The Nowita home started out as a 600-square-foot 1920s bungalow on a pedestrian street; it has evolved to its present form thanks to some innovative design from Rios Clementi Hale Studios. It was added to in 1996, when the owners created bedrooms upstairs, adapting their view and shade needs to the 80-year-old Magnolia Grandiflora on the adjacent property. In 2002, the owners’ grandmother acquired the property next door — complete with magnolia tree — and now, both houses use it as a focal point. The second-floor addition comprises 34 cantilevered wood columns that support and stabilize the roof. Yes, there’s some repetition in the pattern, but that’s not ornamental: each piece and position is dictated by seismic codes in the area. The fence around the property repeats many elements of the pattern – a whimsical way to unify the design.
Inside, colors are bright — oranges, yellows, reds — and décor overall is modern, save for a few quirky details such a traditional rocking chair in front of a corner fireplace. Rows of high windows let in ample sunlight for indirect light without glare; in the second-story master bedroom, the function of “windows” is performed by spaces between those wood columns, with light filtering in at serendipitous angles. As RCH puts it, “This time, the owners wanted to be sincere about ‘just what holds things up.’” The neighborhood is close-knit and friendly, so relationships matter as much as building codes, as the designers conclude: “Architecture once sought transparency of means, another generation asked for relationships; both are noble causes. We’re proud of being good neighbors in the shifting Venice context; good neighbors…but honest ones.”