Laguna Beach, California
Site size: 19,042 square feet
Project size: 7,500 square feet
Program: When the clients, Thom and Sarah McElroy, purchased a half-acre wedge-shaped lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean in coastal California, they asked Ehrlich Architects to design a contemporary house for indoor-outdoor living. The clients, who swim or surf daily, wanted panoramic views of the water, sustainable materials requiring little maintenance in the salty air, and a design that adhered to a strict 11-foot height limit set to preserve views throughout the gated community.
Solution: The house, a series of rectangular volumes united by a flat roof, is organized around a small courtyard facing northeast and oriented toward a larger terrace and swimming pool to the southwest. Limestone, marble, and wood walls enclose the interior spaces, where large expanses of glass afford generous views of and access to the outdoors.
To maximize the views, the architects elevated the main living spaces above grade and placed the garage, gym, and mechanical spaces below. An entrance from the street is defined by a 50-foot-long Afromosia wood wall. The owners also can enter the house from the garage at the rear via a stainless steel and oak stair.
Construction: The wood structure, with steel moment frames, is covered by a modified bitumen roof membrane.
Sustainability: The house is designed to reduce artificial heating and cooling: a south-facing overhang shades the building from the sun, large glazed openings allow natural ventilation, and stone floors absorb heat. Both the roof and outdoor decks direct stormwater to permeable plant beds.
10865 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Architect of record:
Interior designer: Ehrlich Architects
Interior designer (furnishing): Sarah McElroy
Other cladding unique to this project:
Upswinging doors, other:
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