© Taiyo Watanabe
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Located in Santa Monica canyon is a residence designed by organic architecture experts Kristopher Conner and James Perry of Conner + Perry Architects. The residence allows reflection, openness and serenity, designed by taking cues from the property’s surrounding Oak and Eucalyptus trees. Windows framing the magnificent trees extended canopy-like, cantilevered eaves, and fully pocketing glass exterior walls that open to a central courtyard providing the perfect balance of the indoor and outdoor, are the key features of the design. Every view in the house was composed to captivate 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 once home to a modest California 1940s era cabin set on a wooded lot that started as a test station for the Forestry Service during their Eucalyptus tree testing in the 1910-20s. It was essential for the clients to honor this history and restore as much of the original house as possible. Given their love for the neighborhood and its majestic trees, the felled Eucalyptus wood found on the property was repurposed into outdoor furniture and key elements of the house including the grand entry doors. Based on the organic nature, ability to age in place, and compatibility with the climate, materials selected for the new home were charred wood siding (Shou Sugi Ban), copper, exposed steel, and concrete. Reflecting the nature outside materials for interior were chosen which included a mix of massangis grey limestone and French oak for the flooring, weathered brass, blackened steel elements, and a variety of marbles and tiles, which also included art tiles by Lubna Chowdhary.
The chance to collaborate on the design process and build a space for their remarkable art collection was a dream for the clients, who both grew up in the neighborhood. For Conner + Perry, the home represents precisely what the clients were seeking — a typical California indoor/outdoor experience where everything feels open and unified.