Secret House

Rustic Canyon, California
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Secret House

Striking a balance between old and new, our scheme updates this 50s-era ranch while maintaining its neighborly scale and demeanor. The clients, three growing boys and two busy parents loved the look and feel of their Rustic Canyon home, but had outgrown its diminutive size and traditional plan. Though our intervention more than doubles the area of the existing house, the street-facing elevation betrays scant evidence of the change. Only at the rear is the transformation fully revealed: a dramatic timber-sheathed volume is inserted at the house's center. An expansive master suite occupies the upper level of the "box", while the lower floor accommodates a new family kitchen.

Rejecting the rigidly cellular nature of the original floor plan, our design loosely intertwines formal and informal, play and repose, while creating a dynamic sense of movement from interior to exterior. Covered terraces and operable glass walls at the living and family rooms further blur the boundary between inside and out. Our material palette references but expands upon the original; cast-in place concrete, natural-finished wood and smooth plaster combine in a lively dialog between modern and traditional, new and old, in and out.