Griffin Enright Architects choreographed a series of simple moves that brought space, light, and architectural interest to this ordinary Hollywood Hills, California home. Located on a steep hilltop in a densely populated urban neighborhood above Sunset Boulevard, overlooking Hollywood and out to the Pacific Ocean, this 2,000 square foot residence experienced a complete transformation. Here is a description of the project from the architects, “by removing only four interior walls at the ground floor, relocating a stair, and adding 2 rooms stacked on top of each other; we extended the interiors and created an open living space. Additionally, natural light and views were enhanced to maximize the apparent volume of space, blurring the relationship between interior and exterior and connecting the front and rear yards.”
An existing stair was relocated from the center of the house to the area of the new two-storey addition, allowing new visual connections among living, dining, kitchen and the library spaces on the ground floor. The stair ascends a half-flight through the stepped-up library to a landing connected to the backyard, and then switches back to arrive at an upper, sky-lit landing at the bedrooms above. The stair becomes a new central element connecting the stepped spatial volumes of the residence to the site, while simultaneously acting as an internal vertical courtyard that brings natural light and ventilation into the open center of the house. The vertical movement of the residence culminates at the roof via a submarine-like ladder through a skylight to provide the owner with a secret rooftop deck where views of Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean beyond are afforded.
The library is stepped up from the living area and into the hillside and it contains an eye-level, corner window that is at the ground level of the backyard and provides a new visual extension to the rear of the site. An elegant palette of minimal, black and white materials serves to enhance the illusion of open and expansive space. The library is a room within a room — an effect that is enhanced by a material inversion; the living room has ebony, fired oak floors and a white ceiling, while the stepped up library has a white epoxy resin floor with an ebony oak ceiling. The contrasting palette creates an interlocking condition which yields and apparent expansion of the space.”