The Otten residence stands as a tall, gray sentinel distinct from other… (Culver Van Buren )
At first glance, the Otten residence looks a bit out of place, a tall, gray sentinel that's distinct from anything else on a quiet street in San Pedro. But no one architectural style holds sway in the White Point neighborhood near the ocean, so the modern hillside home has come to both stand out and fit in.
The height and placement of the house make it perfectly poised to take advantage of ocean views, but without massive glass walls facing an endless sea. Instead, windows and cutout patios look like pieces of a puzzle — some small, some large, some recessed — that form a box, except for a round deck hanging off one side.
"The intent, on the one hand, was to take advantage of the views, but we just didn't want to throw up glass willy-nilly everywhere," says Scott Carde, the Santa Monica-based architect who designed the home. "So we created a series of views instead of one big view."
The residence, designed and named in 1986 for Jeff Otten, at the time chief financial officer of Harbor- UCLA Medical Center, was meant to be "modern, but warmer," Carde says.
From the street it's hard to guess how all the pieces create a coherent living space. But inside, geometry and light play out. Differentiated ceilings — 14 feet high in the living room to 20 feet in the hallway — with skylights lend an airy feel. Built-in drawers, cabinets and bookcases throughout keep the look spare.
The house, with its gleaming hardwood floors and long white walls, looks pretty much as it did when it was built. The exception is that the cedar exterior, which was meant to age naturally to a weathered gray, has been painted over.
The rooms on the first floor are terraced into the hill and connected by a long hallway. The living room at the end of the hall has a fireplace with a deep green marble front surrounded by small windows that look like bits of confetti. The windows, which reveal a high bluff where the Friendship Bell overlooks the ocean, create a disjointed vista reminiscent of a David Hockney collage.
Off the living room and up a few steps is the dining room and kitchen, separated by a wide, curved wall that houses built-ins. Upstairs are three bedrooms and a bathroom.
And what about the rounded patio that the home's owner for the last eight years, architect Bill Gregory, lovingly calls "the cup"? It's meant to be quirky, the thing that stands out, the thing that can dazzle. "It's like going out on the prow of a ship, nothing between you and eternity," Carde says.
To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send high-resolution color photos on a CD, caption information, the name of the photographer and a description of the house to Lauren Beale, Business, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Questions may be sent to email@example.com.