Venice, CA. 2011 Garden and Home Tour Part I

LA Times 

Fun walkways, unique homes, specialty food and fashion trucks out for the Annual Tour...we dined at the popular Father's Office in the old Helm's Bakery, Culver City (upper right).

The 2011 Venice, CA., Garden and Home Tour
<i>By Chris Iovenko</i><br>
Architect and developer <a href="">Stephen Vitalich</a> has completed four single-family homes that rise side by side in Venice. Modern in style and built with rich appointments that aim to justify the $1,495,000 price, each house (about 2,600 square feet) represents a new way of trying to make the most of real estate in expensive beachside communities. The buildings sit on their own plot of land, with separate foundations. They're also LEED certified, meeting U.S. Green Building Council criteria for sustainable materials and building practices. Environmentally conscious materials include plantation-grown Western red cedar used as exterior siding.
From Venice, Italy to Venice, CA. where there's an eclectic variety of contemporary, craftsman, cottages and unique homes.  My sister lives nearby in Marina del Rey so we often walk and gawk at many homes along the canals and walkways.  This year, we took the Home and Garden Tour--their annual charity fund raiser.  You may be inspired with some ideas for decorating, remodeling or gardening.  There are a total of 5 posts so please enjoy...

The visual centerpiece of the living room is a gas or wood-burning fireplace with a stainless steel flu. It’s clad in Caesarstone quartz, echoing the material used for counters in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Each house has its own front patio.  The corner glass doors push up into a stack and erase the boundary between the living room and the outdoors.

When glass doors slide away into a pocket wall, the divide between the front courtyard and the kitchen disappears. The formal front door lies just out of view, by the top of the steps to the right.
John Melfi, a New York producer of "Sex in the City," "Rome" and the upcoming Showtime series "Nurse Jackie," called on Culver City architect Steven Shortridge of <a href="">Callas Shortridge Architects</a> to design a new home for him in L.A. Shortridge proposed an unconventional design for a 30-by-80-foot lot in Venice: Rather than small rooms stacked three stories high, the architect wanted seven levels of living space that rose like a zigzag through the house, pictured here from a side alley. 
Visitors enter a courtyard, left. The kitchen sits behind the blue wall. A few steps lead up to the dining area, and then more steps rise to the living room, behind the brown wall at far right. From there, stairs lead to the master bedroom, the white volume at left, and then back toward the rear of the house and Melfi's office and guest suite, the white volume at right. A rooftop deck sits above the master bedroom; the garage is out of sight, below the living room.

Same room, different angle: From the back wall of the house, the sense of airiness runs all the way to the front courtyard. At right, another half-flight of stairs leads to the master bedroom at the front of the house.
John Melfi's Producer of Sex and the City Venice home

By Debra Prinzing<br>
<a href="">Lisa Little</a> was working toward her master's at the Southern California Institute of Architecture when she and husband Phil Brennan bought a tiny lot in Venice that barely fit two tiny houses: an 850-square-foot bungalow built in 1905 and a 450-square-foot rental built in 1912. The goal: Keep the scale and period feel of the facade, but make the interiors larger, more modern and more functional.   The bungalow's chartreuse exterior is made of environmentally friendly fiber-cement boards, replacements to the century-old redwood siding. At a certain point in the courtyard, those chartreuse boards meet the new studio's corrugated metal, installed horizontally so the buildings? lines are in sync. It's a nice moment of rhythm -- two bits of the present, playing notes of the past.<br>
<b>Home tours:</b> <a href="">More photo galleries</a><br>
<b>California scene:</b> <a href="">New design, sustainable gardening, community dispatches  and more</a>

Gibbens has long loved urban living, with home just steps away from favorite restaurants and shops. So in 2005 he bought a vacant lot on Abbot Kinney, where run-down storefronts had been transformed into a vibrant, trendsetting community. His vision: a three-story project with retail at street level and his personal living space on the upper floors. "Abbot Kinney is one of the few pedestrian streets in Los Angeles, and the great thing is it's remained unique with so many independently owned businesses," Gibbens says. "I wanted to contribute to the renaissance of this part of town and knew right away it would be with a mixed-use building. I liked the idea of having a modern-day L.A. version of a Parisian townhouse, where the owner lives above the shop."<br>
He invited the proprietors of one of his favorite stores up the street to move into the 650-square-foot commercial space on the ground floor. Keiko and Taku Shinomoto, who sell modern home accessories from Japan at Tortoise General Store, signed on and last year opened a second location, Tortoise, devoted to limited-edition and vintage Japanese art and objects. To the right of the storefront is the gate leading to Gibbens' home on the second and third floors. Note how Gibbens set his 3,500-square-foot living space back from the bustling street, behind a wall of concrete that wraps the sides of the building.  The mast bath, with its enormous skylight.

By <u><a href="">Debra Prinzing</a></u><br>
The exterior is classic California bungalow: beveled siding,  wood-trimmed windows, cheery gabled roof. But inside the Venice house, owners David and Jennifer Ritch have updated the 1906 cottage with clean lines, an open floor plan and modern furnishings. How does one meld early California architecture with the modern attitude and design preferences of a contemporary couple?<br>
Step inside the entry gate and find out. &#8230; Ritch, pictured here, is a partner in 5D Studio, a design company specializing in contract furniture. He considers himself "a modernist, not a bungalow guy." He describes his wife, Jennifer Ritch, who worked in the film industry and is now studying nursing, as "a minimalist who doesn't want clutter."<br>
Ritch tackled the renovations himself, calling on his training in architecture and urban planning; however, he hired a contractor to handle the foundation and framing. "To cut costs, I did most of the finish work and managed all the subcontractors myself," Ritch says. That kept the renovation budget to $220 per square foot.<br>
Here where the old porch used to be, Ritch bumped out the living and dining room, enlarging the interiors by 150 square feet.  Twin sets of French doors connect with the garden, now a series of terraced decks enclosed by a privacy fence made of horizontal slats and beveled siding, emulating the cottage exterior.
Because of its varied levels, the tiny entry courtyard accommodates multiple features, including a fire bowl, seating area and fountain &#8211; a far cry from the state of affairs when the couple bought the property in 2005 as a 950-square-foot bungalow that the city of Los Angeles had cited as a public eyesore.<br>
"The house was worthless," David Ritch says. "I bought it based only on the land value."<br>
The seller gave Ritch a set of plans for a three-story, 3,000-square-foot contemporary cube, similar to other homes in the neighborhood. "But it was a lot more house than I needed," Ritch says, considering the scale of the 30-by-85 foot lot. Instead, the new owners decided to create a fresh (albeit smaller) home that fit their budget and aesthetic.

An Early Craftsman

The blue lounge chairs are on the roof top veranda along with the garden.

 Some of the many yard fountains featured at the homes....

See also:
2011 Vencie Homes and Gardens Tours II here
2011 Venice Homes and Gardens Tours III here
2011 Venice Home-Gardens Art Studios I here
2011 Venice Home-Gardens Art Studios II here


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