The “Urban Pastoral” house creates a hybrid of city and pastoral life in an urban environment that feels refined and relaxed, simple and sophisticated. The fusion of city and country starts from the low-water Californian landscape that forms a scrim between the house and street which is permeable enough to engage the neighborhood—a physical and symbolic connector from urban to pastoral.
Merging indoors and outdoors is consistent with physical or visual connections to nature from every vantage. Ground-floor access to green space affords outdoor fireplace gatherings and dining. Upper-level green roof surrounds the building, visually extending the landscape. The rooftop meadow appears first when looking out, before seeing the city—urban space experienced through the lens of nature.
Exterior stucco and glazed brick are humble materials used in sophisticated ways, as are interior concrete, steel, and plywood, lending an elevated urban feeling. Living, kitchen, and dining areas flow into each other and are anchored by a sculptural element supporting a winding staircase. Four cylinders are wrapped in natural perforated plywood engineered into artful translucent wood screens. The high-gloss white-enameled stairwell curves up, around, and through the cylinders, intermittently intersected by wood volumes that conceal and reveal space.
The sculptural kitchen island manipulates the perforated wood’s shape from convex to concave. The split in the middle creates a flexible kitchen prep and cooking zone, and a pathway through the kitchen to other areas, including vegetable garden. The dining area appears as an enchanted forest with mossy green custom enameled tabletop and vintage green resin chairs. An ornate light fixture connects to local flora with its bronzed-iron oak leaves.
The stairs are the organizing element, anchoring and mediating living, dining, and kitchen spaces. Four cylinders—cleverly concealing powder room, A/V, pantry, and bar—are wrapped in natural perforated plywood engineered into artful screens that create a moiré effect accented by interior lighting. The stairwell, as it curves up, is intermittently intersected by wood volumes for a play of conceal and reveal.
The staircase is built on multiple dynamic systems that connect to each cylinder, creating interplay between structures. The relationship among the structures generates a playful tension, creating symbiotic dialogue and movement among them.
Ascending or descending exposes the relationship between spaces. As natural light from above draws one upward, the climb creates a journey through the home’s spaces. From the floating bottom-most steps that organically emerge from the living room and curl into the first cylinder, to the keyhole vantage point looking down from the landing, to the bright library contained in an even larger cylinder on the second floor, the stairway allows one to confront and discover new spatial relationships within the home.
Sporting multiple layers of high-gloss white enamel, the stairway balances the relationship among all major materials used: concrete, wood, steel, and glass. From the first step off the concrete floor to the cut plywood cylinders to steel beams intersecting the passageway and windows supplying dramatic light, the stairway’s building materials augment the relationships inherent in the overall construction of the home.