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Spectacular Bel Air dream home is a showcase of Californian Modernism

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This spectacular project encompasses the complete remodel of an existing 1970’s house by SAOTA Architects, located on beautiful promontory in Bel Air, a neighborhood in the Westside area of Los Angeles, California. SAOTA architects are based in South Africa, this is their first completed project in California. The scope goes well beyond what you would see in a traditional remodel. The architects have completely transformed the existing structure into a home that functions at the highest level, offering a fresh contemporary aesthetic in the tradition of Californian Modernism.

Project Team: Design Architects & Interior Architecture: SAOTA / Development Managers: PLUS Development / Contractor: Gordon Gibson Construction / Structural Engineers: JLA Structural Engineers / Brokering Company: Bond St Partners / Lighting Consultant: Oculus Light Studio / Landscaping: Fiore Landscape Design / Interior Décor: MINOTTI Los Angeles / Artwork: Creative Art Partners

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The original home featured Spanish style architecture, which the homeowner’s requested to have stripped down to the studs. This way the architects were able to increase the footprint by adding onto the home where necessary. They created expansive openings to draw in natural light and the magnificent views over the Los Angeles skyline. The concept of “bringing the outdoors in” help to inform all the design decisions—from space planning to the exterior facade, landscaping, lighting, windows placement and shading.

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The house cuts deeply into a wooded hillside, drawing you into a leafy entry court to the home’s entryway. The exterior facade presents itself as a sculptural composition, “a massive buttress ties the house into the hillside; blank, stone-faced walls, incised with vertical screens hover over glazing, inviting the eye in and through,” states the architects.

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The front terrace was reconfigured with a new pool and linear planters to enhance views from within the house. A generous new linear canopy amplifies the width of the site, creating natural extensions of interior living spaces, improving flow between the various functions of the house, and providing comfortable spaces for outdoor dining and lounging. This iconic, 40m (131ft) long canopy – its skinny, expressed structure reminiscent of Koenig’s Stahl House – floats effortlessly over the east terrace as it draws a deliberate frame around the quintessential blue sky and palm trees.

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It lends new coherence to the remodeled elements of the former dwelling – and to a new theatre and dining wing to the north of the site. This addition bridges the original exit driveway and defines a new motor court to the rear of the property at a lower level. A new gym and spa, a cellar and staff spaces are all accommodated at this basement level allowing the main living spaces at first floor to remain light and open.

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What We Love: This sumptuous home is the perfect example of Californian Modernism, with its indoor-outdoor living and open and airy layout. The Los Angeles skyline views are incredible, we could imagine relaxing and entertaining on the terrace and watching the sunset over the city. Although the overall feel of this home is modern in design, the landscape really helps to soften the hard lines, adding an inviting warmth… Readers, what details in the design of this home most appeals to you? Please share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other popular home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of SAOTA architects: Contemporary family dwelling nestled on the Sydney Harbour shore and Modern pad with dramatic indoor-outdoor connection on the French Riviera.

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The overall palette balances warm and natural tones against the bold masses and crisp linear forms which characterize the architecture. An elegant canvas of French Limestone and white plaster walls is enlivened inside and out by bronze anodized aluminum screens, and light grey window frames. Internally, grey-washed ash millwork and doors complement both limestone floor tiles used throughout the living spaces and the oak flooring in the bedrooms.

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Carefully designed lighting accentuates the architecture and responds directly to furniture layouts, ensuring that a sense of intimacy is established throughout the open spaces. Concealed fixtures and discreet layouts create a comfortable night-time ambience; the twinkling LA Skyline remains the star attraction.

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The reconfigured floor plan aims to capture the essence of quintessential California living, with interior spaces feeling light, fresh and open, connecting the various functions of the house for modern family living and grand entertaining alike. Where possible, walls were replaced by full height glazing with sliding windows pocketing or stacking to create generous openings. Key bedrooms and bathrooms were re-designed to spill out onto exterior terraces suspended over the sparkling night skyline.

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Landscaping was designed to enhance the setting. Planted spaces helped to soften the look and feel of the contemporary forms, while also creating a sense of intimacy. Existing twin palms were retained at the pool terrace and feature in views out of the solarium bar and master bedroom suite, whilst low level planting and lawn to the terraces ensure functional outdoor spaces and uncluttered views of the horizon.

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Photos: Adam Letch

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One Kindesign has received this project from our submissions page. If you have a project you would like to submit, please visit our submit your work  page for consideration! 

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Niles
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Niles

Beautiful yes, but personally I leave my office to get away from this. I find no place in this house for our family portrait nor a place to put the pot my daughter made for me in her ceramics class.
No thank you.

vicki colodny
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vicki colodny

beautiful