Defeo Residence

Venice, California
1998

The project brief was to add a 1,200 square foot second-story addition to an existing 1,450 square foot ground floor space. The program for the young family consisted of four bedrooms, three baths, kitchen, family, and dining room. A sense of openness and a stronger relationship to the exterior was desired by the clients. A bedroom, bathroom, garage, and the east wall of the existing house were maintained through abstract diagramming of the existing spatial conditions, and a sense of clearing became the strategy for creating a dialogue between new and old. The formal living room was eliminated from the program and one large communal space was created with a direct connection to the exterior green space at the back of the property. The office, kitchen, and dining room flow from this space and are connected by a vertical/horizontal circulation zone. Stairs, the front door, openings to a rear deck, and the corridor leading to the garage become the points of connection. The central circulation zone also connects the master bedroom with the front entry hall and is reinforced by a continuous tilted roof plane sloping from the front entry hall and ending at the master bedroom. Slight angles, tilted roof planes and cutouts along the length of the house carve the vertical space to allow for maximum light throughout the house and natural cooling from ocean breezes. Large corner glazing at the family room opens up the interior with views of the back deck and green space, connecting the front dining room with its glazing facing the street. This forges a connection between the community at large and the family within. Simple materials of exterior plaster, Douglas fir siding, mahogany windows and doors, translucent glass, oak flooring, maple cabinetry, slate counter tops, and ceramic tile bathrooms were used to complete these relationships.