Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects felt this existing Pacific Palisades, Calif., home did a poor job taking advantage of its Pacific Ocean views and wanted to create a home that highlighted the obvious asset. Through a process of “reduction and editing,” the firm reimagined the layout and opened the back side to the landscape.
The team first wanted to “create a journey from the public realm to the private realm,” says Takashi Yanai, partner at the firm. To achieve this, they teamed with landscaping firm Terremoto to create a faux beach boardwalk, with board-form concrete walls that hid the house—and ocean view—from the public eye.
To highlight the ocean view in the interior of the house, the architects reorganized the rooms to create a combined living space, with the home’s kitchen, dining, living, and study spaces in a singular room that looks to an outdoor deck through a 9-foot high, 40-foot wide opening. The glass doors help blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors in the home. The house’s ceiling slants out past the deck to create a covered outdoor area and contribute to the fluidity between exterior and interior spaces.
The project was not about “architecture for architecture’s sake,” Yanai said, and the simple, restrained material palette helped update the home without detracting the focus from the view and location. The open-concept interior space aids the functionality for the empty-nest owner who likes to entertain. The lack of program-specific rooms makes the interior space feel “gracious and spacious, depending on the situation,” Yanai said.