Describe the featured project.
In this design we sought to blur the boundaries between inside and outside. The use of glass and solid forms clad in carefully selected textures and tones completes the look. The house is carefully crafted around an existing pool and cedar tree. We added a lily pond and drought-tolerant landscaping. Much attention was paid to the orientation of the spaces inside the house with respect to the sun’s movement and its impact on different times of the day. This project was recognized by AIA SFV for Design Excellence 2017.
Tell us about you and your business.
Amorphous Studio is a design-build business; we frequently build the homes we design. I am a licensed general contractor and have been educated and trained in the field of architecture. I am on the board of the Association for Women in Architecture and Design and the American Institute of Architects, San Fernando Valley.
How can we keep a minimalist approach from being boring?
By bringing in natural light through windows, doors and skylights. It is all about being in balance and harmony with colors, textures and the flow of spaces—nothing overpowering. I am very mindful of one’s feelings in the space they are in and the emotions that a space evokes due to the way it is put together. We bring in some fun and life through use of natural materials like stone and marble with geometric patterns used minimally, and strategic pops of color in tiles, indoor and outdoor plants, art and other furnishings. Artificial lighting follows the placement of furniture and circulation within the house.
Which home improvement projects are your clients asking for?
Kitchen remodeling, bathrooms, family and living rooms, and home office. Multiuse or multipurpose spaces—including adding an ADU—work great when we have kids and aging parents in the family. Healthy lifestyles and mental well-being are the most important aspects of today’s post-COVID-19 placemaking.
How do passive houses contribute to improving the health and quality of life of those who dwell there?
Natural light brings in a lot of cheer, positivity, and energy savings in heat and electrical usage—ultimately helping lessen the carbon footprint and achieving sustainability. Fresh air and ventilation improve our health and save energy. Using green materials with a low impact on our environment saves our planet. Local labor and locally sourced materials help the environment by creating less pollution in travel and manufacturing. Using existing structures and terrain preserves wildlife habitat, underground reservoirs, trees and plants, and places less impact on our city’s utility departments. Greywater recycling, rainwater harvesting, passive cooling and heating, and solar panels are some other sustainable methodologies.
Project photographed by Dan Arnold