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Sleek, eco-conscious reinvention

Energy efficiency, natural light and recycled and experimental materials take center stage

February 07, 2010|By Darrell Satzman
  • The Westside home, formerly a single-level tract house, was transformed into a two-story with a focus on energy efficiency, natural light and recycled and experimental materials.
The Westside home, formerly a single-level tract house, was transformed… (Ralf Seeburger )

A rebuilt Westside home inspired by Rudolph Schindler and infused with an Icelandic sensibility has come on the market for the first time.

Conceived by Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Dogg Ingjaldsdottir, the husband-and-wife architectural and interior design team behind the Santa Monica firm Minarc, the modern house is distinguished not only by its focus on energy efficiency, natural light and its use of experimental and recycled materials, but also by what it lacks.

Thorsteinsson and Ingjaldsdottir, who have lived in the home since 2000, shunned chemicals, paint, carpet, tiles and air conditioning during their extensive remodel of what had been a traditional one-story tract home.

Completed in 2007, the house combines sleek geometric lines as well as walls and doors of glass to produce free-flowing communal living spaces downstairs and a private master bedroom sanctuary above.

The couple were guided by Schindler's Kings Road house in West Hollywood, which the master Modernist designed in the early 1920s as his private residence. "The idea is to create beautiful, livable spaces in the simplest way," Thorsteinsson said.

A two-story rectangular wing has a large Plexiglas window on the lower floor that extends up to serve as an exterior railing for a second-floor room.

On the opposite wall, a wide Douglas fir lattice rises from ground to roof, providing privacy for a front-facing downstairs bedroom.

At the center of the structure, a double front door features opaque glass and panels markedly different in size. The larger of the two panels swivels open for cross-ventilation.

In addition to the living room, dining area and kitchen, the downstairs has a combination den and media room and a pair of bedrooms with concrete and maple floors.

The oversize orange kitchen island has chairs engineered to fit seamlessly under the counter. The chair backs and kitchen cabinets are clad with recycled tires.

The orange and black materials contrast warmly with a sky-blue, rail-less staircase. The color scheme is a nod to the couple's Icelandic origins.

"The kitchen is an Icelandic volcano," Ingjaldsdottir said. "The black is lava, the orange is the exploding fire. The blue staircase is water, the other thing we have a lot of in Iceland."

If the home's lower level is geared for the hustle and bustle of everyday living, the upstairs is designed for getting away from it all.

A landing with a skylight features built-in maple bookshelves that double as a railing. Opposite the staircase, glass double doors open to a 16-foot-by-16-foot covered roof terrace for taking in city views or outdoor sleeping.

An office or fourth bedroom extends toward the front of the house, and the master bedroom and bathroom are located in the rear.

The master bedroom has custom maple cabinetry and a large headboard with built-in drawers for clothes storage on the back. The master bathroom features a rectangular stone composite tub and a customized sink made of recycled vulcanized rubber.

To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send high-resolution color photos with caption and credit information on a CD and a detailed description of the house to Lauren Beale, Business, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., CA 90012. Questions may be sent to homeoftheweek

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