Representing a renovation of a spacious ranch house in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California, the Morris House flaunts 2,200 square feet of living space and was completed in 2014 by Martin Fenlon Architecture.
Even though the entire project was based on a limited budget, the architects managed to transform the ranch into a modern and luxurious house that is able to meet current-day standards of lavishness and comfort.
In order to ensure that natural light would be able to enter the main living spaces, the architects decided to implement a skylight into the roof. The opening of the skylight also allows hot air to escape, which means that it actively contributes to passive cooling.
The living room and dining area are now a part of the same open space that includes the kitchen. Skylights are also present within the roof of this open space. The kitchen, living room and dining area are connected to an outdoor patio that ensures fantastic socialization and relaxation opportunities for residents and guests alike.
From the architect:
This project, located in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles, consists of an addition and renovation to an existing ranch house situated on a gently down-sloping lot with an exceptional view. With the goal of maximizing light and space on a limited budget, the design was developed and modified in an improvisational manner by the architect and the owners over the course of construction.
The living, dining, and master bedroom and bathroom areas were extended out from the back of the existing house within a contrasting wood-clad addition, forming a new carport underneath. The newly extended spaces have floor to ceiling glass walls, which let in an abundance of natural light and frame the expansive view.
The roof of the main living space is punctured by a centrally placed skylight (reminiscent of ancient Roman compluvia, a centrally placed opening in the roof that brought in natural light and collected rainwater), which releases unwanted hot air out of the passively cooled space. Skylights also puncture the renovated kitchen which is now continuous with the living and dining areas. Together, these spaces flow out onto the new outdoor deck, where a sun-breaker frames the sky, transitioning from the interior to the exterior beyond.
Given the collaborative, improvisational nature of the project, multiple visions coincided in place of a typically singular one, with a result that is both rigid and relaxed; the addition hovers formally over the landscape, while casually integrating with the ground beneath it as a stair descends to an unfurling wood-clad runway.
Contractor: Kevin Anderson
Landscape Design: Joel Boulanger
Photographs: Eric Staudenmaier