Here at the Q, we love cool houses, but if you want us to pat you on the back and buy you a drink, get an old house and hire a great architect to give it an update. The fact is we don’t really need to build new houses—at least not at the rate that we do. Our existing housing stock is loaded with not-so-bad buildings that are just waiting for a deft hand. This Los Angeles remodel by Tracy A. Stone Architect is a perfect example.
Built in the 1960s, the house was not living up to its potential. “The bones were good,” says Tracy Stone, “but the house lacked functionality.” She continues, “There was opportunity to increase the ‘livability’ of the house – enjoyment of the lushly landscaped backyard and pool was previously available to only the living room.” The home had some good features—high ceilings in the living room and a strong indoor/outdoor exposure. But like many older homes, it was dark, with a warren of unused rooms and a small kitchen tucked away in the interior of the house.
To give the clients the light-filled, open-plan space they wanted, Stone gutted the service wing of the house, including the kitchen, laundry, guest room, and maid’s quarters. She gave them a new family room and a new laundry room, and re-purposed the existing family room for a game room. Stone enlarged the existing powder room with an added privacy foyer and interior planter, and brought in light with 360-degrees clerestory windows and sliding glass doors.
In addition to the fresh design, the home features a rich palette of materials that includes a plastered shower, ipe decking, 3form resin panels, a recycled aluminum sink, natural slate floors, a bamboo ceiling, walnut cabinets, George Nelson bubble lights, a Wolf range, Sub-zero refrigerator, GE Monogram wine cooler, and a Miele dishwasher.
“Overall, the renovation has responded to the wants and needs of the family’s lifestyle and aesthetic considerations,” the firm says. “The space is now open and light-filled during the day. At night, a soft illumination of the trees extends the family room into the garden and vice versa, in true California style.”