SULLIVAN CANYON RESIDENCE  |  Los Angeles, CA 


The residential area known as Sullivan Canyon in Los Angeles lies between Brentwood and the Pacific Palisades, and since the late 1930's has been home to a particular sort of Southern California lifestyle - with an equestrian focus. Many of the homes in this area were designed by the inventor of the so-called "Western Ranch House", Cliff May. The project you see here is a new home, incorporating stylistic elements (as well as a fireplace and master bedroom walls) from the property's original Cliff May house, dating from 1940. Remodelings over the years had disrupted aspects of the previous building's original layout and charm, and the house was increasingly inadequate for its new owners, who had purchased the property in 2007. Although the growing family needed additional space and was interested in a range of "green" improvements, they appreciated the simple and unassuming feeling of the original building. PDA was asked to keep the basic low-slung stucco massing and pitched roof of the original house, and its central courtyard, which had always been a focal point of the residence. The resulting new home reinforces the role of the courtyard, makes the entry more prominent, and increases the sense of airiness and "flow" among the major public spaces. The new kitchen, baths and a variety of special installations have a warm, tactile modern feeling, while complementing the white plastered construction that is strongly suggestive of the house's origins.


A new wine cellar, equestrian facilities, and new landscaping throughout the site (where chickens stroll under fruit trees) complete the project. Basic style and actual elements of the original house have remained, but its California ranch spirit steps into a sunny future.


This project features sustainable elements such as photovoltaic power generation, solar hot water (supplemented with tankless systems indoors) for both the home and swimming pool, and a range of responsibly-produced natural and recycled materials.  

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