Spaces: Johnston Marklee & Associates: Chan Luu Residence

. Saturday, November 6, 2010

Perched on a Pacific Palisades cliff, is the home of fashion and jewelry designer Chan Luu, designed by Johnston Marklee and Associates.

From an article by Pilar Viladas of the New York Times: "Given the increasingly stringent requirements for hillside construction in Los Angeles, Johnston and Lee tried to maximize the volume of the house while minimizing its footprint — a strategy that also let them get away with using only nine concrete caissons to anchor the house to the hill. So they ended up with a three-story structure: the rather cavelike master bedroom is one floor below the main space, and the second bedroom is one floor above, with the study. The house’s faceted exterior conceals the considerable amount of structural steel required for the building; otherwise, Lee says, ‘‘it would have looked like a Case Study house on steroids.’’ They wanted the house to look as monolithic as possible — ‘‘almost as a stone on the landscape,’’ Johnston says — so the exterior was coated with a flexible stuccolike material that is generally used for industrial buildings. Collaborating with the artist Jack Pierson, the architects chose a lavender gray that echoed the silvery bark of the eucalyptus trees that flourish here.

Inside, the spareness of the interiors is balanced by Luu’s sense of whimsy, which led her to buy a fuchsia credenza for the living room and to festoon the light fixture that the architects chose for the dining area with jewelry of her own design. And of course there is the view and the abundant greenery. ‘‘When the doors are open,’’ Luu says, ‘‘you are outdoors."

Complimenting the interiors are some fine pieces of 20th Century design, including a pair of Finn Juhl Pelican lounge chairs, an Eames LTR Table, and a Frank Gehry cardboard Wiggle Chair.

Photography by Dominique Vorillon.


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