Olancha House

The project site is characterized by steepness and views, and the design of the dwelling is a direct response to these two conditions.

A walkable roof provides the only flat outdoor area, effectively turning into the ‘front yard’, and features a swimming pool.

The sequence of space and program is vertical not horizontal, which is an inversion of typical residential experience in California that usually blends inside and outside on one single level, or plane.

Also notable is the small size of the dwelling, with less than 1,000 sq.ft of floor area.  To account for this smallness, many parts of the house were designed to perform more than one function.  At the interior, there are movable partitions that turn an open den into a guest bedroom.  Outside, a garage primarily tasked with storing cars, is also designed to function like a lantern at night, providing illumination onto the roof deck below and the street.  The pool window brings natural light into the kitchen, while providing a view into the pool.  The roof also functions as a deck.

By using only steel and concrete, the construction methods and materials are related more closely to commercial building instead of typical residential wood construction.  The architect chose to expose these building materials – as well as essential electrical and plumbing infrastructure – as a visual component of the interior design.  The resulting rawness is offset by natural wood walls and cabinets.  The white oak panels are ‘plain sliced’ which give the wood an even more organic quality.  The pool window helps soften an otherwise blank concrete wall at the front of the house.

Soft furnishings and fabrics selected by the interior designer provide additional warmth and texture.The designer’s approach was to create a blocked color palette for each space, to add distinction within the open plan that flows from room to room.

The views are primarily toward the rear of the house, and since the front of the house is built into the hillside, the focus is exclusively toward the rear.  There are no windows on three sides which makes the view even more important. All rooms are oriented toward the rear, and the bi-folding doors open to give a seamless appreciation of Los Angeles.

Category: single family dwelling

Date of completion: 2022 

Location: Mt Washington, Los Angeles, California 

Architect: Simon Storey, Anonymous Architects

Interior Design: Sarah Rosenhaus Interior Design; web: www.sarahrosenhaus.com

Photographer: Taiyo Wantanabe, Marcia Prentice

Building sq.ft: 1,000 (approx. sq.m 100)

Method of construction: Concrete pile/ grade beam foundation with concrete stem walls above grade; steel and concrete throughout.

Primary Materials: Metal siding on main house, wood screen on garage.

Interior Materials: polished concrete floor, White Oak wall panels, built-in furniture and cabinetry.

Major Brands: Franke, Bosch