kappe house

October 8, 2012

I had the privilege of being invited to a salon at the home of architect Ray Kappe and his wife last month.  It was pretty exciting for me as I have worked on 2 Kappe homes and am a huge fan.

Nestled in the Santa Monica Canyon, I have driven past the home a few times.  I have even stopped in the road and stared at the house in admiration a couple times wondering how many have done the same, and if the Kappe’s must think we are all nuts…

They love their house, I’m sure they understand and appreciate that we do too.

The sunken living room.

Standing in the dining room looking across the living room (middle, below) to the lounge.

Standing in the lounge looking back across to the dining room and kitchen above that.

The lounge (above), the office (below).  The living room falls somewhere in between.

Interior/exterior detail.

Master Bath.  I LOVE the ladder towel racks, poured into the concrete as an architectural yet functional element.

Guest Bath.

LOVE this window seat!!!

Exterior steps leading up to the pool and rooftop deck.

The end.

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I started working on a house in the valley just about a year ago.  It’s a treehouse, built in 1964 by Los Angeles architect Ray Kappe.  Originally named the Strimmling House for the family who commissioned the project, it boasts many of the qualities that Kappe is known for.  A beautiful flow between indoors and out, the use of redwood galore, walls of windows from floor to ceiling…and it had not been properly cared for over the past 15 years.

Over the past year I have spoken to Mr. Kappe himself, worked with his lovely and sweet structural engineer who was the original engineer for the house back in the early 60’s (and yes, at over 80 years old, he got down on his hands and knees and was crawling around under the house with me checking out the foundations), dealt with the Getty  museum attempting to get a copy of Mr. Kappe’s final plans for the house which now reside there, jacked up decks, had a baby, landscaped, put in footings and new posts and beams and have basically done everything that was needed to restore the house to some resemblance of what Mr. Kappe had intended it to be.

Honestly, when I began working on the project the owner told me he believed someone would most likely want to bulldoze the house.  I could see that all the house needed was a little love and someone who believed it was worth saving and that’s exactly what I set out to do.

Sometimes a house or a project can look a lot scarier than it really is and this was definitely that house.  It still has a long way to go, I didn’t do a full restoration, my job was to get it presentable for sale, basically my job was to get the house into a state that didn’t scare people away and then stage it.

I’ll let you judge for yourself, but I think I accomplished my mission…