Natural surroundings

Sitting between mountains and sea, Mayes Office designed this home to slot into its environment
Story by: David Renwick
A six panel skylight sends the sun down architecture, daylighting, floor, glass, handrail, house, interior design, real estate, window, gray
A six panel skylight sends the sun down to the first floor

Architect: Mayes OfficeAbout the project (Text supplied): With the Santa Monica Mountains as a backdrop and the Pacific Ocean at its feet, the Bellino Residence was built to be in dialogue with its natural surroundings. Completed in 2015 by Santa Monica based architecture and design firm, Mayes Office, this abode in the Pacific Palisades comprises of two levels and a roof deck that affords a complete panorama of the California coast.

The materiality of the house features a modern mixture of wood, steel, concrete and stone – materials that merge effortlessly with the idyllic surroundings. It is further matched beautifully with polished wood flooring throughout.

As part of an effort to comply with the building height restrictions set by the city council, the strategy in meeting this challenge was to carve out a grade to create an additional level underground – doubling the floor area without adding to the height. The ‘cantilevered’ second level and roof deck not only offer magnificent views of the landscape, but also do not comprise any of the square footage.


The staircase is the centrepiece of this central floor, handrail, house, interior design, stairs, gray
The staircase is the centrepiece of this central space

Interior and exterior spaces are blurred within the Bellino Residence, where natural light and garden spaces flourish. . The first floor of the home is lifted just above the ground by the exposed concrete walls of the basement level which allow light the spill into spaces. Light wells penetrate the spatial volumes of the home, and act simultaneously as interior and exterior circulation. The rhythm of the spaces in conjunction with natural light coming from the courtyard space strengthens its connection to the landscape bringing a new psychology to the concept of the basement space.

The living room on the upper level features a 12’-tall glass pocket wall, which slides open to the surrounding beautiful canyon vistas; thereby amplifying the connection between the house with its surroundings and completely dissolving the sense of separation with the exterior environment.

Massive sliding glass doors open up the house to beautiful canyon vistas, further dissipating the sense of separation between outside and inside.

A view down to one of the sunken house, outdoor structure, real estate, gray, white
A view down to one of the sunken outdoor living areas

With skillful manipulation of illumination and the solid-void relationship, the overall effect achieved is a harmonious integration between architecture and nature.

Nov 10, 2017
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