House Call: A Silver Lake Craftsman Redo

Los Angeles

Name: Morgenthau Residence/Jeremy Levine Design
Style: 2 story Craftsman bungalow

We were in the process of gathering information and photos for an upcoming house tour sent to us by the local team over at Jeremy Levine Design when we noticed one of their past projects is a home we walk/drive past on a regular basis...a Craftsman home that went from a state of dilapidation to a modern-meets-vintage renovated space. Dark corners of the home's interior were opened up to let more light in while retaining the characteristic architectural aspects of Craftsman design which regulate temperature through the use of light filtering and shade. The Silver Lake home is also a shining example of infusing eco-friendly solutions to a major renovation, with the inclusion of a rooftop garden, casement windows, drought tolerant landscaping, extended eaves to shade incoming sunlight, the use of reclaimed lumber and low VOC paints used throughout. We love knowing the house was saved to be loved for decades to come and the results can be enjoyed during our neighborhood walks (maybe we can finagle an invite inside soon)...

Jeremy Levine of Jeremy Levine Design details the Morgenthau Residence: The main aesthetic challenge was to find what aspects of the Craftsman Style to perverse while, eliminating the warren of small, dark spaces. The roof floats off the walls and the hinged opening glazed to create clerestory windows. Deep drawers slide out of the walls. The storage space is harvested from the adjacent first floor roof attic. The clerestory windows also allow light to bounce into the house from the large overhanging eaves, lowering solar gain and keeping the need for artificial lighting to a minimum.

In response, long vistas were carved through the house with new elements arranged along the axis to create a deep, layered depth of field. The walls of the interior were punctured with openings and the ceiling vaulted to erase the former claustrophobia. Light enters the house in oblique ways, such as through clerestories shaded by deep eaves or interior transom windows.

The rear wall of the kitchen is filled with sliding glass doors that lead to a deck and a secondary eating area. The glass doors are shaded by a red wood trellis that modulates the intense Southern light while connecting the house to the garden.

A rotating steel fireplace is framed in a thick stone wall of quartzite that also anchors one end of the trellis. The stone wall is perforated with deep openings to connect the kitchen to the dining room while maintaining a sense of separation. Typical of some craftsman homes is the problem of warren-like, honeycomb interior spaces, filled with walls and small corridors. This remodel carves light filled space through the once claustrophobic interior. A rotating fireplace marks the central axis of the house.

Instead of enclosing the master bathroom, it became part of the main room, defined by the Quartzite stone tile on the walls. The large stone clad tub sits in the room like a throne, poised by a window to view the hills or to allow one to kick back and gaze up at the big roof overhead.

The w/c is concealed behind a sliding white glass door. In order to avoid feeling like a closet, the space is vaulted to the ceiling and flooded with light from clerestory windows at the top of the walls.

(Photos by Jeremy Levine)