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It was a claustrophobic box-on-stilts.

Call it a runway remodel. Thanks to a bold black line running diagonally from the street on one side to a view-oriented deck on the other, this house, which cantilevers over a steep slope, seems to launch itself toward the skyline like a jet on takeoff. Originally, the structure was a rectangular, somewhat claustrophobic box-on-stilts, typical of L.A. architecture in the 1950s. The owners wanted to give the house a brighter, more open feeling and generally update the main-floor living areas-but without adding new space.

Architect John Lautner met the challenge by treating house and front garden as a single unit directed toward the view. He took his cue from the existing entry, which opened diagonally to the living room. Accentuating that diagonal axis in both directions (toward the street and toward the view) is a graphic stripecarried out in granite paving, wool carpet, and deck paint.

Inside the house, Lautner replaced the living room wall facing the view with panels of insulated glass; angled panels on one side echo the diagonal theme. He cut a new skylight in the ceiling; the exposed rafters align with the diagonal axis. He also took out a wall between the kitchen and living-dining area, allowing those spaces to share daylight. Down one side, a red wall (visible in kitchen photo at far left) lends a feeling of solidity to the otherwise completely open space. Designer William T. Boyle of Design Studio West developed the new kitchen cabinet system. Outside the living room's window wall, the deck helps serve as viewfinder; new 6-inch-wide tongue-and-groove teak boards parallel the black stripe. A new 1/2-inch-thick, 54-inch-high tempered-glass railing, held between a steel track and a cap, forms a transparent safety barrier. This glass railing allows unobstructed views from inside the house and from the deck itself, heightening the illusion that the house is floating on air. To create a sense of privacy from the street, Lautner placed a new baffle wall 4 feet in front of the house's existing facade, allowing room for a shade garden. He replaced the old wooden porte cochere with an angular, clear, double-skinned acrylic canopy over a structure of concrete and steel; this functions both as a carport and as an abstract garden sculpture. ri
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Title Annotation:house remodeling
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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