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What can you do with 23 feet?

This Marina del Rey house makes the most of

a narrow lot. An innovative courtyard plan

helps keep it open, light, and spacious-seeming

Invention is the daughter of necessity: that's what Berkeley architects Marc Toma and Karen Burks demonstrate in this open, light-filled house. It fills a narrow 23- by 90-foot corner lot in Marina del Rey, California.

An innovative courtyard plan keeps the 16-foot-wide, two-story house from feeling cramped. In order to face major living spaces toward the light and view on the east, Burks and Toma placed stairs and utilities on the west wall beside a densely developed lot.

Like a modern version of the Spanish patio house prevalent during Los Angeles' early days, this 1,485-square-foot structure wraps around three sides of a small court. The living-dining area, kitchen, and master bedroom are toward the front of the house, while garage and guest room are at the back.

A 7-foot-wide connector of stacked hallways links front and back along the west side of the lot. The first-floor hallway provides space for a small laundry and bathroom, while the upper hall doubles as a study. On the outside of the courtyard, a 6-foot-high wall maintains privacy from the street.

Situated above the garage, the guest room opens to a small, private terrace and a stairway leading down to the courtyard. This separate outdoor access, coupled with the segmented plan, allows guest room and master bedroom maximum privacy within a very limited space.

Inside, overlapping volumes promote a feeling of spaciousness. The kitchen is separated from the living-dining area only by a change in ceiling height and a low buffet-bar to hide kitchen clutter. Both kitchen and dining room open directly to the courtyard.

Clerestories and skylights brighten the upper floor.
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:courtyard house
Publication:Sunset
Date:Sep 1, 1987
Words:292
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