Santa Monica, California


When the Studio was initially approached in connection with remodeling a 1920’s Tudor home in the Rustic Canyon area of Santa Monica, we demurred, telling the prospective clients that we are modernists and perhaps not well-suited for the commission. The clients, a dynamic Canadian couple, persisted, saying they are very open-minded people and had worked with notable modern architects on other projects.

Begun with some trepidation, the project quickly became an engaging exploration into transformation. The home’s rich history and unique character is cherished by the clients and neighbors alike, so preserving the exterior was a self-imposed mandate. The dark and unremarkable interior of the home was ripe for reinvention.

True to their word, the clients wholeheartedly embraced the radical reimagining we proposed. We completely removed the interior of the house, turning what had been a tired interior into a light-filled, dynamic manifestation of the clients’ personalities. We replaced the cramped center stair with one positioned opposite the living room fireplace; at each landing, large windows allow generous amounts of daylight to pour in as well as creating a much-needed feeling of added width by opening new views to the side.

Being passionate about having a warm, inviting place for their far-flung family and friends to gather as well as being avid cooks, special emphasis was given to the kitchen and its connection with entertaining spaces, inside and out.

The tall gable roof forms of the home, once forgotten attic spaces, were exploited to create a dramatic two-story family room that visually connects with a gym on a new upper mezzanine level. The gym itself spills out onto a new roof deck that features beautifully framed views of the nearby Pacific.

From the front, there is only a subtle hint at the new energy within. The front door, once flush with the outer wall, was pushed back to create a soaring two-story portico, creating a sense of anticipation as visitors wait to be welcomed.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Bittermann