Part 2 – Sands Residence, Los Angeles

Part 2 – Sands Residence, Los Angeles (PDF)

  • John Brown


    This is the completed concept design for the Sands residence.

  • Steve


    I tried multiple layouts but kept coming back to the pattern set by Brad and now affirmed by John. Thus another variation on the theme, this one playing on the LA Case Study connection with an atrium/entry separating Mom’s suite from the main house and wide eaves protecting the window walls that open to the front and back gardens.

    Another fun and interesting exercise!

  • BradW

    John – I really like the courtyard idea and the entrance detail (larger closet and glass screen). The open study is required in this layout but the tradeoff is privacy. By chance, I was looking at the Colborne residence and noticed you used a similar screen in the entry. By the way, the kitchen and bathroom materials and detailing in the Colborne residence are very well chosen and make a tremendous difference to a project.

    Steve – I like moving the entry…the indoor atrium might be extreme but I see your inspiration – the main thing the side entry does is free up space for the laundry along the utility wall…

  • Cat

    Having a private courtyard for gran is nice, but don’t we need a more defined path from the street to the front door?

  • Louis Pereira


    John – i really like the explorative entry to the front door. The private courtyard also adds structure into the landscape. This design exercise could have easily been a landscape design project as well. The school of thought during this period certainly boded well for outdoor living, especially in California. It’s no surprise then that many wanted to integrate the concept of landscape with the redesign of the floor plan.

    I explored a couple of concepts. One that adheres to John’s recommended Demolition plan and the other looked at how we could maintain the bedrooms in their current location, by reconfiguring the main living spaces only. In each case however, I saw there was room to improve the ensuite bathroom layout and to have the Laundry moved to this corridor. I also felt we should at least add clerestory windows in each of those rooms along the north wall.

    I especially liked the opportunity to create an interesting entry sequence to the front door by having water on either side of the entry walk. It’s a design detail that can make one more aware of their surroundings rather than making a b-line to the front door – in the same gesture of John’s design of approaching the main entry. It reminds me of crossing over the moat in Koenig’s Case Study House #22 and also Case Study House #23 by Brady and Smith Killingsworth. Ultimately, I thought the best precedent was to show the image of the Main Entry to the Ehrlich Residence by Architects: John Friedman and Alice Kimm.

  • Steve

    Great precedents. I had Pierre Koenig’s Case Study #21 in mind when designing the atrium and carport in my plan.

    BTW, did you notice the change in wall thickness in the original plan at the front closet and the laundry? That, and the placement of the big window just right of the fireplace, made me wonder if this place had been renovated before. Was the service ell formerly a carport, now enclosed? The exterior walls are also quite thick? Concrete block?

  • JimG

    My apoligies for this being in the wrong place, but I couldn’t find anywhere to ask a question. Has the slowhome group ever done a practical working entry for a Canadian home?

    As I have once again stepped in puddle of slush in my sock feet after removing my snowboots…

    Again apoligies for this probaly not being in the right place.

  • Doug Roberts

    Jim — Check out the Room-By-Room section on the home page, where you will find a discussion on front entries and a 2-part discussion on rear entries.

    John — I like your front courtyard and your kitchen wall extension to give the daughter’s bathroom more privacy. I am not crazy about the super-sized master closet, putting the laundry in a closet outside the grandmother’s door, or the way the wall separating the study area from the bathroom/laundry ends opposite the middle of a window on the other side of the hallway.

    Steve — Interesting idea to reorient the front entry. I am not sure about those sliding walls on either side of the atrium. Are they made of glass? I can see opening the sliding wall between the atrium and the study area, but I am not sure that I would ever see a reason to open the sliding wall between the atrium and the grandmother’s bedroom.

    Louis — Water on either side of the front walkway would be fun, although I would recommend a larger landing outside the front door to reduce the risk of guests getting wet. I also like that you put the master closet along the wall between the two bedrooms, as I feel for privacy reasons, bedrooms should always be separated by more than just a single wall.

  • Terri

    I think the larger entry closet is a good idea but I don’t know about having the laundry so far from the two bedrooms where more of the cleaning will be generated (in my experience kids are laundry-generators and grandmothers are not!).

    I like your improved laundry setup and the side entry is interesting. The atrium, although unique, seems to take away some valuable space that the study might use, unless you feel that studying next to plants might be restful…and you might be right!

    I prefer your first plan but wonder if the laundry and main bath might be better switching positions so that the bathroom is closer to Faith’s bedroom. Your second plan seems to make the study too separate from the living room space.
    (The use of a water entry in LA could be a nice cooling feature–it’d be great if the sliding doors were left open to allow that cooling effect into the house–I’m thinking that’s why you wanted to include the living space along that wing of the home.)
    BTW, I looked up your link to Andres Duany from yesterday’s post and found his lecture very compelling. THANKS!

  • Louis Pereira

    Terri – Good point about Faith’s bathroom location. I had a similar thought while working on the plan but didn’t take heed.

    re: Architect Andres Duany, i noticed he was part of the 2009 Leadership Awards conference that took place in Seattle when John was there back in September. I wonder if John had an opportunity to speak with him directly or even interview him for Slow Home?…


    Steve – Good suggestion about providing a more generous landing at the Main Entrance. I think it would be just as dramatic a feature to have the water on one side only so i’ve widened the walk at that junction.

  • Louis Pereira

    Oops! Last comment was intended for Doug.

  • Paul C

    One of the first impressions I had of this home was “…this one has some good bones…” (i.e. the footprint, the existing arrangement of spaces, the potential of the site, solar orientation, etc)

    I wonder if in addition to the exercise related to the many excellent solutions proposed by everyone, if this could have also been an exercise in what to look for in an existing home? Specifically for those individuals who seek to renovate/update an older home in an established neighborhood.

  • Jim Argeropoulos

    I very much enjoyed the Andres Duany lecture. Thanks for the link Louis!

  • MichaelG

    Hi All, First time on Slow Home for a few weeks. No-internet vacations are great, but I have missed my Slow Home fix.

    This one really does have good bones as Paul C points out, it should nicely fit the owners requirements. I second your comment Paul, what to look for in an existing home would be a great topic for discussion.

    By the way, I love your ‘granny flat’ plan from yesterday. In the scheme of a large, architecturally designed remodel, the cost of a pre-built unit may not be that prohibitive.

  • Louis Pereira

    Your welcome Jim. i think the lecture carries a hugely important message – one that i believe completely aligns with John’s SLOW principles from a city planning level.

  • Paul C

    Thank you Michael G for the comments and an excellent point with respect to a factory built solution.