"When they found the home, I knew it was the right one," says architect Kevin Southerland. He's referring to his clients, Mark Cramer and Tracy Le, who he met through a mutual pal, photographer Benny Chan. The architect was initially introduced to help Mark renovate his condo in Santa Monica when, along the process, the couple decided to find a home together.
With an eye for good bones, Southerland consulted Tracy and Mark on different options as they toured properties along the Southern California coastline. They eventually landed in the Pacific Palisades, on a charming residential street named after the late film director, producer, and actor Jack Conway—where they chanced upon a one-story home that showed little evidence of any alterations from its original construction forty years ago.
The property had never been sold, and was held by the son of the original owner, Paul, "a longtime local surfer who had very deep emotional ties to the home," says Southerland. Having grown up and lived in it for years, "Paul wanted to make sure that he sold it to someone who would respect its history and not try to destroy its original character. In his mind, Mark and Tracy were clearly the right people to take stewardship of this home and with my help, to renovate and update it."
As lifelong surfer himself, Southerland found kinship and trust from Paul, and as one of the first 100 architects to receive LEED accreditation in California, "I am deeply committed to sustainable design strategies," he vows. While Tracy and Mark requested a new trellis for the courtyard, and felt the interior needed to be gently reconfigured, they all agreed: "The most sustainable strategy was to reuse as much of the structure as possible," says Southerland.
Below, a look at the revamped structure with notes from Southerland.
"The most sustainable strategy
was to reuse as much
of the structure as possible."
—Kevin Southerland, architect