Custom build of hillside estate compound home in Pacific Palisades with multiple buildings including pool house with private office and gym, as well as guest house, and main house is underway by Krueger Architects.  The site design required immense planning and thoughtful solutions for working within the constraints of an oddly shaped lot–the lot shape resembles a bow-tie.  Additionally, building envelope constraints restricted us to the contours of the hillside.

The main house sits atop the hill at the street.  Whether inside or out, city and ocean views are accessible from all three levels of the home.  Further down the hill at the narrow pinch of the lot is a private guest house.  Then as the lot widens again at the rear is the large pool house with gym, office, spa treatment room, and recreational space for the family.

Hillside Pacific Palisades Estate Compound Development with Main House, Pool House with Private Office, and Guest House

Maximizing Land Development on an Unusually Shaped Lot

When our clients first saw the breathtaking views of the ocean and city their interest was peeked. Others had passed on this awkward, yet much larger than usual lot in the hillside of Pacific Palisades.  A rare find to be so large, the bow-tie shape presented challenges that many were too cautious to tackle.  Additionally, there is an underground drainage easement that bisects the lot diagonally.  Advisors told our clients to pass, but Krueger Architects was confident in our due dilegence and we knew that we could make this lot work with all of their requirements for a family estate compound.  In fact, it turned out to be a diamond in the rough with so much potential.

There had been an existing home on the lot and when we first toured the property, we discovered the rear yard behind a gate.  It was an expansive, magical space filled with lush plants and flowers that had been supplied via a water course that was the result of the street-water drainage easement. It was an oasis in a usually arid location.  The existing home was built in the mid-twentieth century when much of Pacific Palisades was being developed.  The lot is at the end of the street and its design may have been the result of simply amending all the leftover land and accounting for the easement into this one lot as it couldn’t be parsed out to others in any cohesive manner. 

The bow-tie shaped lot is wide at the street, then pinches in, then opens up and is larger at the rear. We positioned the main residence at the street level with the lowest level of the home partially engaged in the earth of the hillside while being a full walkout.  The guest house was positioned in the narrow pinch and is elevated on stilts to work with the contour of the hill.  It’s like being in a treehouse–private and secluded. Further down the hill is the separate pool house.  On the second floor is a private office some of the best long range views of the ocean and city.   The well-appointed, professional space ensures the homeowner doesn’t miss a beat when away from the office or up early or late for calls from around the globe.  Adjacent the poolhouse at the bottom of the lot where the land levels off, is a very special place designed by Stephen Billings Landscape Architecture.  Billings, who’s designed the landscaping for the entire estate, has created a natural playscape area for the family’s young children.  Tree swings hung from the underside of the pool deck, natural berms, and land bridges peek the creative imagination through play and exploration. 

Nestled in the lush evergreens of the lower hill, the poolhouse and natural playscape enjoy privacy and screening from the neighbors.  The material selections for the exterior of the buildings of the compound was purposeful to blend in with nature as well.  The darker colorations–a result of bronze and charcoal colored metal panels–helps the buildings recede into the hillside.  Far more visually interesting than a flat or shed roof, the torqued roof of the guest house was another response to the land.  We needed to stay within certain height and zone restrictions.  The geometry of the buildings is a direct result of the encroachment planes of the slope, which became an important asset to the overall design of the compound’s buildings.  Most notably, when looking up the hill from the pool deck, you see all the roofline lines coalesce higher up on the hill. There’s a sense of serenity the homeowners have with such a direct connection to nature.  Proposing a beautiful solution to maximize the usage of the lot took creativity and vision.  We knew that developers had passed on the lot, but what seemed unbuildable to others, with time and talent, we are able to design the home of our client’s dreams.



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