Perched atop the Mar Vista Hill – an area highly sought after by Angelenos for its sweeping views of Santa Monica, West LA, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Venice, and the Pacific Ocean – a modern house was built for a family that loves to entertain, designed by the architectural firm Hsu McCullough (with staging and interior design by Modern Mecca). Inspired by the grasses surrounding it, this three-level angular structure is made up of golden earth tones: a mixture of a California desert-inspired palette mixing buff-colored smooth troweled plaster, rough-textured seeded plaster made with decorative gravel, Accoya wood siding, and dark bronze aluminum sliding doors and windows. 

The most notable feature, though, about the house is how private it is. “The front facade offers a lot of privacy from the street while hiding the open-plan delight of the rear outdoor living spaces,” Chris McCullough, co-principal of Hsu McCullough said. “We accommodated the homeowner’s love for having friends over, whether at the elevated balconies of the second floor or by the pool or in the kitchen, yet the interior is accessed through the side and rear yard entrances.”

The ground floor features a large open plan space that includes the living room, dining room, kitchen, study/guest room, and powder room. The kitchen was given a 13-foot long, 5-foot wide island that can comfortably accommodate five. Carrara marble countertops, Sub-Zero/Wolf appliances, and brass hardware give the kitchen a sense of elegance, while the clerestory windows bathe it in natural sunlight. The living room is really an extension of the cooking and dining areas offering a comfortable place to sit and kick back over a glass of wine. An Arteriors sofa was selected to be paired with a Nate Berkus & Jeremiah Brent for Living Spaces black marble table and Lemieux et Cie area rug.

The next floor up includes the den that serves as the central space from which the laundry room, the main bedroom, and kids’ bedroom emanate. “The den also offers two balconies – one with views to the north and west with accompanying meadow grass planters while the second balcony allows for access to the upper roof deck,” Chris explained. The large exterior planters serve multiple purposes: “The grasses soften the building’s angular exterior geometry as they wrap the front, side yard, and rear yard facades while also acting as a privacy buffer,” he said. “They also absorb stormwater, insulate the spaces below, provide habitat for wildlife while helping to lower air temperatures.”

Both the interior and the exterior allow for plenty of flow and spaces to entertain while adhering to that modern earthy aesthetic that ties all of the areas together. “The clients love the rich materiality and warmth of the finishes, the quality of natural light throughout the house, and the dynamic outdoor spaces at all three-floor levels,” Chris said. “Of course, the upper roof deck view, especially at night, is really spectacular.”