Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 10/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Like so many kitchen and bath renovations, this project started small. Minarc, however, thinks big—and encourages clients to follow suit. Once shown the potential for their 1960's Los Angeles home, Gene and Philippa Taubman began to as well. Architect Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and his wife, interior designer Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir, soon got the go-ahead to update just about every bit of the two-story, 3,400-square-foot house, leaving the '60's far behind.
"There was a view, but the windows didn't support it," Thorsteinsson begins. Upstairs, where the public zone is one open expanse, he and Ingjaldsdóttir boosted the glass factor with an 18-foot-long run of bi-fold doors. Then, to take advantage of newly expanded sight lines, the pair pushed the kitchen back and raised it on a concrete platform with a steel step. The kitchen now has a view straight through the dining area to the canyons and the Pacific Ocean beyond.
Punching out part of the kitchen's exterior walls, facing the opposite direction, allowed Thorsteinsson and Ingjaldsdóttir to install a long horizontal window that forms an L wrapping the primary sink and work counter. The glass is at eye level overlooking the entry courtyard, where the designers installed a water element and a concrete walkway. Surrounding the kitchen window, the walls are clad in laminated glass, the same material that fronts the overhead cabinets—replacements for decades-old white-lacquered versions. The new lower cabinets are bamboo.
Stainless steel abounds, from the fridge and range hood to accents such as the toe kick ringing the island, also clad in bamboo. Overhead hover a constellation of conical pendant fixtures in laminated Murano glass, spotlighting the island's granite top. Slightly below counter height on the outside of the island, a teak shelf accompanied by a trio of slim stools invites family and friends to pull up for casual meals.
Minarc goes for minimalism, as the firm's name implies. Ditto for the ease famously linked with SoCal design. Witness the house's private quarters, encompassing three bedrooms and two baths on the lower level.
For a spa-worthy master bath, Minarc opened up that space as well. A glass door, framed in Douglas fir, slides up on counterweights to remove all barriers between the room and an inner courtyard, again part of the renovation scheme. Here, Minarc installed a 6-foot-high black-tinted concrete slab with a trio of spouts gracefully pouring water into a trough at the base. Behind the black slab rises the courtyard's 14-foot-high wall of pale gray stucco, creating a chiaroscuro effect.
Because the wall is windowless, the bathroom's tub can sit right inside the glass door in perfect privacy. The oversize freestanding shape, a streamlined egg of white composite, has pride of place on a teak runway set into the concrete flooring. In the opposite corner of the room, a glass cube of a double rain shower features the same teak floor inset.
Seated on the shower's built-in teak bench, the Taubmans could easily look out and imagine themselves in Fiji or Tahiti. Then again, from this vantage point, Brentwood looks every bit as appealing.