Dr. and Mrs. Edward Domanskis bought this property to fulfill their desire to live by the Pacific Ocean with their two children, in their own custom designed house.
The narrow lot is located on the beach in an area South of Los Angeles, California. It is a very steep cliff in between two neighboring houses, overhanging a small beautiful cove with rock outcroppings projecting from the ocean. The access street runs along the top of the cliff, with houses on the opposite side. It was necessary to preserve all the neighbors’ ocean views in order to obtain permits to build the house. The maximum height of the roof, on the street side, could not exceed 3.30 meters. The upper floor of the three story house had to be just below the street level. The house could not project toward the ocean any further than the neighbor houses and each floor had to step back to follow the same slope as the existing cliff. The volume of the building was defined by these limitations.
The Owners selected Helena Arahuete of Lautner Associates to be their Architect due to her previous creative work. It was a great challenge to include all the Owners’ requirements in the available space, without making it feel confined. The house had to be recessed deep into the cliff, but the Architect wanted to do a design that would allow the ocean views and the sound of the waves to be enjoyed from every livable room. The clean lines of the house were intended to frame and capture the views.
The largest level is the lowest floor. The Architect decided to locate the sitting, living, dining and kitchen in the lowest floor and design these areas as one 9.00 meters wide open space, which is the entire width of the house. This is where the family spends most of their time. The Ocean facing wall is mostly glass. There is a glass floor panel in the sitting area above the beach, which is 10 meters below the floor, for a view straight down. The kitchen, which is recessed deep into the cliff, has a glass deck in the ceiling, with an operable window to provide natural light and ventilation. The open laminated wood stair connects all three floors into one continuous space. The stair is designed as a light weight sculpture.
The entry is at the upper floor, several steps below the street level in order to keep the roof line as low as possible. A travertine walkway leads to the front door, between a large planter with a sculpture by Lithuanian sculptor Algis Kuzma and a two-car garage. The image of seagull wings is used in the design of the roofs, in the front door and the garage doors.
The building materials were selected for durability, high quality and corrosion resistance due to the ocean environment: reinforced concrete, tempered glass, travertine, koa wood and rosewood. Some of the glass can be switched from clear to opaque, for privacy. There are recessed motorized shades concealed in the lighting coves, which also house small air conditioning ducts, indirect light strips and recessed down lights. The high and low operable windows are positioned to enhance natural ventilation. The roof is finished in marine grade stainless steel panels; the same steel is used to clad the exterior side of the rosewood frames of glass and doors. All the railings are frameless tempered glass to maximize the beautiful views.
My goal was to improve my Clients’ life by providing an inspiring space to enjoy the constantly changing light and color of the Sky and the Ocean. My greatest reward is that my Clients are very happy with their house.