrasting materials, and built-ins full of colorful items—bring life to the simplicity of the home’s design.

Not only is the residence decked out in smart home tech, but Mitnick was mindful of the materials and furniture, choosing performance fabrics that wouldn’t be ruined by accidental spills and deep-seated couches and chairs with comfortable pillows that invite the family to relax together in the living room.

To warm up the home and "soften the edges," she included pops of color and texture. The living room has a textured cream rug, furniture with wood accents, purple-and-yellow pillows that complement blue velvet chairs, and built-in white bookcases with colorful books and knickknacks made of organic materials. Lighting adds flair and drama—for instance, in the sleeping pavilion, hanging lights draw the eye from the ceiling down a bronze wire to a simple glass ball at the end. 

The wood flooring and white walls contrast with a black wall, creating an eye-catching effect.

The most eye-catching feature is one that required a big conversation between the Thompsons and Mitnick: a wall in the living room painted Off Black by Farrow & Ball.

"Too often people think that dark walls are dark and don’t carry well, but sometimes colors show more beautifully in front of a black wall than they do in front of a white wall," Mitnick says.

The white marble island in the kitchen creates the illusion of movement against all-black cabinetry.

Once the black wall was decided upon, Mitnick and the Thompsons chose shades of wood flooring and wood exterior cladding to complement it. The kitchen built-ins and cabinets were also painted a charcoal color, which contrasts with the marble island. 

"I convinced them to put marble in because it’s like a living surface, and it has so much energy to it," Mitnick says. "In that black room, I wanted something to move." 

The clean lines of the Genesis GV80 echo architect David Thompson’s modern home, which is full of sharp angles, contrasting materials, and spatial depth.

The marble island isn’t the only thing that moves in this home. David’s architectural genius, and the family’s choice in materials, allow the dwellers to connect with the natural world, full of living things that move, change, and transform as the sun follows its path and the stars appear at night. It is movement that makes the home special and inspires those who live there. 

The outdoor pool patio becomes an extension of the home when the window walls and pocket doors are hidden away.

As Jamie eloquently says, "At night, when the windows are open and you hear the owls hooting, or the coyotes howling, or you see the stars moving through the sky, it’s just a wonder." 

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: David Thompson, Assembledge+ / @assembledge

Interior Design: Susan Mitnick Design / @susanmitnickdesignstudio

Landscape Design: Fiore Landscape Design 

This content was created by Dwell Creative Studio, the brand marketing arm of Dwell.

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