Nestled into Santa Monica Canyon, this residence seamlessly fits into its wooded locale while serving as a backdrop for a world-class art collection. Organic architecture experts Kristopher Conner and James Perry of Conner + Perry Architects were commissioned by a deeply-rooted Los Angeles couple to design a home that seamlessly fits their family and lifestyle, while also showcasing a world-class art collection and effortlessly blending into a beloved section of Santa Monica Canyon.
Taking cues from the property’s surrounding Oak and Eucalyptus trees, the firm designed a residence that allows for reflection, openness, and serenity. Key design features include windows that frame the magnificent trees, extended canopy-like, cantilevered eaves, and fully pocketing glass exterior walls that open to a central courtyard to offer the perfect balance of indoor-outdoor living.
Every view in the house was designed to captivate with either nature or art. Initial plans by John Lautner protégé, architect Duncan Nicholson, set the stage for Kris and James, formerly with Nicholson’s office, to complete and enhance the project, despite his untimely passing.
The property was formerly home to a modest California 1940’s era cabin situated on a wooded lot that began as a test station for the Forestry Service during their Eucalyptus tree testing in the 1910-20s. It was important for the clients to honor this history and salvage as much of the original house as possible. Given their love for the neighborhood and its majestic trees, they repurposed felled Eucalyptus wood found on the property into outdoor furniture and key elements within the house, including the grand entry doors.
In keeping, exterior materials for the new home were selected for their organic nature, ability to age in place, and compatibility with the climate, such as charred wood siding (Shou Sugi Ban), copper, exposed steel, and concrete. Interior materials were chosen to reflect the nature outside, including a mix of massangis grey limestone and french oak for the flooring, weathered brass, blackened steel elements, and a variety of marbles and tiles, including art tiles by Lubna Chowdhary.
For the clients, who both grew up in the neighborhood, the chance to collaborate on the design process and build a space for their impressive art collection was a dream. For Conner + Perry, the home represents exactly what the clients were seeking — a quintessential California indoor/outdoor experience where everything feels open and unified.
“Each of them has described the house as having a magical or mystical quality, allowing light in at the right moments, as well as the shadows of the trees, and a calming mirroring effect,” says principal, Kristopher Conner.