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25th Street strict zoning regulations and our clients’ desire to add both a basement and second story to their existing one story single family home in Santa Monica, were the immediate challenges that would define our project approach.

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While the couple had owned the small house prior to having children, the house could no longer support their growing family. To expand, saving50% of the existing perimeter walls along with associated ceilings was required in order to maintain the non-conforming conditions of the existing and favorable side yard setbacks. Concurrently, adding a basement below and the weight of a second story above to undersized footings that needed to remain posed obvious challenges.


Our solution was to strategically place the new basement walls within the existing first floor perimeter and use this as a base upon which our structural columns would rise through the first floor walls and support the new load of the second floor. In the same way that the bark of the maturing arbutus tree peels away from the middle section of the trunk while the roots expand 

below and the canopy rises high above, the portions of the outer shell of the old house that remain are simply nonbearing remnants of what was. Though just a remnant, it still shows traces of its original existence and thus maintains a connection to its past. The second floor and the newness of what things have become floats above the original walls without touching themas continuous clerestory windows gently connect old and new.

© 2022 by  eric rosen architects

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