The residence that we’re about to present was constructed in its original form by Pierre Koenig in 1966, and it is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA. It 2011, it was renovated Robert Sweet in order to meet modern standards of fine living, and we have to admit that it looks simply fabulous. The renovation process also included the expansion of the floor plan and the implementation of new finishes.
Initially, the house was entered through an exterior walkway that navigated around the courtyard. The path was bordered on both sides by a 10-foot wall, which has been removed in order to include the entire courtyard into the entrance area. Actually, several other walls have been removed as well in order to allow uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. The living area, dining area and kitchen are all merged into a single space, while the master suite has been expanded and now replaces a small enclosed patio. The architects also added a brand new guest wing, which links the garage to the main residence. Blurring the limits between the indoors and outdoors, fully retractable sliding glass walls welcome natural light throughout the living areas.
Photos by Chang Kyun Kim
From the architect:
Located in Rancho Palos Verdes, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles known for it’s expansive views of the pacific ocean, the Henbest House is a rejuvenation of a California classic. The existing structure was built in 1966 and originally designed by the iconic mid-century modern Architect Pierre Koenig, who is most notable for his case study houses.
The new design upgrades the building envelope, MEPs, updates finishes and gently renovates and expands the floor plan to accommodate the current owners program, while paying special attention to respect the homes architectural roots.
Originally one arrived at the interior of the house via an exterior walkway which circumnavigated a courtyard. The entry path was flanked on either side by a 10′ tall wall, physically separating it from the courtyard. The new design removes this separation and incorporates the courtyard into the entry sequence.
A dilapidated perimeter wall is repaired and surfaced with ipe wood siding which meets the areas current fire code. A new board formed concrete wall is offset from the ipe wall, creating a layered opening into the courtyard. A new swimming pool which was inspired by Koenig’s original site plan, but never realized replaces a koi pond and pergola that were added later and not part of Pierre’s design. The swimming pool overflows into a shallow reflecting pool which serves as a moat for the entry path that leads to the interior.
Walls are removed to provide greater views throughout the house towards the Pacific Ocean. A compartmentalized kitchen and service core are gutted to create an open kitchen / dining / living space. The master suite is expanded, replacing a small enclosed patio for livable square footage. A new guest wing is added, connecting the once detached garage to the main house. All of the fenestration is upgraded to meet current standards including new, fully retractable multi-panel sliding glass walls. When completely open the house becomes a pavilion, truly blurring the indoor / outdoor boundary that exemplifies California modern.