At home on the hillside

An extensive use of glass accommodates a warm climate, while minimalist colors and materials further open this master suite to its leafy surroundings
A view of this master bedroom featuring brazilian architecture, bed, bed frame, bedroom, ceiling, estate, floor, flooring, hardwood, house, interior design, laminate flooring, property, real estate, room, wood, wood flooring, gray, brown
A view of this master bedroom featuring brazilian Walnut flooring, plasma tv and speaker system, bed, floor to ceiling glazing

A building's surroundings should have a significant impact on its design. This is not only for reasons of warmth and comfort such as in the use of double glazing in alpine areas but also to ensure the house blends aesthetically with its environment.

Architect Gerhard Heusch designed and built this, his own home, on a hillside near Los Angeles. He says that elements of the design were created with the warm weather conditions in mind especially when it came to his own master suite.

"The California climate lends itself to the use of a lot of glass in building design. Through floor-to-ceiling glazing, I aimed to melt the borders between inside and outside bringing the landscape in as much as possible."

The site had never been built on before. Surrounded by oak trees, it overlooks a canyon and in order to take advantage of the view and the leafy outlook, Heusch designed the house on columns. This means that the master suite has an attractive outlook above the trees.

To further exaggerate the extensive use of glass in this design, and the views beyond, Heusch used linen curtains that retract into cavities in the walls. This helps to make the two rooms in the master suite seem like one uninterrupted space, an aspect of design that Heusch strives for.


A view of the bathroom featuring oval limestone architecture, bathroom, estate, floor, home, house, interior design, property, real estate, room, window, white
A view of the bathroom featuring oval limestone bathtub, brazilian walnut flooring, Fosted glass cavity doors

"I love open spaces. Throughout the house there is a deliberately restrained palette of colors and materials to enhance this," he says.

The bedroom and bathroom are subtly delineated through pocket doors made of frosted glass. Brazilian walnut flooring carries through the entire suite, and continues outdoors to a deck that is accessible from the bathroom.

"Brazilian walnut is a very hardy timber. The outdoor timber has not weathered even though some time has passed. Indoors it was treated with a wax, while outdoors it was oiled," says Heusch.

The deck extends around the side of the house to a set of stairs, which leads down to a lap pool. This can be seen through the windows of the master suite.

Furniture is custom designed by the architect. The same rosewood veneer that is used for the cabinetry in these rooms is used in the guest suite at the opposite end of the house. For ambient sound, speakers are integrated into the ceiling of the master bedroom.

A view of the bathroom featuring oval limestone architecture, bathroom, estate, floor, home, house, interior design, property, real estate, room, window, white
A view of the bathroom featuring oval limestone bathtub, brazilian walnut flooring, Fosted glass cavity doors

A deep, elliptical tub and flat, tray-like vanity basin in the master bathroom were custom designed by the architect and manufactured from limestone by Marble of Portugal. The tub faucet, which extends from the floor, is chosen from the Boffi range. The control for this faucet is built into a piece of custom-made cabinetry that protrudes from the wall beside the tub, making it simple to alter the temperature while having a soak.

Heusch designed a mirror above the vanity with an integrated medicine cabinet. The mirror is flush with the wall, and continues over the wall edge into the space in front of the windows, as does the cabinetry below it.

"From certain angles, this mirror looks like a painting of trees hanging on the wall," says the architect.

Dec 03, 2007

Credit list

Cabinetry
Custom in rosewood veneer
Tub, vanity and shower
Custom in limestone from
Toilet
Starck by Duravit
Speaker system
Red Rose
Flooring
Limestone, Brazilian walnut
Faucetry and shower fittings
Boffi
Drapes
Custom in Natural Belgian linen
Artwork
Painting by Birgit Menden, photography by Jeff Reese
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