Tour of a house in the hills of Los Angeles with a dream pool

Barbara Bestor knows where to put her hands when she’s on a historic California property. At the helm of the Bestor Architecture studio, which she founded in Los Angeles in the AD100s, she has over the years designed many renovations and created additional smart structures for real jewels from the 20th century, such as. Silvertop villa designed by John Lautner in 1956 an engineering holding in Silver Lake, known for its concrete roof resembling a UFO, and Rudolph Schindler’s Roth Residence from 1946, of which he has renovated the canopy. It was therefore no surprise when Bill Macomber and Annie Weisman Macomber – he is the producer on Fancy Film; she is the author and producer of TV series like Desperate housewives And Physical – they contacted her to inform her that they had bought and refurbished Lipetz House from 1936 by Raphael Soriano, but that they needed more space.

The original project was to create a discreet extra structure next to the original, which is shaped like a ship’s bow and boasts stunning views and a glamorous art deco vibe. (“It should be 20 or 30 years older than many of the houses you usually see in Los Angeles,” Bestor explains). But when a plot of land right next to the house went up for sale, the couple and Bestor completely changed direction. Why not create a structure from scratch that would create a kind of dialogue with the small property designed by Soriano? The couple’s two children grew up, and Soriano’s house started to get a little cramped. A true architectural gem, which could easily have become the new guesthouse.

But it was not enough to create any structure from scratch. Grandfather and his clients wanted to create a new space that would connect to the other house, and with the reason, it read: “I would push out the hill, in a way, “says Bestor,” based on this organic form and transforming it into something abstract. “The result is an airy structure, both inside and out, with preformed concrete walls and a sculptural white roof-zigzag consisting of prefabricated scissor rafters.” And it is as if the house went down the hill, from one step to the other, of the giant springs that children play with. Macomber points out another intriguing visual element: “In Soriano’s house there is nautical themevisible in the living room, shaped like a rounded bow, and taken from the new house, with its white waves, is its sea “.

The roof was covered with a reflective white vinyl material, TPO, which in addition to creating a sculptural atmosphere has a number of advantages: “It can be washed with the water pump, it is fireproof, it is light and reflective, in short, the environmentally friendly benefits”.

This way of thinking – where practicality and efficiency lay the foundation for creating beautiful structures – is not so different from how many of the experimental architects from 20th century Los Angeles they drew their houses. “We’ve restored some of Lautner’s creations around here,” says Bestor, “learned a lot from the 20th century and apply them to the 21st.” And in this project, Bestor does just that. The floors are cast concrete – which means that the foundation is the floor itself – a cheap solution loved by modernists. Mirrors are used to dematerialize surfaces and emphasize the surrounding landscape, a trick often used by modernist architect Richard Neutra. There is a large covered structure for cars, a shed, therefore, and not a garage – a distinctive feature that we find in famous Photo by Julius Shulman on the Los Angeles architecture of the 20th century – which extends the roof line, alleviates the proportions of the house and serves as both a shady space and a place of entertainment. And perhaps most striking is that the windows cut through the center of the house, creating a sense of transparency and giving a nice view of the mountains and the artificial lake, depending on which direction you look in (as from Lautner’s Silvertop house). But homeowners should not worry too much about curtains or shade, because thanks to the eaves protruding from the concrete roof, there is never too much direct light.

As for the interior, they are defined by ceilings 3.5 and 4 meters high and clad in Douglas fir wood. Weisman Macomber explains, “We wanted our home to embody the quintessence of California: open, airy, in constant dialogue with the nature we are fortunate enough to live in.” After consulting on fabrics and furniture with Amy Sklar Design, they decorated the house with an inviting mix of pieces modern from the middle of the century of designers like Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto and Hans Wegner, modern lighting and family heirlooms. Bestor calls the palette “pretty soft, with some glimmers of color,” such as the Van Gogh-inspired yellow front door, the outburst of color in the blue tiles in the bathroom, and the pink kitchen, a perfect match with the countertops. made to measure in Venetian terrazzo.

Throughout the house, Bestor has created a sequence of elegant built-in furniture, such as the low Waka-Waka wooden bookcase that winds around the living room, and a kind of niche / hiding place in the kitchen above – a special wish. of the kids and the father who as a child had something similar in the family home in Maine: “It’s the perfect place to read a book and listen to the adults’ conversations from above,” jokes Macomber.

As California architects have long understood, the most beautiful space in a house can be the outdoor space. And focus on indoor-outdoor life was fundamental to this house, where the terraces are inserted in front and behind, the living area is doubled, and extends into the pool area, and the glass walls can open to facilitate movement between inside and out. “The house is ‘porous’ in the best sense of the word,” says Weisman Macomber. “There’s a little separation between inside and out.” Yet there is privacy. The bedrooms are located one step lower than the main living area, giving the feeling of being a more inviting and intimate place. And the forest-green TV room, perhaps the only room in the house that is not totally flooded with natural light, is hidden, almost like a bunker.

Finally settled in their new home, and with diminishing restrictions during the pandemic, Macomber and Weisman Macomber enjoy life in their new home with all its benefits. On weekend afternoons you swim in the pool and prepare dinner for the guests. Enjoy cocktails on the south-facing terrace, watch the sunset and dine al fresco. “Now that people are coming to visit us, we realize how ingenious Barbara was at creating open spaces that flow from the outside in,” Macomber says, “and when the cool breeze from Los Angeles falls in the evening, we can close the doors. , and keep chatting. “

Leave a Comment