A Modern Home with Midcentury Sensibility

Venice beach house

Text from Montalba Architects 

The airy Venice Beach home was designed with the intent of blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces to achieve a warm, tranquil home. The design began with its exterior, to ensure the family could enjoy the perks of Southern California’s year-round mild climate. The general sense of warmth throughout the home is driven by the use of natural materials like wood. 

Venice beach house
Venice beach house
Venice beach house

By contrast, the concrete block walls give the home an almost midcentury sensibility while clearly creating a dialogue with the wood and other earth tones. Woven into the home’s design are three ‘gardens,’ all varying in scale and function.

The larger garden creates drama, while two smaller gardens allow for intimacy and moments of pause. A series of parallel datum walls constructed of concrete blocks anchor the gardens and organize the interior spaces around the exterior space. 

Venice beach house
Venice beach house

“With this home, the clients were open to us guiding them toward the larger ideas and given Southern California’s temperate climate it was important to make spaces where they could enjoy the outdoors from anywhere within the home,” said Founding Principal David Montalba. “It’s been particularly rewarding to see the home become part of the family’s framework, and to see them enjoying its modern warmth and landscape.”  

Venice beach house
Venice beach house

The main gathering spaces (living room, family room, kitchen, and pool house) feature sliding glass doors adjacent to cement block walls. When fully opened, interior and exterior spaces are completely contiguous, which supports a tranquil energy and warmth throughout the home. 

Venice beach house

The materiality of the concrete block walls evokes a sense of heaviness and provides a visual, monolithic mass between floors while anchoring the horizontal planes of the home in the landscape. Wood siding wraps the perimeter and sits atop the cement walls, lifting and lightening the massing to create a welcoming balance between earthy and modern.  

Venice beach house
Photos by Kevin Scott