An Heirloom Home

An Heirloom Home

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Cambria Bold
Jun 20, 2011

We've definitely talked about heirloom design before, but mostly in reference to specific products, not entire homes! But that's exactly what the owners of this home had in mind when they bought a flat lot in Culver City, California. Together with Cara Lee and Stephan Mundwiler of Lee + Mundwiler Architects, David and Mayuko created a new family heirloom, "a house in which to live out their days, then pass on to the next generations," complete with solar panels, a tankless water heater, a cool roof, xeriscaping, and room for their three kids.

As recently profiled in Dwell:

The Lais designed their house to be theirs forever. As such, they were able to make design moves that made sense for themselves but that wouldn't have high resale value, like the Japanese-style master bathroom in the middle of the second floor instead of off of the master bedroom. The traditional setup features bath stools from Muji for washing off...The roof features a cool roof, which reflects heat back to the sky rather than having it absorbed into the house, and 26 solar panels that often cause the meter to roll backward...In the kitchen, an SMA Sunny Beam solar monitor displays the number of kilowatts generated. Though the monitor doesn't display real-time energy consumption, the family often operates in the negative. "It helps us understand what's going on and seeing it reminds us to be energy-conscious," David says.

But the most notable thing about their home is their intent to have their first home be their last home. As David says: "Some people have this mentality of getting a starter house, then upgrading from there. We just wanted to find a place to live in and then stay there forever."

See the full slideshow and read more about the home's details at Dwell.

(Images: Jessica Haye and Clark Hsiao for Dwell)

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