Raising The Roof pix
Kathryn Harris -- Interior Design, 2/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Sea grass is embedded in the resin panels of the ceiling-mounted light boxes that help define the public areas of this house in Los Angeles.
A steel moment frame allowed a 50-foot-wide wall of glass to replace the original stucco.
A custom sofa upholstered in faux suede and a vintage Ludwig Mies van der Rohe table anchor the living area, separated by a custom birch bookshelf from the den.
Stainless-steel counters top the custom cherrywood cabinets in the kitchen.
Glass mosaic tile distinguishes the shower in the master bathroom.
The rear wall's sliding glass doors and glass clerestory are sheltered by a cantilevered overhang clad in galvanized steel.
Furniture in the den includes a leather-covered sofa by Ted Boerner.
|If you're talking curb appeal, this ivy-covered Los Angeles house looks like it hasn't been touched since its inauspicious birth in 1950-something. Step inside, though, and Griffin Enright Architects's succinct but dramatic gestures tell a different story. From almost anywhere you care to sit or stand, you get an eyeful of pool, sky, Benedict Canyon, and the coyotes, deer, and hawks that patrol it.
Basically, the budget-conscious plan extended the view and introduced more light by opening up the rear of the house. Margaret Griffin and John Enright first removed the back part of the original gabled roof and extended its replacement at the same angle, so the plane climbs continuously, like a ski jump. Then, needing a back wall tall enough for the new roof, they demolished the existing stucco one and installed mullionless glass. Together, these two moves expanded the volume of the house without adding an inch to the 2,600-square-foot footprint.
In the bedrooms and bathrooms at each end, Griffin Enright did little more than add accent materials: cherrywood for cabinetry, Douglas fir for doors, stainless steel or concrete for sinks, and glass mosaic tile in the showers. However, in the compartmentalized public spaces at the heart of the floor plan, the architects proposed a complete transformation based on eliminating four interior walls. (The client, a Beverly Hills internist, got the gist of the concept by moving foam-core panels in a model.)
Now, function areas are simply suggested within a larger loftlike space. A floating bookshelf, supported by three steel columns, separates the living area from the den. A cherrywood island, capped in stainless steel, delineates the kitchen.
Clearly, though, the main architectural event is the sloped ceiling, which follows a trajectory from 7 to 11 feet. Birch-veneered panels cover most of the plane, with randomly placed rectangular slots punched through for pairs of track lights. Meanwhile, a narrow 30-foot-long skylight slices across horizontally, perpendicular to a staggered pair of light boxes with sea grass embedded in their resin panels.
"The ceiling is most often the thing that's forgotten," Griffin says. "For us, it became another plane of composition. Sometimes we thought of it as a carpet."
To establish the floor as another visually engaging surface, she and Enright removed the original Mexican clay tiles to reveal the concrete underneath; this they stained and finished in luminous epoxy resin. Both architects and client agonized over the sheen—which was perfected on hands and knees, like the Sistine Chapel in reverse.