View of the rough framing.

View of the rough framing.

Alder Residence

.......location: .Mt. Washington, CA
...... program: .Residential
.............area: .Existing: 975 sf Added: 1,315 sf
...........client: .Private
..........status: .In Construction

The Alder Residence is a 1,315 sf two-story addition to a tiny 1940’s bungalow for a graphic designer, her developer husband, and their two young children at the foot of Mt. Washington in North East Los Angeles.

The site is located in the Mt. Washington Specific Plan, which has more stringent zoning regulations and a much more involved building approval process then a typical hillside lot.

Since the addition is significantly larger then the existing house, we created a separation between them, so that they wouldn’t compete. The area between the house and addition is connected by an inconspicuous flat roof, which is comprised of a hall, bathroom and bedroom with large windows that look out onto a private court.

 
View showing the addition, which was conceived as a separate, but connected building that complements the existing house with open spaces to gather.

View showing the addition, which was conceived as a separate, but connected building that complements the existing house with open spaces to gather.

The ground level of the addition consists of an office, den, and double-height living room. In the office, a large built-in desk faces a panoramic window, which looks out to the rear yard and valley beyond. A maple built-in sitting area in the den integrates with the fireplace, creating a cozy reading nook. Adjacent to the den is the living room, which has high sculptural ceilings with large northern facing windows that bring soft light into the space from above. The living room is connected to the rear yard by a series of large stacking doors that can be fully opened to create a seamless transition to a covered patio and the yard beyond. The living room floor is polished concrete which extends to the patio, blurring the lines between the interior and exterior space.

The second story of the addition houses the mater suite, which is set back to reduce the building’s mass from the adjacent outdoor areas. The addition’s roofline is a continual spiral up from the rear, which follows the angle of the sculptural stair that connects the master suite to the living room. This spiral culminates in the master’s 14’ high ceilings and full height windows with a spectacular view towards Mt. Washington.  The master bathroom and master suite is clad in bees wax finished maple that emphasizes these as distinct elements within the overall space.  

At the rear of the master bedroom, a series of stacking doors slide away, opening the space to a private balcony and sitting area that’s carved into the roof. A triangular window at the sitting area creates a connection and brings additional light into the living room.

The building’s exterior is clad in a vertical grained cedar, sealed with matte oil that preserves the wood’s natural warmth. The roof, windows, and doors are clad in a dark anodized metal that emphasizes their crispness, as a counterpoint to the softness of the wood.