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Location: Los Angeles

Project size: Residence: 3,893 square feet; ADU 610 square feet

Description of Program: On a steep through-lot in Los Angeles's Silver Lake neighborhood, Friedman and Kimm created JArzm House—named for the initials of each family member's first name—for themselves and their three children, a home that is intensely livable and playful and treasures the domesticity of family life. The public living spaces are situated at the top of the three-story main house which also includes bedrooms for each of the children and a primary suite, as well as multiple office spaces overlooking a pool deck and the ADU-topped garage nestled at the bottom of the site.

Description of Design Solution: Embedded mid-slope with the roof sitting a few feet below the upper street level, the house's three floors are connected by a single staircase. Adjacent to the staircase is a triple-height slot that draws natural light deep into the center of the house and offers the feeling of spatial release through vertical expansion. Transparency, used not only to connect inside with outside, but inside with inside, weave Raumplan and free plan into a network of interconnected spaces whose degrees of separation at any given time are controlled by shades, doors, partitions, and the free will of their users. Through this, JArzm House offers choices in how spaces are used and navigated, giving rise to a multiplicity of experience, facilitated by the splitting of the central staircase at one moment, and at another, a glass bridge. Because the house's mass is lowered compared to adjacent homes, the family and visitors can look out both sides into a forest-like landscape of trees and foliage, preserving and expanding both their own and their neighbors' views. Surprising sightlines through interior spaces enable a constant connection to trees, the hills and reservoir below, and sky. This commitment to embracing the nature of the site is reinforced by a bottom-floor family room that opens to the pool deck level with the top of the ADU, an urban roof garden covered with an aluminum sunshade. The deck and garden together create a “middle ground” suspended between the streets at the site’s top and bottom.

Description of Structure and Materials: The overall form of the home composed of hybridized curves neither box nor blob, is just the beginning of formal play in craft. Despite the attention to material and assembly throughout JArzm House, a permanently affixed, bold yellow construction crane catches the eye. Running the length of the kitchen, it picks up the (custom) dining table to deposit it two stories below on the pool deck. A custom-designed prefab aluminum bookshelf runs the height of all three floors and transitions into a large pivot door at the entry.

Additional Information
Site Size: .16 acres
Total Project Cost: Withheld
Completion Date: December 2021
Client: John Friedman and Alice Kimm
Owner: John Friedman and Alice Kimm

exterior of house.


stairwell interior.


kitchen and dining area.


Photos © Benny Chan/Fotoworks

JArzm House drawings.
First floor plan.
Second floor plan.
Third floor plan.
JAZRM Elevation.

Drawings courtesy John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects


John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
1461 E 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
213 253 4740

Architect of Record:
John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
1461 E 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
213 253 4740

Structural: Parker Resnick
Civil: JMC-2

Special Fabrications: Chris Berkson, BerksonFab
Lighting Design: John Martin, ALD
Low-Voltage and AV: Meny Shaul of Creative Sound and Vision; John McCoy
Landscape Architecture: Kathleen Ferguson Landscapes; Matson Walter, LINK

General Contractor:
Bonomo Development

Benny Chan/Fotoworks  


Structural System
Typical Type-V wood frame construction with steel brace frames and concrete retaining walls and slabs

Exterior Cladding
Cladding is exterior cement plaster by La Habra Stucco

Built-up roofing: GAF

Metal frame: Aluminum-frame sliding windows and doors throughout by PRL

Skylights: Skylights by Sun Valley

Entrances: Special pivot doors at main house and ADU are custom-fabricated of steel and glass, design by John Friedman, fabrication by Chris Berkson of BerksonFab
Metal doors: Noted above.
Wood doors: Throughout house, painted wood patio doors, glazed and unglazed
Sliding doors: Aluminum-framed sliding glass doors by PRL

Pulls: FSB
Other special hardware: Special hardware at custom doors designed by John Friedman and fabricated by BerksonFaB  

