Magazine article Sunset

Bold and Colorful Solution to a Tough-Lot Challenge

Magazine article Sunset

Bold and Colorful Solution to a Tough-Lot Challenge

Article excerpt

Squeeze the state of Nevada from east and west, and you would get the odd shape of the lot occupied by the house pictured here. Challenged to design within this irregular wedge, Santa Barbara architect Mark Kirkhart of DesignArc devised a walled compound with boldly geometric structures.

The lot, in a 1920s subdivision, originally belonged to the neighboring property to the west. But its owners sold this wedge, bearing overgrown gardens and a garage, along with an easement that allows use of the now-shared driveway.

After clearing the lot, Kirkhart began a budget-conscious three-phase project. First came a 16- by 22-foot guest house, which the Kirkharts occupied while work continued on phase two-the 1,950-square-foot main house, lap pool, patios, and perimeter walls. (Phase three will be a family room addition.)

Kirkhart's design combines the cubist simplicity of Bauhaus architecture with the intense hues used by such famous Mexican architects as Luis Barragan.

A flagstone entry walk forms an axis from the street, leading through a door in the perimeter wall, across the garden, and on inside the main house's front door. By siting the house at the rear of the property, Kirkhart was able to orient a 16- by 40-foot south-facing wall of thermal glass toward the garden. This is a bearing wall, with a notched-together framework of laminated posts and beams. Mexican terra cotta floor tiles finished with two coats of clear mat sealer) hold and reradiate the warmth of winter sun. …

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