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Right Down the Line

  • Goodman House is in a dense residential neighborhood in Venice, Calif.

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    Goodman House is in a dense residential neighborhood in Venice, Calif.

    Jim Bartsch

    Goodman House is in a dense residential neighborhood in Venice, Calif.

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    The infill site was a long, narrow lot, so the designed warranted linearity.

    Jim Bartsch

    The infill site was a long, narrow lot, so the designed warranted linearity.

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    Modern materials were used, but with warm touches.

    Jim Bartsch

    Modern materials were used, but with warm touches.

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    The home had to accommodate the owners collection of art and furniture, accumulated over years of traveling.

    Jim Bartsch

    The home had to accommodate the owners’ collection of art and furniture, accumulated over years of traveling.

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    Just beyond the entry is the kitchen, which opens onto the living room.

    Jim Bartsch

    Just beyond the entry is the kitchen, which opens onto the living room.

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    In addition to an eclectic collection of art and furniture, space was needed for the owners books. The living room floor looks like a rug, but its a smooth pebble aggregate that feels great on the feet. The room opens onto the front courtyard on one side.In addition to an eclectic collection of art and furniture, space was needed for the owners books. The living room floor looks like a rug, but its a smooth pebble aggregate that feels great on the feet. The room opens onto the front courtyard on one side.

    Jim Bartsch

    In addition to an eclectic collection of art and furniture, space was needed for the owner’s books. The living room floor looks like a rug, but it’s a smooth pebble aggregate that feels great on the feet. The room opens onto the front courtyard on one side.In addition to an eclectic collection of art and furniture, space was needed for the owner’s books. The living room floor looks like a rug, but it’s a smooth pebble aggregate that feels great on the feet. The room opens onto the front courtyard on one side.

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    The media room and home office is long and narrow, but its filled with light. Cabinetry underscores the linear plan.

    Jim Bartsch

    The media room and home office is long and narrow, but it’s filled with light. Cabinetry underscores the linear plan.

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    Bolts on the stair stand out as modern accents, a contrast to the soapstone and wood cabinetry in the media room.

    Jim Bartsch

    Bolts on the stair stand out as modern accents, a contrast to the soapstone and wood cabinetry in the media room.

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    The neutral palette extends to the upstairs hallway.

    Jim Bartsch

    The neutral palette extends to the upstairs hallway.

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    The owner wanted color in her house but didnt want to push against the neutral palette of the architectural materials. Her great solution: color inside the laundry room and closet doors.

    Jim Bartsch

    The owner wanted color in her house but didn’t want to push against the neutral palette of the architectural materials. Her great solution: color inside the laundry room and closet doors.

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    The bathroom floor uses the same pebble aggregate as in the living room. Floors have radiant heat.

    Jim Bartsch

    The bathroom floor uses the same pebble aggregate as in the living room. Floors have radiant heat.

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    Trespa, a high-pressure laminate, is used on both courtyard walls and interior walls. Like the sliding window walls, it blurs the inside-outside line.

    Jim Bartsch

    Trespa, a high-pressure laminate, is used on both courtyard walls and interior walls. Like the sliding window walls, it blurs the inside-outside line.

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    A long, narrow lot could have been a big headache, but architects Trevor Abramson and Douglas Teiger turned it into an advantage, embracing the linearity.

    Jim Bartsch

    A long, narrow lot could have been a big headache, but architects Trevor Abramson and Douglas Teiger turned it into an advantage, embracing the linearity.

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    Crisp yet playful, the homes north-facing façade is a shadowplay of rectangles in recess and relief.

    Jim Bartsch

    Crisp yet playful, the home’s north-facing façade is a shadowplay of rectangles in recess and relief.

The site, on a dense residential street in Venice, Calif., posed challenges: Closely surrounded by other houses, it was a long, narrow piece of infill, 40 feet by 135 feet. But architects Trevor Abramson and Douglas Teiger embraced its linearity, taking a potential disadvantage, turning it into a strength, and creating a home that’s as comfortable as it is striking.

“The house was designed to address the issue,” acknowledges Abramson of the long, skinny plan that’s essentially a bar with an additional piece attached at either end. Think shotgun gone sophisticated: The flow goes straight from the street entrance to the back door. An impressive swath of soapstone and Wenge cabinetry running the length of the family room and kitchen serves to underscore the home’s linear feel.

The secret weapon to making a long, skinny house feel spacious is being able to push the interaction between inside and out as far as it can comfortably go. (Thank you, SoCal climate.) Sliding window walls open out onto courtyard spaces. Trespa panels that go from courtyard walls to interior ones help maintain that feel; the phenolic resin panel’s sage-green hue helps bring the outside in.

On one long side of the house is a courtyard with both a garden and a swimming pool (yes, it’s a long, skinny pool that’s perfect for laps). Olive trees grow at the front entrance. Floors are a combination of concrete and smooth-pebble aggregate that looks almost like a rug and massages your feet when you walk on it, says Abramson.

As with any client, the duo asked loads of questions about lifestyle, habits, and requirements. “Hers were over and above just living in the house,” recalls Abramson, describing eclectic furniture and art objects culled from years of traveling the world, plus an extensive collection of first edition books. “She wanted a house that was modern, but that would provide a quiet backdrop for her art and furniture,” says Teiger.

Clean and contemporary without the chilly edge is no easy task. “That part of Venice has a lot of modern, artistic homes,” says Abramson. “We wanted the house to be distinctive, but didn’t want it to look different for the sake of being trendy.” Instead of being a blank monolith, the two-story home’s north façade is a sculptural wall of rectangles in recess and relief, punctuated by modular windows. The result is a shadowplay that’s crisp yet friendly, “Warm modernism that’s really livable,” says Teiger. “That’s what we’re known for.”

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