House of seven gables? Almost. The existing gables at the front of
this 1920s-vintage house in West Los Angeles provided the inspiration
for a way to organize an addition at the back. Owners Dorothy and
Thomas Hines wanted to add two children’s bedrooms and, off the
master bedroom, a new porch, without violating the house’s
Santa Monica architect Barton Phelps used the gable forms as a way
to separate the children’s new wing from the porch. One gable
covers the new lattice-browed, southwest-facing porch and extends part
of the roof line beyond one end of the master bedroom. In Southern
California’s benign climate, this screened porch is usable most of
The other gable caps the new bedroom wing. Stacking the bedrooms
to form a two-story tower and turning them 45 [deg.] allowed Phelps to
preserve most of the back garden. The angle increase the impression
that this is a separate structure, giving the children the feeling of
being off in their own little cottage.
Inside are two differently shaped rooms for two independent
personalities: octagonal below for the boy, rectangular above for the
girl. The corners of the upper bedroom cantilever 2 feet over the lower
room. The tower’s windows face away from the porch, preserving
privacy for both children and parents. Phelps remodeled the
children’s former tiny rooms into one open study, which doubles as
the entrance to the tower.
Between the two new gables lies a small outdoor landing with steps
angling down to the garden.