Santa Monica, CA
Set amongst the mostly traditional homes north of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, this house privileges space, light, and form over adherence to neighborhood conventions. It also reflects the aesthetic and cultural preferences of its owners, a first-generation Moroccan husband and Brazilian wife with two young children.
From the street, there is no visible “front door;” one finds instead a large window set 5 feet above grade (a play on the traditional “picture window”), an orange garage door, and a hot pink gate that leads through a landscaped side courtyard to the main entrance. The front gate and entrance courtyard are a typical feature of North African and Brazilian homes, providing an outdoor greeting area, a spatial transition from public to private, and an extra level of security.
At the entrance, a separate formal living room welcomes less familiar guests. The dining and family rooms are situated more deeply inside the house and reserved for close friends and family. Both inside and outside, fluid forms and curves, activated by natural light, reference organic forms commonly found in Brazil. However, whereas the front of the house is defined by more regulated, two-dimensionally curved volumes that are abstract in expression, their pent-up energy explodes in an exuberant composition of three-dimensional curved volumes at the rear, expressing the vibrant multiculturalism at play here.