The classics of modernism ring through in this house on a lot of levels,” designer Ryan Gordon Jackson says of a Los Angeles residence with sweeping canyon views of the Hollywood Hills. The renovated home, with its “right angles, simplicity of form and repetition of details,” he adds, not only resonates with modernism, but also called out to Jackson for a minimalist interior that would suit both the architecture and the homeowners. “The clients are very polished and have a sleek aesthetic,” Jackson says of the young couple with a toddler. “They really challenged me to provide them
with a house that was sort of effortless in its design.”
But to arrive at that sleek look, the structure itself needed work, and a lot of it. Although technically a renovation, the residence—originally a nondescript one-level building—is unrecognizable after its transformation by architect Hagy Belzberg. “I wanted to open up the entire house,” Belzberg says, noting the front façade’s floor-to-ceiling windows and the 55-foot expanse of glass doors that slide away to seamlessly connect the back of the house with the swimming pool terrace. Implementing the exacting modern design was not without its challenges, says builder Volker Radden. “In a contemporary house like this, you have no leeway to hide any imperfections,” Radden explains. “It has to be perfect from every angle.”
To complement those angles, a stainless-steel fascia wraps the home and alters its appearance based on the time of day. “It reflects the sky during the daytime, and you see a bluish glimmer that’s quite nice,” notes Belzberg. “In the afternoon, it reflects the setting sun.” The strip of steel crowns the succession of windows, which allows for views into nearly every room. A large wall in the front foyer, however, conceals the kitchen and offers an expansive surface for the owners to display artwork from their collection. “In a way, we wanted to build a mini-museum,” explains the wife, who enjoys painting for a hobby.
To that end, the main level of the home is marked by white-and-light gray terrazzo flooring. Jackson picked up the same gray tone in the formulation of the interior paint. “The color on the walls appears to be pure white, but it doesn’t blind the eye,” the designer explains. To create a stronger white, Jackson and Belzberg clad the walls surrounding the fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom with gleaming slabs of Nano Glass. “It gives you the most clear, clean form of white, and it allows the terrazzo to come forward,” Jackson says.
The designer repeated the gray tones in the furnishings, which include silk rugs and clean-lined upholstered pieces, many of his own design. “There is no inessential information, furniture or decoration,” says Jackson, who incorporated wood pieces with live edges to add warmth and texture. “They offer a reprieve from the linear forms,” says Jackson. “It’s more in the vein of a California style, where things are a little more relaxed and not so severe.”
The husband’s office flips the script with an entire wall covered with slabs of book-matched marble. The distinctive pieces, which Jackson and Belzberg selected with the homeowners, set the mood for the room’s black-and-gray color palette. Wire-brushed oak flooring complements the furnishings, which include a lacquered desk with Macassar ebony inserts Jackson designed for the space. “He’s a very charismatic person,” Jackson says of the husband, “and every piece in here is very strong by itself.”
The office is located upstairs in one of the two-story additions, which Belzberg designed to flank each end of the otherwise one- story home. The husband’s office provides a counterpoint to the wife’s brilliant white art studio on the opposite side of the house. “A his-and-hers crow’s nest,” Belzberg says. “I think it’s romantic that they each have a retreat to work in on either end, and yet they meet in the middle as a family.”
The owners share a similar romantic notion of their completed home. “We all got along, and that’s why the project is so successful,” says the wife. “This is our first house in Los Angeles, and it’s the one we dreamed about.”