How one design team added bold features to natural elements to create these empty nesters’ dream home
PROJECT: Kilkea LOCATION: Los Angeles COMPLETION: 2018 SIZE: 3,900 square feet BUILDER & GENERAL CONTRACTOR: LA Build Corp INTERIOR DESIGN: Jae Omar Design ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS: Eran Gispan, N.E. Designs
When a couple looking to downsize reached out to Ami Harari, president of LA Build Corp, they knew what they wanted: lots of warm, inviting space to entertain. Harari looked to nature. “We used a lot of wood—a lot more than we usually use in a modern home,” he says. “Wood always adds this really warm feeling.” You can see it all over the house—from the deck, floors, and walls to the facade.
The clients wanted more than just visual warmth, though, considering their location in the often 75 and sunny Los Angeles. They wanted to be able to enjoy the sun from outside their home as well as in. “We tried to get the outside yard to be within the same level as the house, so when you open the door, it’s all part of the same space,” Harari says. The open layout allows the couple and their guests to be inside or out without feeling far from each other.
Of course, open layouts can create a privacy issue, but LA Build Corp had the perfect solution. “You live in the middle of the city in Los Angeles, you want privacy,” Harari says. “If you don’t feel comfortable walking naked around your house, you have a privacy issue.” To solve the problem, many windows throughout the house were placed low, allowing light in without inviting the looks of passersby.
The biggest challenge, though, was not unique to this house, as Harari says every project struggles at times to manage client expectations. “The construction is easy,” he says. “The challenge is to understand the fears. Some will fear the job will be more expensive than they budgeted, and some will fear it won’t look how they wanted. Everyone has different fears, so it’s to identify those fears at the beginning and line up the expectations.”
These clients’ fears were never realized. Just a few weeks after the home was complete, Harari received a call from the new homeowners expressing their excitement. “They’ve had two parties in their house already, and we’re always invited,” he says. “We take a lot of pride in it.”
Of all the home’s flashy features, Harari’s favorite is the kitchen—particularly the beautiful Leicht cabinets. Leicht specializes in space management, he says, and when you open them, the engineering behind the work is evident. In addition to their functionality, Harari loves the way they look. “All the cabinets look like they’re made of concrete,” he says. “But they’re not. It’s just the finish. It’s very unique and very expensive.”
The deck was intentionally designed to leave plenty of space for entertaining. By placing the pool alongside the house, Harari says the backyard space more than doubled. The backyard also has a outdoor shower, BBQ area, bar, firepit, and outdoor projector.
“The Kilkea bath experience starts with using two fingers to glide a 400-pound live edge slab door to the left. It just gets better from there,” says Jae Omar, principal designer for Jae Omar Design, the home’s interior designer. The master bath stimulates all your senses, she says, and combines bold, natural elements in a way that results in a surprising serenity. “Like ethereal raindrops, the blown glass light spheres cascade down walls of textured marble. The effect somehow is both stimulating and calming.”