Paul Davis Architects


This project gave PDA the opportunity to expand and fully re-condition a charming and idiosyncratic 1970s modern house in the Venice Canals. Situated on a prime corner, the property has great light and expansive views. The owner considered starting fresh with a fully new home, but it was clear that the existing house had much to offer, and could be brought into a fine new phase of its existence with some strategic improvements and an overall finish update.

Our clients are a family with young children, whose cultural background includes Cuban heritage and a rich tradition of extended-family gatherings. We conceived of the style of the project as "70's Cuban Modern Beach-house", in keeping with the feeling of the existing building and the waterfront location. A rich palette of colored ceramic tile, knotty/rustic hardwood flooring, and polished brass hardware contribute to the clean yet slightly "retro" feeling of the various spaces.

The addition consists of a two-story volume at the Grand Canal "front end" of the house. It incorporates a child's bedroom expansion and new guest room/family room on the ground floor, new dining room, expanded kitchen and "BBQ deck" on the second floor, and a broad and generous new roof deck outside the third floor mezzanine.

The existing double-height living room space is the heart of this home, and the new kitchen and dining room combine with that area to make a bright, airy, and spacious central social zone for the family and their visitors. The kitchen is highly functional and rather large, but its "white wall" cabinetry helps it maintain somewhat of a low profile in the overall space, which allows the canal views and family life to take center stage. The maple butcher-block countertop and warmer tones of the 17' island help transition to comfortable furniture in the living and dining rooms.

Our work here included all new finishes, fixtures, and lighting, with three fully re-done baths, all-new custom cabinetry, new exterior paint, and new custom steel handrails (inspired by simple and somewhat "chunky" 1970's wooden installations) at three deck/terrace areas.

The project has resulted in what amounts to an entirely new house, perfectly suited to its owners, at a fraction of the cost of new construction. And giving "new life" to a place that has contributed to the fabric of the neighborhood for almost 50 years gives us particular satisfaction.