Creative Space Planning Maximizes Home Size on Narrow Lot

Exterior siding on the interior walls connects this modern home's inside to its outside. A neutral palette is highlighted by large, different-sized windows that fill the home with natural light and offer prime views.

Fun Feature Wall

Contemporary Living Room with Feature Wall

Connect the inside of your home to the exterior with an exterior siding treatment feature wall. This beautiful wall will lead your eye into the contemporary kitchen and offers visual interest and texture along the way.

Photo by: Lawrence Anderson Photography

Lawrence Anderson Photography

What did your clients want for their home?

As a developer lead project, they were interested in two things. First they wanted to put as much square footage on the site as possible and second they wanted something “cool.” We worked with the developer to help them understand that maximum square footage was not the only important selling point. We pushed them to try and make the house more appropriately scaled to the neighborhood, which is why the front third of the building is only two stories at the street level. We felt it had a more pedestrian scale to it.  As for the “cool” factor, we try to avoid the cool factor but instead design to architectural ideas (i.e., scale, sun pattern, materials) that become “cool.”

What was your biggest obstacle in designing the home?

Bright Contemporary Kitchen

Double-Story Contemporary Kitchen

Create more natural light in your kitchen or home with large windows. This contemporary kitchen opens into the second floor creating a double height space with large windows, allowing light to flood the home. Natural light is a beautiful design element in any space.

Photo by: Lawrence Anderson Photography

Lawrence Anderson Photography

The lot is a long, narrow lot with neighboring houses that sit very close to the property lines. When laying out the ground floor we were forced to place the kitchen deep into the property. The issue with this was that the middle of the property gets the least amount of light at the ground floor. To mitigate this, we cut a slit in the second-floor plate, just above the kitchen, and then located a large window at the second floor so that natural light would flood down to the kitchen. This opened up the second story and allowed what might have been a dark spot on the ground floor to feel light and airy.

What inspired this home’s design?

Since the developer wanted to maximize square footage, we were worried that the scale of the house would feel too big for the neighborhood. To bring down the scale of the house we worked in an optical illusion with the siding. Instead of painting the siding one color (which would have made the uninterrupted areas of siding appear even larger), we painted the siding three different colors, similar to neighboring houses, and installed it randomly. The speckled effect brings down the scale of the house and adds visual interest

What was your favorite room/space to design?

My favorite space in the house is the kitchen. As mentioned above, I like the slit in the second floor and how it brings in light.  Since the slit is L-shaped, it makes the connection between floors more dynamic.

What is your favorite feature?

Our favorite item of the house is the siding. We like how we used a simple material, painted wood siding, and made something rich out of it. We also love how it helps bring down the scale of a large building to more appropriately fit within the neighborhood.

What does the glass staircase wall add to the design?

Modern Staircase

Staircase up to fourth Floor Deck

Glass was used wherever it could be used to gain natural light into the space. On the left side is a wall of glass that shows the stairs going up the fourth floor deck. On the right is a wall of frosted glass that allows light in the master bedroom suite hallway. The hallway behind the frosted glass wall connects the master bedroom to the master closet.

Photo by: Lawrence Anderson Photography

Lawrence Anderson Photography

We are very interested in natural light for our houses. Whenever we can “steal” light from an adjoining space we do. In this case we knew the hallway was going to be dark. Instead of the wall along the staircase being drywall we changed it to a wall of glass. Natural light spills from above into the hallway.

Why did you use a hanging storage element in the kitchen?

The hanging storage was used to metaphorically “lighten” the casework. Light spills through and around the casework and also visually opens up the kitchen with the dining room, making the two feel as one.

What “hidden gems” are in your design?

Large Corner Windows: Master Shower

Master Bathroom with Natural Light

Natural light was key to liven up the master bathroom. Large corner windows were install in the master shower to make it feel as part of the exterior as possible.

Photo by: Lawrence Anderson Photography

Lawrence Anderson Photography

Each space has different types of window shapes and sizes. The windows were placed to capture certain views out or bring light in. The living room has high windows to capture views of the beautiful blue skies beyond. Bedrooms have large picture windows to bring in as much natural light as possible. The master bathroom shower has a high corner window which blocks views in but allows for views out of the sky and brings natural light into the shower. All the windows are connected on the exterior as vertical aluminum bands which cut the wood pattern.

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Modal Design

Modal Design

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Modal Design 5794 Venice Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90019 323-592-3271