Hollywood Hills House Los Angeles, CA- Kristen Becker, Mutuus Studio
A bespoke home nestled and perched atop a hill in the oaks in Hollywood hills, the residence was born out of desire for highly considered design within a relatively modest footprint. In consideration of the environment and the desire to simplify, the clients yearned for a smaller footprint for their family residence, much like their New York City Penthouse loft. Inset on a 45 percent slope, the parcel posed a challenge for the design team. Taking cues from the clients’ Irish travels and many visits to great castles of Europe, one enters from the top of the site across a wood and steel bridge spanning a secret garden through a monumental bronze door. Always covered, the secret garden connects shafts of light into the guest bath through a skylight, creating the feeling of a protective fortress. Through the threshold and down the stair, guests are welcomed into a primary living space, an homage to the sense of arrival to a great hall.
The kitchen area is made of blackened steel and walnut veneered cabinets with brass accents. The dining area is made up of caramel leather chairs and Finn Juhl dining table and features a circular, dark central hearth acting as a subtle separative element between the kitchen and living area. The living area is filled with eclectic artifacts featuring African masks, a willy Daro bronze table, and cast from a childhood bone break displayed like a relic. Light pours into the space through the black steel Brombal windows. The far wall of the living area is all glass and looks south and provides a breathtaking panorama of Los Angeles. One of the most notable features of the living space is a heavy metal gear-and-chain pivoting window, not only an opulent gesture that complements the interior objects but also an emphasis on the idea of ever changing, interweaving spaces. A pivoting window opens to the east terrace and a secondary dining room, allowing the visitor to zigzag down to the pool and lower guest rooms.
A showcase of experiential choreography that rejects the traditional sequence of spaces, the seamless flow through the house speaks to the designer’s background in dance and an innate instinct when walking through a space. A perfect fusion of two worlds, old and new with industrial chic and old-world interiors. An impressive achievement that looks to the tradition of medieval Irish castle and incorporates it into a contemporary California lifestyle. A new and different nod to Case Study Houses as the house continues to further explore the ideological image of intersecting spatial realms and portrays a contemporary commanding presence a top the Hollywood hills.
The house indulges with a double stair, separating the space sequence into private and public quarters. The public continues down to the media, the private on the other hand, introduced the private quarters. All intentionally nestled back into the mountain, cozy, and anchored reassuring a level of safety and nurture that marks the end of the performance started at the bridge. A material palette kept elemental, yet another nod to the castle. Floors and stairs treads are antique fumed oak, walls are cast-in-place concrete or clad in stained cedar siding, as well as accents of blackened steel and copper. The design is efficient yet supports a luxurious California lifestyle.
Project Designer: Kristen Becker of Mutuus Studio
(Mentored by Tom Kundig while at Olson Kundig)
Project Team: Renee Boone, CJ Christensen
Interior Design: Kristen Becker, Mia Sara, Jerry Sarapochiello
Photography by Kevin Scott