Building a guest house addition on a restrictive site and budget is always difficult not only due to the usual zoning limitations but also because of the need to give homage to the main residence. So is the case in this project. The existing house is a 1920’s style Spanish bungalow with conventional covered porches and thick stucco arched columns. My intent in adapting to this style was not to supplant the existing but rather to enhance and even punctuate many of the features I enjoy in this styling. My contemporary adaption gives a nod to cubist methods of reconfiguration, juxtaposition and simultaneity based on perspective and apply them to the ubiquitous arch, column and stucco wall. Elements such as columns are recomposed and fragmented, arched windows are abbreviated and wall surfaces are subtly shifted to this effect. Programmatically the small guest house has two primary functions; that it function as an artist studio for the wife ‘Denise’ at the upper level and that the lower level have the dual purpose of being a garage and book storage for the husband ‘Paul’. The intent of the second floor was always to allow Denise various lighting opportunities in which to paint in, including an outdoor deck on which to prop up her aisle. The deck itself is made of Ipe wood and includes integrated planters all of which contain various spices and dwarf fruit trees. The large skylight in her studio offers her not only effective light to paint by but also a vantage of the scenery that might influence her. The interior of her studio space is sparse and intended to leave as much wall space as possible available to display paintings. To this effect the bathroom is left freestanding and unobtrusive, sharing a sink with both the bathroom functions and as brush sink. HVAC return and supply systems are all consolidated into a single, mechanically operated frame that appears to be another in a series of paintings on the wall. At night the interior light settings offer the ability to activate either track lights at the base of each skylight or illuminate the bathroom area independently as an ephemeral, ambient lantern within the studio. Water supply was supplied entirely by ‘PEX’ plumbing, the first residence approved for this use in our city. The sink vanity is custom built out of the same bamboo that covers the floor and encloses an electric on-demand hot water heater. The lower level as mentioned above is the domain of the husband ‘Paul’ and has a decidedly different set of functions. Due to the close proximity to the main house it was determined that the drive approach to the garage should be used as much as possible as a gathering space for both residences. To this end the drive was covered with drought tolerant and water permeable ground cover that eliminated the need for large areas of concrete. Bi-folding garage doors were handmade out of Ipe wood and function as a backdrop to the seating area within the covered patio. Lighting on the interior of the garage space was achieved with integrated fluorescent fixtures oscillating in a patterned rhythm across the ceiling.
Lighting was always intended to be a major factor in the way this building was understood. The primarily façade is south facing and as such facilitated the use of strong shadow lines to exhibit the transformative effect of sunlight during the course of a day, encouraging a more tactile relationship with the building. To this effect small, carefully cut limestone pieces were embedded in the surface and bold elevation lines echoed as projections along the wall. At night, integrated up-light sconces illuminate these same projections from the bottom punctuating their rhythm across the wall and revealing structural columns as eroded with light, appearing to split into carved slots and projections.