It’s not often that a house tour begins on the roof. But as you step past the entry gate of the Barrington residence in Los Angeles’s Brentwood neighborhood, you find yourself facing several artificial-turf-covered steps leading to the structure’s summit, which boasts a commanding view of the Getty Center, the mountaintop museum complex designed by Richard Meier. “This vista wasn’t accessible at all from the original house,” says architect Eric Rosen, who designed its surprising, multiterraced replacement for a couple and their two children.

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A combination of site, context, and the work of a 1970s conceptual artist inspired Rosen to develop the new house’s zigzagging form and counterintuitive massing. As the steep lot was cleared, exceptional sight lines to the east and north emerged. Rosen saw an opportunity to cut a deep east–west channel into the hillside to permit a view clear through the structure, echoing Gordon Matta-Clark’s “Splitting,” a photo series documenting an abandoned house the artist had sliced through with a chainsaw. The channel became the floor plan’s organizing principle, and its placement allowed Rosen to reuse existing pool footings and a retaining wall running roughly north–south.

The new pool and its surrounding decks, perched on the northern portion of the property, pinwheel outward from the roof, counterbalancing the new three-story dwelling carved into the hillside. These outdoor spaces step down gradually in elevation to meet the house’s top floor on its fully glazed east side. Their staggered heights and crisp orthogonal motifs echo both the land’s rugged contours and the massing of the Getty Center on top of the mountain to the north.

The house’s three floors were also shaped by terrain and function. On the west, street-facing elevation, the main entry to the top floor follows the line of the channel cut: a gentle descent down floating concrete steps to a glass door that opens onto a skylit vestibule. This transitional space separates two zones: a generous kitchen and the family room that flows seamlessly into the adjacent deck, and a more intimately scaled dining room, bar nook, and living room. Balancing the daylight that spills indoors, dark-toned ceilings and floors in mahogany and concrete create a welcoming sense of enclosure.

From the channel-cut area of the top floor, a handsome cantilevered concrete stair descends one flight, ending at a gathering room. The master suite, kids’ bedrooms and bathrooms, and guest suite spill into this area, giving the family and guests a multipurpose hangout spot that’s secluded from the open, public rooms above. House guests also enjoy an outdoor sitting nook off the guest bedroom, at the bottom of a light well where two deep, board-formed concrete walls meet. The third and lowest level contains living quarters for household help, and a playroom that opens onto a terraced backyard. It’s from the yard that the stucco- and zinc-clad assembly becomes fully visible. While the interiors maintain an intimate, domestic scale, from this vantage point, the 9,500-square-foot structure looms large on the hilltop.

Rosen is quick to credit top-notch subcontractors for their painstaking work on the challenging site, including a concrete sub who carried the architect’s physical model of the cantilevered stair in his truck as he figured out how to sequence the pours. But the key project role here was Rosen’s dual one as architect and general contractor, which gave him full responsibility to build the bold structure he designed. Construction began simultaneously on the house’s northern and southern edges, moving inward toward the channel—a risky technique, but one that would enable the house to take shape as envisioned. “There came a point where we had to jump in, trusting that all our work would pay off,” says Rosen. “When the two sides came together within a ⅛-inch tolerance, we all breathed a sigh of relief.” For a house so obviously inspired by and sprung forth from its site, it was a singular achievement.



Eric Rosen Architects
11525 W Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90066
ph 310-313-3052
fx 310-313-3062


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Lesley Graham - Senior Project Designer/ Manager (not a registered architect)


Architect of record:

Eric Rosen


Interior designer:

Luis Ortega Interiors



Structural: David H. Lau & Associates, Inc.
Civil: Barbara L. Hall, P.E., Inc.
Mechanical: Monterey Energy Group



Landscape: Design Studio MA


General contractor:

Ely Company with Eric Rosen Architects as Construction Manager



Joe Fletcher Photography, 415-216-7948


Structural System

Concrete foundations and retaining walls with primary steel frame and wood framing infill

Exterior Cladding

Metal panels: VM Zinc

Metal/glass curtain wall: Sun Valley Skylights Windows & Doors

Precast concrete: Decks: custom concrete tiles by Concrete Wave

Wood: Decks: IPE tiles by Tile Tech Pavers

Moisture barrier: Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing

Other cladding unique to this project: Wall Cladding: Custom Marble
Pool Tile: Vision Glass
Spa: custom stone slabs


Metal: VM Zinc

Other: Roofing Membrane: Fibertite
Synthetic Grass:  Hunny Do


Metal frame: Sun Valley Skylights Windows & Doors


Glass: Exterior Doors/ Windows: Sungate

Skylights: Custom by Sun Valley Skylights Windows & Doors with Sungate glazing


Entrances: Metal frame: Sun Valley Skylights Windows & Doors

Wood doors: Interior Doors: American Building Supply, Inc.

Sliding doors: Exterior Sliding Doors: Western Window System


Locksets: Swing Doors: FSB
Pocket Doors: Halliday & Ballie

Pulls: Cabinet Pulls:  Alno, Inc. & Hafele
Pivot Door: Hafele

Security devices: ADT

Other special hardware: Pivot Door Hardware: Dorma

Interior Finishes

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: custom

Paints and stains: Wall & Ceiling Paint: Benjamin Moore
Concrete Floor Stain: Ameripolish

Wall coverings: Powder Room: Innovations USA
Dining Room Ceiling: Jasper

Paneling: custom wood

Floor and wall tile: Kitchen Walls: custom marble
Kitchen Countertops: custom granite
Bathrooms: custom stone walls, floors and countertops
Her Master Bathroom floor inlay: Ann Saks custom mosaic

Carpet: Lower Floor: Masland Contract

Special interior finishes unique to this project: walls: stucco by Merlex


Interior ambient lighting: LED Cove Lights: Revolt Lighting

Downlights: Halo LED
Iris LED & MR16

Exterior: Sconces: Hevi Lite Inc
Landscape: Hurtix Lighting
Deck: Focus Industries

Dimming system or other lighting controls: Vantage


Bathroom Fixtures: Hansgrohe
Bathroom Fixtures: Cal Faucets
Master Tub: BainUltra
Bathroom Sinks & Toilets: Kohler
Kitchen Faucets: Dornbracht
Kitchen Sinks: Blanco
Bar Faucet: Vola
Bar Sink: Kohler
Powder room sink: Alape
Boiler: Viessmann Vitoden
Pool Equipment: Jandy


Energy management or building automation system: Vantage

Photovoltaic system: SunPower

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability: Solar Thermal Panels for Pool Heating: Vitosol Collectors with Vitocell Tank
Air Distribution: Airfloor System

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: Motorized Shades: Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
Fireplaces: EcoSmart (living room), FMI Fireplaces (den), Napoleon (master bedroom), Restoration Hardware (exterior)
Appliances: Miele, Sub Zero, Uline