Gold Winner: D.S. Ewing Architects, Inc., Pasadena, Calif.
Project location: Pasadena, Calif.
Sq. ft. before: 1,120
Sq. ft. after: 3,000
Project cost: $1.65 Million
This single story house, built in 1956, was one of the earliest Buff & Hensman homes designed in Pasadena. This 1,120-sq.-ft. post-and-beam house is located on a steep, east-facing slope in a grove of eucalyptus and pines and commands spectacular views to the mountains and the Arroyo Seco. Unfortunately, the structure itself had been abandoned for many years and was slowly slipping down the slope.
The objectives for D.S. Ewing Architects, Inc. was to maximize use of the entire site; respect the original architecture; add a lower level of 1,880 sq. ft. with a guest bedroom, bath, office, wine cellar and den; design the west facing entry for privacy and security; and control light and heat from the sun.
Of course accomplishing all of these objectives would come with some challenges. Because the original house was too decayed to save, the team wanted to redesign and build a new caisson and retaining wall foundation system on the steep slope while shoring up the old house in place. This also included building a new lower floor with the upper existing floor in place and developing a contemporary post and beam design that maintained the architects’ original 12 percent angled floor plan shape and retained the carport view channel. But the major challenge was to create a sense of place and privacy for an entry area that is 10 ft. from the road.
D.S. Ewing Architects, Inc. designed the entry elevation to be private from the street using walls clad in 8-in. Western red cedar with high clearstory windows above. The east elevation consists of glass walls with 6x8 posts at 8 ft. on center with aluminum grating sunscreens. This elevation takes advantage of the views from every room, captures prevailing winds and connects every interior space with the out-of-doors. Four levels of aluminum grating decks extend down the slope allowing indigenous plants to grow below and meet strict fire codes.
Bath Cabinets: Custom Honduras mahogany
Bath Fixtures: Grohe
Decking: McNickles, Feeney
Fireplace: Stainless steel
Flooring: Bamboo, concrete
Flooring Tile: Walker Zanger
Hardware: Valli & Valli
Kitchen Appliances: InSinkErator, Miele, Thermador
Lighting Controls: Lutron
Windows: Metal Window Corp.
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