This 2,500 square foot, single-family residence occupies an extremely small (30’x 45′) beach lot, on a busy corner, with ocean views to the west. The main design task was to provide enough square footage on the tiny lot to make the house livable, and still end up with a distinctive architectural structure.
The solution to the design task was to add a fourth-level basement that allowed not only extra square footage and articulation in the building’s facades, but also some flexibility in how the floor plan might be used.
In the floor plan, the basement level has been designed as a large media or game room…but it can also be two separate bedrooms if need be. Small bedrooms on the entry and second floors can either be bedrooms, offices, or workout rooms. The master bedroom and an office occupy the second floor, and the bedroom has an intimate, ocean view deck oriented away from the busy street. The kitchen, dining and living rooms…and another deck, occupy the top level with its ocean views. An elevator connects all four levels.
The exterior of the building has been designed with a series of overlapping and intersecting “planes” of integrally colored stucco and African mahogany that have been carefully manipulated to break down the surface and volume of what would otherwise be a box.
In the interior, sliding translucent panels are used to open one room up to the other, and large laminated glass windows provide abundant light and privacy. A staircase with a two-story, mitered corner window connects all levels and provides a dramatic, four-level vista. On the top floor, the kitchen, dining and living rooms overlap, and share space in a way that makes each of the areas feel generous. The doors to the deck open from the inside corner to allow the same sharing of space between the indoor and the outdoors.
Architect: Michael Lee AIA, Michael Lee Architects
Location: Manhattan Beach, California, USA
Type: Single Family Residence
Size: 2,500 s.f.
Images: Charles Chesnut