An addition and remodel of a 1947 Spanish/Mediterranean multi-level, five-bedroom home.
Referred by a client for whom he had previously designed a new home, architect Richard Blumenberg was tasked with expanding the existing house to accommodate his new client’s young niece and nephew, who would soon be moving into the home.
The existing house was a split-level with the garage on the lower level and a bedroom, laundry room, and gym on the floor above.
The non-conforming setback on the side of the home with the garage had to be maintained.
Problems to Resolve:
The home’s existing height had to be maintained to accommodate the existing side setback, and the view from the master bedroom had to be preserved. The above-ground addition had to be small enough to preserve the view from the home’s first floor.
Two bedrooms, each with their own bath and closet, a nanny’s room, children’s playroom, and gym, needed to be added, each without reducing the view. The kitchen and breakfast room needed renovating to open and maximize the view and create an indoor/outdoor living space. Other areas of the home, including the living room bar and the upstairs laundry room, also needed remodeling.
The client also owned the house next door and wanted to make certain his view would be protected should he ever sell that home.
Solutions and Outcome:
At the outset of the project, Mr. Blumenberg did a view sightline study to determine where the addition could be placed without blocking the view. In the end, it was determined that only a small addition could provide the necessary view protection; therefore, it was decided that most of the room additions would have to go into the basement.
A three-car garage was constructed on the lower level, expanding the garage into the addition area; consequently, a part of the new addition was devoted to the new stairway. The split-level second floor was also expanded above the ground addition at the rear and cantilevered in the front over the garage.
A basement set under the house that extended beyond the first-floor footprint was constructed. The above-ground portion of the basement that extended beyond the home’s first level was covered with earth and grass. Shoring piles were used to support the existing house and neighboring properties while the basement was excavated.
A nanny’s suite with a walk-in closet and bath, a playroom for the children, a gym, a bathroom, and a large storage closet were subsequently created in the new basement space. Also included in the nanny’s suite and playroom were lightwells and an escape ladder in case of a fire.
The kitchen was remodeled to provide access to the middle-level stairway landing, connecting the home’s upper levels with the basement. The French doors in the adjoining breakfast room were replaced with folding doors to open up the area to the outdoor living space, and a new bar was designed for the living room.
The outdoor kitchen with a BBQ was remodeled and the outdoor terrace enlarged; the condensers were concealed from view by hiding them on the hillside below.
On the home’s top level, two bedrooms, including their closets and bathrooms, were remodeled, and a laundry room was expanded.
For the property next door, Mr. Blumenberg developed setback requirements detailing where each floor level could be placed and where outdoor spaces would be allowed. In addition, he added height limitations and building restrictions specifying allowable locations for noisy items such as condensers. These restrictions would be recorded with the property, binding a future buyer of the home to these requirements.
In the end, Mr. Blumenberg not only succeeded in preserving the existing home’s multiple views but also found ingenious ways of addressing the client’s list of requirements. The result was a gorgeous yet functional space that readily accommodated the homeowner’s specific needs and expanding family.
Pacific Palisades, CA
Existing House: 4,787 square feet
Above Grade Addition: 462 square feet
Basement Addition: 1,036 square feet
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View Our Other Case Studies:
The Goldman Case Study
The Schapira Case Study
RLB Architecture is a high-end architecture and design firm that provides custom design, planning, drafting, and construction administration services for projects in the Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Malibu, Santa Monica, and other Westside communities. Richard L. Blumenberg is the proprietor.
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