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April 21, 2024

9 Houses With Undeniable Curb Appeal by AD PRO Directory Experts

California modernism meets Swiss precision in local architect David Montalba’s three-story family home, situated in the Santa Monica Canyon area of Los Angeles. The new build, featuring a vertical courtyard that extends to the basement, was crafted with a horizontal sensibility in mind. This was both to emphasize its low-slung form and forge a connection with the outdoors, where Elysian Landscapes positioned a mature avocado tree near native plantings. Its upper floor is distinguished by stucco, “while the base of the building is massive, textured and grounded by sandblasted concrete walls,” explains Montalba. Sliding louvered screens on the second level lend an air of privacy while also providing natural ventilation and shade. “Natural light in the canyon is special,” Montalba points out, “allowing us to sculpt the way it hits certain areas of the site. Particularly, the light coming in through the slatted wood creates patterns on the walls when hit just right.”

A Mediterranean Revival home in Seattle, Washington

Photo: Aaron Leitz

A turn-of-the-century Mission Revival–style abode in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood retained its grandeur over the years but wasn’t fit for modern living. Studio AM Architecture stepped in to preserve its landmark characteristics while making significant updates. The local practice washed the thick masonry-constructed walls in off-white paint, which were then juxtaposed with dark fenestration and trim to accentuate the original architecture. The structure was eventually complemented by landscaping courtesy of Allworth Design. “Decorative cast concrete corbels and filagree, previously covered with unsophisticated waterproofing products and detailed parapet walls covered in clunky metal flashings, were restored to bring back the home’s ‘new’ old façade,” explains Aaron Mollick, Studio AM cofounder and principal architect for the project. Given the site’s positioning, three faces of the structure are prominently visible; Studio AM made them shine through various interventions, such as transforming enclosed storage spaces on the upper floor into sleeping porches “that act as elegant towers facing the side street,” adds Mollick.


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