Lady of the Canyon

Unlike many iconic Los Angeles homes that are designed to enjoy panoramic city views, the Laurel Hills Residence is in the foothills of the famous Laurel Canyon.

Laurel Canyon became famous in the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s as home to many of L.A.’s rock musicians, such as Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Carole King, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Canned Heat, John Mayall, members of The Eagles, Neil Young and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys amongst others.

It was party time all over. Those were the days and many things have changed including the Laurel Canyon as it became an exclusive residential area.

This villa is composed of three pavilions connected by a series of glass hallways, the single-story residence seeks to create a residential oasis in the heart of Los Angeles. Designed by Assembledge+ from LA, the house offers a secluded and inwardly focused experience against the backdrop of lush, majestic trees.

The Western Red Cedar lined guest house/garage pavilion establishes a datum line that carves and connects the two larger volumes of the living and sleeping pavilions, comprised of oversized charcoal-coloured boards, batten extira and cement board siding.

Large windows, skylights, and pocketing doors infuse the home with natural light, reflecting off wooden floors and marble countertops. A deep overhang mitigates solar heat gain and shields from sun exposure.  

A walkway of concrete pavers, lined by wild grasses leads to the front door, passing a courtyard with olive trees. The entry to the house is located within a glass hallway connecting the living pavilion to the west and the sleeping pavilion to the east, creating an intimate scale on entering the other parts of the house.

The fluidity between the kitchen, breakfast room and family room, creates a harmony of transparency and lightness. A glass hallway connecting the guest pavilion to the living area makes a metaphorical reference to the geological history, spanning bridge-like across an old creek that once ran through the property.

The entire site is treated as the designers did with the interiors. The surrounding trees and hills set the parameters and the exterior walls of the house were reconceived as a series of partition walls. The grounds are interlocked with the interior spaces, creating a series of outdoor rooms.

A minimalist palette of charcoal-coloured panels and Western Red Cedar served as a neutral canvas, complementing the home’s landscape featuring California native species.

The large surface area of the living volume provides enough surface for over fifty solar panels that allow the residence to be sustainable and remove itself from the city power grid.

Design team: David Thompson (principal-in-charge), Greg Marin (project manager) and Raul Aguilera (project architect).

Interiors: Susan Mitnick Design.

Landscape: Fiore Landscape Design.