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STYLE / HOME RENOVATION : California Hybrids

June 07, 1992|BARBARA THORNBURG

With the cost of new construction starting at about $100 a square foot and soaring to $250 on Los Angeles' West Side, many Southern Californians are keeping their existing homes and adding on only the space they need. Retaining the "footprint" of the house saves money, while not worrying about old matching new guarantees some unique architectural hybrids amid an already eclectic mix. Here are five home expansions, plus the hows and whys of choosing a partial renovation over a total redo.

What George Elian and Nick Seierup of Projects Architecture in Culver City wanted when they transformed this 1953 Mar Vista home was "to blow open the back of the house to make it relate to the rest of the yard." The house was a wood and stucco box with eight-foot-high "cottage cheese" ceilings. It didn't relate well to the site, nor did it have a view. It just protected Jan Christmas and her family against the elements.

Besides extra character, Christmas was looking for a space "away from where the children watch TV." Pushing the back wall out 12 feet created both a visual extension of the house and a second living/dining area. Inside the 12-by-20-foot addition, the ceiling rises to 15 feet and features exposed Douglas fir rafters. One corner was built out from the wall to create a sense of intimacy and to conceal a recessed mesh sunscreen. The changes made by this relatively simple renovation are dramatic: The rear is one not dreamed of from the plain facade presented to the street.

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