Anyone who thinks of libraries as dowdy, myopic book nooks obviously hasn’t seen this one. As part of a larger remodel and bump-out, it is one of two new spaces added to a tract home in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. That’s right—a tract home.

Making clever use of a sloping lot, Griffin Enright Architects took the opportunity to create a new platform a couple hops up from the main living area. This subtle move delineated the reading zone’s purpose, while at the same time allowing it to appear as an extension of the larger communal space.

The interplay between the jogged levels is further enhanced by what the architects refer to as a “material inversion.” Responding to the living room’s ebony fired oak floor and a white ceiling, the library is flipped, sporting a white epoxy resin floor with an ebony oak ceiling—an exercise in perspective that extends sight lines and draws the eye out to the backyard, where grade is level with the tops of the bookcases. Large windows and a skylight above the stairs (which wrap around the landing and go up another level) flood the space with light. After all, a good reading space requires good light.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.