Program: This single‐story home received a top‐to‐bottom renovation evoking the architect’s signature high‐concept design approach exploring the relationship between vast space and light. The home features a living room, dining room, den, kitchen, loft, master suite, guest suite, powder room, and backyard with a barbecue and Jacuzzi.
Design: Nestled in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the private residence of architect Dan Brunn, AIA, became an expression of his signature style. The house was transformed from an American traditional‐style home into a minimalist retreat. The remodeling process delicately balanced a nostalgic façade while transforming the interior spaces to accommodate present‐day domestic activities with a clean, open‐air feeling.
Throughout the home, the architect’s design aesthetic is evident in his utilization of provocative spatial choreography and harmonious connections between light and volume. The sheer openness and expansion of the main entertaining space, in conjunction with the views to the backyard and the filtering skylight system, make the house a true California classic.
Upon entry, there is a sudden sense of compression and expansion as the visitor is propelled into the home’s center. This dramatic gesture of arrival is further amplified by the compact foyer space that abruptly breaks free to uncover a soaring entertainment room and a living room with sunlit beams. The architect removed all the walls to open the floor plan and create an expansive entertaining room. This large‐scale central space combines the living and dining rooms as well as the kitchen. Sewing together these areas into a single, seamless environment allows the free flow of air, light, and circulation.
Several west‐facing skylights were installed against the crown of the roof’s ridge beam to further open the home. This design element brings the outdoors into the living and dining areas with bold rays of sunlight. When light enters the room, dramatic diagonal lines of rectangular shapes form on the wall to evoke natural art. The skylights flood the room with cascading sunlight and extra ventilation. A stone‐colored rug outlines the living room. Modern furnishings with clean lines and neutral colors create an illusion of lightness to complement the open room. A light‐grey sofa anchors the space to provide airiness and comfort, while two black leather side chairs provide added seating.
A side table features a hand‐woven base with walnut wood surface to soften the hard lines within the space. Beside the sofa are two knit poufs—one yellow, one grey—for casual relaxation on the floor. Brunn constructed the vibrant‐colored wall art from a large sheet of maple‐wood veneer plywood painted with bold acrylic paints. It depicts the world’s flags meshed together with two ribbon patterns to symbolize global harmony.
Directly across the living room is the dining area featuring a neutral color palette to maintain visual balance between spaces. The sleek, blonde‐wood dining table is topped with white DuPont Corian to allow easy cleaning. The blonde‐wood‐framed chairs include black, 3‐D knitted anthracite‐mesh backs to provide extreme comfort and stacking ability. Nestled in the corner is Brunn’s bass guitar that he adorned with the same flag patterns as the painting. The furniture in both the living and dining rooms is minimal, to keep the space open and uncluttered.
Brunn believes the kitchen is the heart of the home. Sleek, ultra‐white custom‐designed cabinets are made of back‐painted low‐iron glass adhered to baked‐on lacquered fiberboard panels. The refined space offers easy maintenance and cleanup for messy cooking. A glass‐top breakfast table and wood‐and‐mesh chairs sit in front of the kitchen’s bay window, which provides exterior views and abundant natural light. Hanging from above is a mirror‐glass globe pendant to evoke a contemporary vibe.
Above the kitchen and below the skylights sits an inviting loft space cleverly accessible with a hidden ladder that retracts into the laundry room. Serving as a private sanctuary, the loft is filled with design books, old records, and a vintage 1978 Pioneer Hi‐Fi stereo. The loft adds more height to the central living space, while remaining open to views below. Opening the ceiling necessitated the addition of a new wooden post, which the architect left as natural wood to add warmth and acknowledge the structural work done on the house. A thin glass railing, floating elegantly along the perimeter, encloses the loft while keeping the central living area visible. The ledge on the other side of the glass features the architect’s most prized possession—The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” 1000% Kubrick Set. The large, cartoon‐like plastic and rubber figures of the Beatles—the architect/musician’s all‐time favorite band—adds a pop of color and whimsy.
The vast, open spaces continue in the master bedroom. White and neutral tones manipulate the area, along with a magenta‐striped carpet and black Eames lounge chair to provide the only color accents. The master bathroom consists of large‐format porcelain tile, blond‐wood cabinets, and a glass‐encased shower—all following the architect’s notion of the beauty of simplicity. A clerestory window stretches along the full length of the basin wall. The backlit mirror sheds glowing light into the space.
At the far corner of the house is the den serving as a bonus room. The room’s traditional style is original to the house and was left completely untouched. “I always wanted to have a homey‐ looking den like this, but it’s not in my DNA to design this way,” expressed Brunn. Floor‐to‐ ceiling wood paneling and flooring create a log cabin feeling, along with a stone fireplace for coziness. A dark‐brown leather Chesterfield sofa and oak coffee table express masculine sensibility. An oriental rug of burgundy, blue, and gold tones tie the room’s palette together. A series of gold‐framed maps and the architect’s bass guitar complete the décor. Although in complete contrast with the home’s minimalist aesthetic, the den serves as a quirky yet inviting gathering space for guests.
Retractable glass sliding doors from the home’s central space create a grand welcome into the backyard. The shelf above the doors is framed in order to store various design objects, while hiding the curtain track. A colorful, 20‐can series of limited‐edition Andy Warhol real cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup curiously draws the eye upward. A covered patio includes a sofa, lounge chairs, and coffee table for outdoor enjoyment. The backyard becomes an open space used for entertainment and features a board‐formed concrete kitchen with barbecue and whirlpool spa.