Into the WoodsAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Montalba Architects designs a warm, mid-century marvel in Venice
“Growing up, I spent my time between Lausanne, Switzerland, Carmel and Southern California. Having spent most of my formative years in towns and cities full of new and old forms of architecture, history, culture of design and the arts, I believe architecture and one’s environment can truly improve quality of life,” says David Montalba, founder and principal designers of Montalba Architects on his approach to architecture. It was this doctrine that guided the design of a Venice home that has a modern floor plan, abundant access to the outdoors and an overall warmth throughout.
Crafted for a young family with a sophisticated sense of technology and style, the 5,000 square foot home takes full advantage of the Southern California weather and landscape. “They had a clear sense of how they wanted to live, but not how the home would be laid out,” notes Montalba. “Ultimately that is what we do, which is to show clients varying paths of how they can design their lifestyle and home environment.”
Each space was positioned to enjoy one of three exterior courtyards and gardens while maintaining a sense of privacy. “It was important to make spaces where they could enjoy the outdoors from anywhere within the home, which was done by creating moments of pause, optimizing natural air flow and sculpting natural light throughout the home,” he says. Gallery-like moments were created throughout to showcase the couples’ dynamic collections of rarities found during their travels around the world.
While the main objective was to compose modern lines and a family-friend flow, creating an overarching warmth was crucial for the clients. Montalba achieved this by installing wood in each space on floors, ceilings and cabinetry that follows the stylistic direction and creates a cozy vibe. “By contrast, the concrete block walls give the home an almost mid-century sensibility while clearly creating a dialogue with the wood and other earth tones,” notes the architect. “We also really wanted to keep the tones darker to minimize glare and control the natural light which is so strong in that part of L.A.”
Designers Brandon Quattrone and Mat Sanders to provide interior selections and personality. “Designing this modern home near the beach for a young family, we wanted to support the architecture while giving the client an inviting and livable space,” says Quattrone. “It was key to strike a balance between simplicity and casual comfort.”
The designers relied heavily on cool tones in the art, lighting and furniture to balance the prevalent wood and concrete. “The materials in the build were very warm, so we worked in an earthy palette of grays, deep blues and sun-washed army greens,” notes Sanders. “Comfort was a high priority so we paid special attention to texture combinations in order to achieve the cozy-factor”
Being the clients were extremely involved in the process, there was no big reveal, rather a serene happiness with the final result. “One of the challenges we always work with is that designing a crafted custom home means shepherding and going on the journey together, which often is based on strong communication and collaboration with the client,” says Montalba. “It’s particularly rewarding to see the home becoming the framework of the family, and to see them enjoying its modern warmth and landscape.”