Located on a sunny hillside at the edge of Griffith Park, the existing house did not take advantage of the natural conditions of its site. Connections to the outdoors were inadequate. With main living areas located on the second floor, access to the outside was limited. The only usable outdoor space was located on the first floor and accessed only through an office space. Views from inside the house were restricted by the size and location of the windows. With lack of insulation, disregard for the building orientation and natural ventilation, the house was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Although not understandable from the vantage point of the buildings entrance, the angled plan of the existing home provided some interest and followed the contours of the site.
The owners of the home love the outdoors, and wanted a home that better fit their lifestyle. As the President and Treasurer of the Friends of Griffith Park, they were particularly interested in creating indoor/ outdoor spaces that took advantage of the natural setting of the home. The scope of work included a renovation of the existing house and an addition including a master suite, office and breakfast area, all complimented with adjoining outdoor spaces. Starting from scratch on the addition allowed great design freedom, while budgetary constraints did not allow for a total reworking of the existing home, so strategic choices had to be made to select design changes that had the most impact, and supported the overall goals of the project.
One of the main goals of this addition and renovation was to improve connections to the outdoors, increase usable outdoor space, maximize views and the presence of the natural landscape, all while maintaining the owners privacy. The project needed to make the best use of natural ventilation and limit the need for heating and cooling in this moderate climate. The impact of the addition on the site needed to be minimized, in terms of added building footprint and amount of grading. Energy and water consumption also needed to be kept to a minimum.
The design potential of the existing home’s angled plan was exploited with the addition of a new 3rd floor master suite which cantilevers off the building and reveals the building’s shifting geometry. Relating to the construction of the existing house, the traditional stucco exterior walls of addition were reconceptualized as more of a protective shell. Along with deep overhangs, these walls protect against the hot south and west exposures, while full height glazing opens up the house up to the exterior landscape on the north and east exposures of the addition. A glass wall on the east side of the house completely retracts eliminating the separation between the inside and a private outdoor terrace. A cedar wrapped “box” containing the service spaces is inserted into the east elevation. Cedar infill panels are used on the 3rd floor and at an existing recess on the first floor to create a unified design.
The addition’s sloping roof was designed to channel rainwater to storage tanks, while also allowing for passive cooling indoors, venting hot air through transom windows. The sloping roof also provides a hidden location for photovoltaic panels. The house takes full advantage of natural breezes in the canyon. Selective replacement of existing windows creates more operable openings improving cross ventilation in the existing house, while hot air is also vented to the 3rd floor through a natural chimney effect.
Office and breakfast areas were created in an extension to the 2nd floor, both with direct connections to outdoor terraces. The cantilever of the 3rd floor master suite provides a covered outdoor living space off the kitchen. Reclaimed wood from a barn at the owner’s family homestead was used to create much of this home’s built in furnishings.
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New Master Bedroom and renovated home
Before renovation and addition
Master Suite and Renovated Home
Master Suite and Garden
Patio from Master Suite
Master Suite at night
Wood box containing storage and Master Bath