A bespoke home nestled and perched atop a hill in the oaks in Hollywood Hills, the residence was born out of desire for highly considered design within a relatively modest footprint. In consideration of the environment and a wish to simplify, the clients wanted a smaller family residence. So they turned to Kristen Becker of Seattle-based Mutuus Studio, who also designed their loft apartment in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City.
In addition to architectural design, Becker worked with the clients on the interior design. A showcase of experiential choreography that rejects the traditional sequence of spaces, the seamless flow takes inspiration from Becker’s background in dance and an innate instinct when walking through a space.
However, the parcel of land posed a challenge for the design team because it was inset on a 45 percent slope.
Taking cues from the clients’ Irish travels and many visits to great castles of Europe, one enters from the top of the site across a wood and steel bridge spanning a secret garden through a monumental bronze door.
Always covered, the secret garden connects shafts of light into the guest bath through a skylight, creating the feeling of a protective fortress. Through the threshold and down the stair, guests are welcomed into a primary living space, an homage to the sense of arrival to a great hall.
Light pours into the space through the black steel Brombal windows. The far wall of the living area is all glass, looks south, and provides a breathtaking panorama of Los Angeles.
The kitchen area is made of blackened steel and walnut veneered cabinets with brass accents. The dining area is made up of caramel leather chairs and a Finn Juhl dining table. In addition, it features a circular, dark central hearth acting as a subtle separative element between the kitchen and living area.
The home is a perfect fusion of two worlds – old and new – with industrial chic and old-world interiors. It looks to the tradition of a medieval Irish castle and incorporates it into a contemporary California lifestyle.
A material palette kept elemental is yet another nod to the castle. Floors and stair treads are antique fumed oak, walls are cast-in-place concrete or clad in stained cedar siding, as well as accents of blackened steel and copper. The design is efficient yet supports a luxurious California lifestyle.
Project designer: Kristen Becker of Mutuus Studio (mentored by Tom Kundig while at Olson Kundig)
Project team: Renee Boone, CJ Christensen
Interior Design: Kristen Becker, Mia Sara, Jerry Sarapochiello
Photography by Kevin Scott