JBB was the architect, interior designer and custom furnishings designer for this hillside modern home. About half of the furnishings were custom designed and fabricated by JBB Designs and the other half of the furnishings and artwork was sourced and collected by JBB interiors.
This home posed a challenge because the site had a dry creek and a water run-off from the hill behind. This dry creek runs diagonally through the middle of the property, deeming much of the land unusable. The creek also takes on massive amounts of water, during rainstorms, from the large hillside neighborhood beyond. To accommodate this challenge, we had to push the house to the far back right corner. This allowed the landscape architect to create a dramatic water feature with natural vegetation for the home to overlook. For the home design, we created an innovative vertical house on three levels. A traditional house, with the main living areas on the bottom level, would not work in this space as you would have to enter the home on the side of the hill – and you would be underground. Had we created a light well, you’d be in this very odd small space. So, we designed the home on multi-levels.
The first level, our basement, has two different unique architectural stairwells that are linked by a common art gallery. Bonus spaces on this level include a wine room, theatre, pool room, workshop, in-law suite and garages.
On the second (main) level we’ve created a courtyard house that’s a “U” shape around a pool. The pool is built in a concrete shell just like a commercial building. Since the first floor is also built as a concrete floor, the courtyard, pool and terrace actually serve as the roof of the floor below. We filled in the remaining bit of space behind the house and courtyard to create a nice flat yard that takes you into the hillside – which at 15 feet in the air, provides a significant amount of privacy and security.
The main level has an open kitchen with a very large hidden pantry in the back that contains a dishwasher, warming drawer, oven, sink and counter space for use when entertaining. This serves to hide unwanted views from guests.
The dining room and living room go off at different angles 90 degrees off each other off and from the kitchen. Beyond the dining room is an office and full bath. On the far side of the office is the master suite, and a second set of stairs that take you to two guest suites the third level. All of these spaces surround the courtyard and pool.
The front of the house is unique in that there are large expanses of 5’ x 12” sliding glass doors that open. Pieces of frameless glass act as our version of a modern Juliette balcony, looking over the scenic front yard.
The interior of this house is inspired by industrial elements. We used actual industrial reclaimed wood flooring and lots of Earth elements, stacked stone, warm tones, and ceilings in dark browns, to lower them slightly. We also used a lot of iron elements in the house. The family, originally from New York, wanted to reuse a wood beam that was in an iron holder in their Manhattan townhome. To accommodate, we bolted the beam to the wall of their dining room where it serves as the buffet.
In the living room we created a very eclectic mix of very warm textiles and comfortable seating surrounding a custom JBB designed central rug. Throughout the home, we mixed in a lot of antique elements (not just industrial items) like antique Oueshac rugs with nomadic tribal patterns, unique driftwood art, and Indonesian sculptures. The artwork is modern and uses bright colors. There are also many textiles hung on the walls. Even in this modern sense, the home has a very traditional flair and feeling to it.
The scale is a very important part of the architecture. This home is quite large – with 10,000 square feet of livable space, not including the bonus spaces and storage rooms. From the street, you don’t notice the mammoth scale of the house because we intentionally used ultra large glass. We organized the house to have a lot of different ceiling heights that vary room to room, providing different levels of intimacy and making the spaces quite comfortable. We didn’t want the guest suites on the third floor to be seen from any point in the house, so having the house tucked into the hillside keeps them private. When viewing the house from the street, your eyes move from the left side of the home (where you see a two and a half story tower for the stairwell) to the back stairwell, to the right side of the house (which leads to the third floor encased in rock). We chose not to put any glass looking out of the front because it helps to hide the scale. From the front of the house, we integrated trees in front of the architecture visually taking away some of that first level.
When standing in the courtyard, effectively on the first-floor roof, you have one story of space on the side of the office, dining, kitchen, and living rooms, yet when you view the bedroom side, you visually see two stories. We do this to enhance the space visually and to avoid that feeling of being in a well. By having the three different levels, you have a better sense of comfort for human beings, or if you will, a human scale.