Magazine article Sunset

A Celebration of Climate

Magazine article Sunset

A Celebration of Climate

Article excerpt

An open-to-the-elements living experiment, Taylor Van Home's hillside house just north of downtown Los Angeles was inspired by the tree fern-filled lathhouse in San Diego's Balboa Park -- as well as by the architect-owner's years of living in Brazil.

Van Home characterizes the house as Spanish at the street and Brazilian in its main living spaces, with Japanese influences at other points. As in a Spanish courtyard house, the entry wall is right at the street. Once inside this private outdoor space -- really an airy lath-roofed atrium -- you descend stone steps that follow the site's steep grade through a Japanese-style bamboo garden.

Here the plan becomes very fluid: no walls divide the open-air atrium from the main living, dining, and cooking areas. A kitchen island, support partitions, and a stairway are the only fixed elements. A bank of 8-foot-high retractable glass sliders can seal the kitchen-living space from the atrium in cold or rainy weather. Similar doors on the opposite wall open to a canyon view -- and more ventilation. …

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