Rey of Light

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Harrison Design architects a dream home for longtime Playa del Rey residents that brings in sunshine amidst minimal forms

Photo: © Trevor Tondro/OTTO

Harrison Design, which specializes in high-end projects was approached by a couple, longtime residents of the exclusive Playa del Rey enclave in Los Angeles, with the hope that the firm would be able to create their dream home out of their existing house. Despite the design constraints of the existing structure, the home was reimagined, creating a sleek contemporary haven in line with the owners’ minimalist sensibilities. 

“Working on existing structures can be a challenge but it’s always exciting to see how a major renovation can transform a dated but well-built home,” says Cerise Carleo, AIA, Project Architect, Harrison Design, “Our philosophy is to optimize the sense of light and openness, yet design a home that is warm and fosters a sense of well-being,”

Photo: © Trevor Tondro/OTTO

The owners had bought the home in 2004. But it wasn’t until they were working on a planned redesign of the kitchen that one thing led to another; the work turned into a gut remodel of the entire house.

Photo: © Trevor Tondro/OTTO

The clients loved the location but the home itself needed a refresh to open it up to the views and coax in the light. They wanted to improve the flow of the home through the main rooms. 

Photo: © Trevor Tondro/OTTO

The entrance was rethought. Pillars were removed and an all glass front door installed. An outdoor water element with limestone pavers adds a touch of drama. The original curved staircase was re-engineered in order to create the seamless curves of the new floating staircase that connects all three floors. An oculus-shaped skylight was added flooding the stairwell — and the home — with natural light. 

Photo: © Trevor Tondro/OTTO

With the building complete, Harrison Design coordinated with Los Angeles-based Ryan Gordon Jackson of Studio Jackson who matched their minimalist sensibility in his interior design. 

Photo: © Trevor Tondro/OTTO

Their sole request: find a space to display the large Buddha they’d brought home from their travels. Made from a solid piece of walnut, which Studio Jackson had lacquered to give it a contemporary feel, it was placed on a polished stainless plinth in the new entry hall, underling the new structure’s air of zen and calm. 

“They were truly speechless. The clients were involved throughout the construction process, but seeing the house fully decorated with all the art in place brought the space to life for them.”