Interior Finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Marina Woodcraft – basic kitchen and bathroom cabinetry; special custom pieces are by Evan Pohlmeier BerksonFab and are noted as such
Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore and Dunn Edwards
Paneling: Painted MDF paneling at upstairs AHU/media closet dividing foyer from living/dining area
Solid surfacing: Caesarstone
Special surfacing: Island marble – Calacatta, sourced at Walker Zanger
Floor and wall tile: Ceramic penny tile as well as porcelain floor tile at bathrooms by Spec Ceramics
Wood flooring: Wood flooring throughout top two levels – plantation teak
Carpet: Flor

Special interior finishes unique to this project:

Handrails and guardrails: painted steel and glass, designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Chris Berkson of BerksonFab

Powder-coated aluminum triple-height bookshelf and pivot door, designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Chris Berkson of BerksonFab

Powder-coated aluminum rooftop shade structure at ADU designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Cisco Home; upholstery by Cisco Home

Artwork: Catherine Opie (master bedroom), Gregory Crewdson (dining), Kahn and Selesnick (master bedroom), Benny Chan (foyer/entry, dining, family), Manfred Muller (kitchen), Victor Hugo (kitchen), Boym Brothers (credenza), Lee Olvera, Robbie Conal (family), Shephard Fairey (family)

Crane at kitchen and dining: provided and installed by CONTRX Crane Company; steel support and finish details designed by John Friedman and fabricated by BerksonFab; special custom tray of stainless steel designed by John Friedman and fabricated by BerksonFab

Home Office:
Home office chairs: Aeron Chair, Herman Miller
All desks and worktops of multiply plywood laminated by Formica, fabricated by Chris Berkson of BerksonFab

Dining and kitchen:
Aluminum dining chairs: TOLEDO by Jorge Pensi for Knoll
Barstools: Ikea
Aluminum frame dining table with pneumatic springs and mirror top designed by John Friedman with Chris Berkson and fabricated by BerksonFab
Credenza and interior planters by Blu Dot

Custom living room banquette sofa designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Cisco Home. Upholstery by Cisco Home
Custom living room sofa stainless steel rotating backrest designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Cisco Home Upholstery by Cisco Home
Custom powder coated aluminum coffee table designed by John Friedman and fabricated by BerksonFab. Colored glass by Pulp Studio

Kids bedrooms: custom bunk beds of steel and wood designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Chris Berkson of BerksonFab; closets with mirrored doors by Ikea

Master bedroom: Custom master bed of wood designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Evan Pohlmeier; Saarinen Womb Chair, Knoll

Sofa by Blue Dot
Custom media and storage cabinet designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Evan Pohlmeier
Recycled aluminum bookshelves designed by John Friedman and fabricated by Chris Berkson of BerksonFab

Outdoor pool terrace and ADU roof deck:
Lounge Chairs by Ikea
Lounge Chairs – Acapulco by Innit Designs; Hot Mesh by Blu Dot

Downlights: Liton, Cree, RSA, Capri, Hevi (skylights)
Tasklighting: Bellatrix LED striplighting under cabinets and shelves
Exterior: Cole (steps)
Dimming system or other lighting controls: Radio Ra by Lutron

Accessibility provisions: Space is set aside for future elevator

Master bathtub: Blu Bathworks
Master bathtub tub filler: Kohler
All bathroom lavatories: Kohler
Bathroom lavatory faucets: Dornbracht
Toilets: Duravit
All showers: California Faucets with hoses and bars by Jaclo, controls by Dornbracht

Kitchen sinks: Pro Chef
Kitchen faucets: Grohe
Refrigerator and undercounter beverage holder: Subzero
Dishwashers, cooktop, ovens, microwave, coffeemaker, warmer: Miele

Photovoltaic system: Rooftop PV array
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability: recirculating pump for water, low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting throughout, drought-tolerant landscape, in-floor hydronic radiant heating (partial coverage)