Modern Indoors and Out: 24th Street, Santa Monica, by Steven Kent Architects

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The front entrance of the 24th Street house, in Santa Monica, is unobtrusive: approached from a natural-stone driveway, this series-of-rectangles house, by Steven Kent, is not dissimilar from other houses in southern California. That being said, this house is more than just a clever series of stacked rectangles — apparent from the front façade, in which a second level shows itself only subtly through lighted latticework. Proceed into the house in the glow of tall, vertical, exterior lighting, and one soon finds oneself drawn toward the back of the house, where vast expanses of glass open the indoors to the outdoors and blend the two irresistibly. From the indoor living room with its cozy fireplace, it’s only steps to al fresco dining, and seating on the deck of the pool that extends the width of the home.

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White walls and deep-toned wood paneling serve as apt backdrops for dramatic art — a circular mural above a couch, a contemporary portrait in the stairwell. By contrast, the “art” in the bathroom is all-natural: native stone flooring and walls of windows give a sweet green background from the scenery outside. Recessed lighting, neutral white walls, and pale wood grain on storage cabinets and shelving harmonize with indoor plants in a palette both indigenous and soothing. Color splashes are bright, cheery with jewel-toned deep blue dining chairs, a fuchsia sculpture, and multihued “Marilyns,” ranging from neon green to vivid yellow – in the media room. Finally, of course, there is a gleaming pool with comfortable lounging beside it…the final touch on the 24th Street house that creates an undeniably modern and thoroughly welcoming whole.

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