The story of the Flip Flop House began with a chance encounter in a camera shop. A young architect, who hadn’t yet built anything from the ground up on his own, casually met one of the store’s owners—and, within minutes, she asked if he’d be interested in designing a beachfront house for her and her husband in Venice, California. It was a dream commission: a prime corner lot, a 5,700-square-foot house, a $4 million budget, and a client willing to give this architect, Dan Brunn, creative freedom. Soon her friends were asking, “How can you hire an unknown architect for such a big job—what else has he done?” But she stayed the course.
The result is a sleek, white three-story house: a minimalist backdrop for the owner's exceptional photo collection. It's called Flip Flop for the beach sandal, as well as for its pivoting facade panels, which allow for views and breezes while providing extra wall space for less valuable artworks. Inspired by the Bauhaus buildings of Tel Aviv, where Brunn grew up, he created a house that's clean-lined, inside and out.
The exterior, edged by reflecting pools, is clad in smooth plaster, with expanses of glass, shaded by deep overhangs. Inside are terrazzo floors, glass-faced cabinets, and a stair that seems to float between panes of clear glass.
Brunn designed the stair with “camera-like tech precision,” he says, referring to its articulated stainless-steel components. Seamlessly clad in the same metal, the building's structural-steel columns also have a sculptural presence.
Completed in 2012, the house has already led to other major work for the same client—and inspired the next-door neighbors to hire Brunn for an ambitious house of their own.
Gross square footage: 5,700 sq ft
Total construction cost: $7,000,000
Completion Date: April 2012
Dan Brunn Architecture,
6363 Wilshire Boulevard,
Suite 503 Los Angeles,
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