Terrace Residence

Nestled into the nave of a canyon along the San Rafael Hills, the Terrace Residence is a pure expression of topographic sensibility. The new construction, which references early adobe architecture and the regional context of Southern California’s Arroyo Seco, is wrapped in large format brick, plaster, and timber screens. Moving up the hillside site, the complex strategically envelops the existing trees to form a series of smaller garden rooms and framed vantages of the city views.

The structure flows and expands, coiling up around palm, ficus, and eucalyptus trees, transforming voids into exterior atriums. Each view is thoughtfully framed; portals, screens, and apertures offer perspectives to be discovered. Thick brick walls help regulate the interior environment, and louvered terraces and corridors allow for cross ventilation and distinct movements of light.

Intentionally placed skylights reinforce the idea of sheltering as one with environment; the light in the house has the intimacy of nature itself, coursing through levels of form and structure, as it might penetrate the canopies of a lush garden. A red-stained concrete floor acts as a continuous trail throughout the indoor and outdoor landscape; weaving egress through native plants, interior rooms, patios, and exterior stairs, which lead to an upper hiking trail.

  • Year completed2021
  • Square footage3 400 ft2
  • Project typeResidence
  • LocationHighland Park, Los Angeles, CA
  • MaterialLong-format crude brick, stained concrete, stained Sycamore and Redwood, plaster, ceramic tile roofing
  • PhotographyJohn Daniel Powers
  • Landscape designTerremoto
  • RenderingsStudio Mendoza

Stained redwood louvers diffuse the eastern morning canyon light. “The light in the house has the intimacy of nature itself, coursing through levels of form and structure as it might penetrate the canopies within a lush garden.”


Every moment has been considered: from the terracotta tile floors to the grooved eucalyptus cabinet paneling.


A sculpted fireplace adjacent to a seating niche overlooking an existing Valley Oak on the property.


“The wraparound bench and corner opening are meant to contain you and mirror the exterior; creating comfort and shelter while catapulting you on a ledge outward in the landscape.”