In a popular neighborhood bustling with art galleries, fine restaurants, shops, and wine cellars, ample yard space is a rarity. Yet, it didn't stop designer and builder from creating a peaceful retreat cushioned with leafy greens and inspired by a connection to the outdoors in the Venice Beach neighborhood of — a busy block that has experienced a commercial renaissance in recent years.
Gordon knew the lot's small size meant large outdoor living spaces would be impossible. Because of this, it was crucial to create an abode that could seamlessly shift from indoors to outdoors — not only for a sense of spacious airiness, but to beckon the lush greenery and fresh air of the home's Southern California locale.
"I wanted to create a home that could be both a sanctuary and connected to its environment," says Gordon.
The design solution: Glass. Gordon designed many of the rooms to transform into two-walled spaces by installing stunning glass walls that open on a whim's notice. In the living room of the four-bedroom, five-bathroom house, for instance, glass walls open for an intimate view of the front garden area. Meanwhile, 14-foot rolling glass walls in the dining room vanish to create a dining space akin to a patio, seamlessly merging both outdoor and indoor living spaces. The glass walls can also be closed with floor-to-ceiling drapes to create a separate living unit indoors.
And while the master bedroom's glass walls overlook the green landscape of palms and ficus trees, the rooftop deck offers 360 views of the sunny neighborhood.
Since the property is just footsteps away from bustling Abbot Kinney, Gordon's goal was to offer openness from the inside but privacy from the outside. To do so, she filled the lot with ficus and pepper trees.
"It's a struggle to find privacy in Venice Beach, but you still really want to feel like a part of the community and the beach," says Gordon. "Choosing plants and craning in mature screening trees, such as ficus with a root barrier, are an integral part of the final look. The floor-to-ceiling windows grab all that green from inside the house, and outside, you can walk around naked — should you be so inclined."
The design indoors is what Gordon describes as muscular minimalism: Rustic and strong, without any hint of delicacy or frill. In an appealing contrast to the crystal glass walls, the kitchen features stone walls and the garage is accented with frameless steel windows. The decor is Brutalist style, heavy in build and accented with brass.
Overall, the home carries notes of inspiration from European designers. "I'm crazy for the work of Piet Boon, a Dutch designer," says Gordon. "I find this kind of muscular modernism works amazingly with the bohemian layers we add during styling. It's very California sophisticated casual."
See photos of the glass home below.