Chambers Folonis Residence

Chambers Folonis Residence

Michael W. Folonis Architects
Santa Monica, CA, USA
Project Year
Private Houses

Chambers Folonis Residence

Michael W. Folonis Architects as Architects

Design Concepts


·       Speed and Ease of Construction

·       Affordable Cost of Construction

·       Environmentally Sustainable

·       Timeless Architecture

As a young boy, I grew up in a historic landmark home in Claremont, California, constructed entirely of large river stones. The image of the stone house is strongly etched in my memory.  I was inspired to design our family home with a similar feel.  I chose standard Concrete Masonry Units (CMU) as a contemporary interpretation of the stone house.  It was important that the design invoke feelings of safety and security, and be able to survive the wear and tear of two young boys growing up.

In 1987, my wife and I purchased a 25’ x 80’ vacant lot, and the design process began.  For ease of construction, every block was drawn. The choice of CMU helped speed the construction process.  The masonry contractor simply counted blocks on the drawings to locate window and door openings.

The first floor measures 17’-4” x 60’ and is 12’ high. The dimensions were carefully chosen to insure there was no need to cut blocks. The stack bond made it possible for window and door openings to easily respond to the CMU construction system. CMU walls were solid grout with vertical and horizontal reinforcing steel to meet seismic requirements.

Environmentally, the home responds remarkably well to the Santa Monica year-round mild climate: cool summers and moderate winters. Windows were strategically located to allow for cross ventilation to cool the home nine months out of the year, thereby reducing the need for mechanical cooling.  During the winter months, the house retains what little mechanical heating is necessary. The entire downstairs including living, dining, kitchen, powder room, laundry and garage were constructed in two weeks, which condensed the typical construction process. The home was move-in ready in five months.

The home looks and functions today as it did upon completion in 1988:

A Timeless Piece of Architecture. 

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