Studio City "Swiss Army Knife" Bungalow

Studio City "Swiss Army Knife" Bungalow

Gregory Han
Jun 4, 2009

The New York Times shines some light and love over onto a Studio City bungalow transformation which aimed to keep the spirit of the 1940's structure intact while upgrading some of its features (including adding insulation and a cooling system, a near must in the hellish-hot climes of the San Fernando Valley) while adding a modest sized 675-square-foot addition to their 2 bedroom bungalow, specifically with multi-use flexibility in mind...

The architects looked at the scaled-down renovation as a challenge in design. "There would be plenty of places to absorb errors if it were a 4,000-square-foot house," Mr. Pande said. "But with a project this small you get one shot. Like haiku, it all has to fall into place."

Their condensed solution was to devote the existing house to a kitchen and guest room and to add two bays — one for privacy, one for socializing, or "micro-additions," as the architects called them — opening onto a shady patio and pool at the rear.

Like a boat, where space is a premium, the house is a kit of flexible parts that smooth the way from one activity to the next.

As someone who lives in a smaller space apartment ourselves, the boat-interior concept is one that especially rings true for optimizing space where space is at a premium (we're currently battling some decor bulge and considering a yard sale to slim down). Eating areas as work areas, socializing spaces that can quickly be rearranged for intimacy or space, planning carefully what to keep or bring into the home with a focus most people in larger spaces never consider. The Wise household made the right decision in keeping their renovation modest in size, instead of going overboard and out of synch with the rest of their 1920's-1940's era neighborhood...something which we wished we could say the same in other parts of Los Angeles where renovation seems to bring out the worst of excess. And nobody is going to say the Wise residence is anything by spaciously comfortable from the looks of the interior (we love the fireplace as partition between the kitchen and living room).

See more photos of the Wise's home and further details about their project at A House Like a Pocketknife

(Image: Michael Weschler for The New York Times)

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