Clad in Black, This Minimalist, Japanese-Inspired Home Asks $1.7M

This monochromatic home in Southern California stands out for so many reasons.

Clad in corrugated cement fiberboard with sleek black exteriors, the Monokuro House cuts a striking figure. Set in a suburban neighborhood in Torrance, California, surrounded traditional single-story residences, the home stands out due to its distinctive facade and its minimalist design.

The Monokuro House blends minimalist, Japanese-inspired architecture with indoor/outdoor California living.

Los Angeles–based W3 Architects designed the Monokuro House for a Japanese family looking for "an extremely simple modern house that would express the clear dark/light contrast found in traditional Japanese architecture." (Monokuro is Japanese for "monochrome.")

The home explores the dark/light contrast found in traditional Japanese architecture and plays with shadow and light.

The bright contemporary kitchen features high-end appliances and custom cabinetry. 

Shop the Look
West Elm Souk Wool Rug
West Elm's interpretation of a traditional Moroccan Berber, our stunning Souk Rug is handcrafted of 100% wool. Soft and elegant underfoot, it's perfect for a bedroom or living room.
Carl Hansen & Søn CH23 Side Chair
The CH23 Side Chair (1950) bears an elegant lightness in appearance that sits atop a solid-wood frame braced for strength and fitted with a distinctive paper cord seat, a classic Danish material, that provides more comfort and a textural appearance than a typical wood seat.
Iittala Aalto Vase
A classic piece that remains a modern Scandinavian design staple to this day. The Iittala Aalto Vase was originally designed by Alvar Aalto in 1936, immediately revolutionizing the art of glassblowing with its intricate, fluid folds of glass.

The thoughtfully engineered 2,550-square-foot home is designed for indoor/outdoor living. The open-plan layout places all of the public spaces on the lower level, while the bedrooms are located on the top floor. The design also makes great use of sustainable materials and employs passive building strategies such as cross ventilation, high thermal mass, setback windows, and operable skylights.

The spacious open floor plan maintains a utilitarian sense of function. The floors are made from colored concrete.

Oversized doors and cantilevered windows create a seamless transition from inside to out and give the dining area an alfresco feel.

A fully operable wall in the dining room brings in natural light and gentle breezes, making the most of the SoCal climate.

Wood decking extends out to the yard. 

Even the living area opens to the outdoors.

The home features three bedrooms and three baths. This bedroom can easily be used as an office space.

The master bedroom has a butt glass window and engineered white oak floors.

The third bedroom. 

The master bath features a Duravit/Philippe Starck bathtub and a wall-mount toilet.

The master bath also features an open shower with a glass partition and a dual vanity.

Negative space appears to be carved out of the dark exterior to reveal the home's bright white interiors.

The public spaces are all located on the ground level. The home fully opens up to the private garden.

The enclosed garden features lovely landscaping and has the feeling of a serene escape.

 1411 Elm Avenue, Torrance, California is currently listed for $1,699,000 by Coleman Eisner and Benjamin Kahle of Deasy Penner Podley.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Find out how to submit to Dwell.


Last Updated

Get the Real Estate Newsletter

From midcentury classics to the best contemporary spaces for sale, see the latest listings for modern homes on the market around the world.