Owner: Doug Pierson and Youn Choi Pierson
Architecture, Interior Design: Doug Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, and Youn Choi Pierson
Structural Engineer: Structural Design Plus
Construction Manager: Douglas Pierson, Roman Reiterer
Models: Douglas Pierson
Photography: Youn Choi
Venice House is a compact, three-story house in Venice Beach, CA, huddled among the neighborhood’s densely packed residences and detached garages. The sloping trapezoidal roof – an innovative interpretation of roof requirements -- and the white metal and warm wood exterior walls make the 1390-square-foot beach house stand out amidst the crush of houses around it.
The owners were also the architect and his wife, an accomplished environmental/experiential graphics designer. They welcomed the challenge of creating a comfortable, energy-efficient home for their young family that would make the most of every square foot to meet their needs.
With just 700 square feet on which to build a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half baths house, they had to build up rather than out, stacking their spatial needs vertically. They started with an open two-car garage and a private outdoor living space on ground level, tucked up under their two-story house.
The open kitchen/dining/living area and one bathroom occupy the next floor up. Exposed ceiling trusses and natural wood custom cabinetry warm the crisp white interior. Surrounded by windows on all sides, the space is filled with natural light.
The bedrooms – the master with on-suite bath and two children’s bedrooms with a shared bath – are on the top floor. They can be accessed by open exterior and interior stairs that provide vertical circulation and visual as well as physical connectivity between the floors.
There are only two interior walls and no hallways in the compact house. Spatial separations are implied through changes in structural millwork and glass. Center-pivoting doors allow individual spaces, such as bedrooms, to open into larger, combined family spaces.
The custom-designed, built-in cabinetry does double and triple duty throughout this ultra-efficient house. The credenza by the kitchen and dining area also guards the open staircase from accidental falls. Partition clusters between the kids’ bedrooms not only divides their individual spaces but also houses their “Jack and Jill” bathroom, closets, and other storage options. Custom furniture on casters lets the homeowners transform spaces from one use to another with ease.
By establishing clear hierarchies in building materials, finding an inventive approach to the roof requirement, and configuring open stairs and landings to interconnect floors, we created a parsimoniously modern home for four that’s as much fun to live in as it is affordable, sustainable, and ultra-efficient.