Before I moved to Los Angeles from London in 1991, I had not heard of architect Ray Kappe. At the time, design buffs overseas were interested in quirky, anti-establishment West Coast architecture by people like Frank Gehry and Eric Owen Moss. But after arriving in L.A., I found myself looking for a route into the real architectural life of the city. Following up on countless recommendations, I met Ray and Shelly, his wife and partner. I also had an opportunity to visit their house, designed by Ray in 1965 and located in a canyon in Pacific Palisades.
"Giddy" is how LivingHomes founder Steve Glenn recently described feeling upon first entering a Ray Kappe–designed house. Giddy is how I felt, too, standing on the flying walkways of Ray’s own residential wonder: A controlled explosion of space, the house spills out over multiple levels, intersected by vertical planes of glass, wood, and concrete. Natural light pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows. In all directions there are views of the lush hillsides. The space and materials—and the light and the setting—all somehow act in perfect union.
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