The two-family home she built at 406 Woodstock Ave., Silver Lake won: Excellence in Exterior and the “Hard Hat” Award for building a house that blends into the neighborhood while overcoming major construction dilemmas.
Taking a cue from City Planning's smart contextual zoning mantra -- the house had to blend with its 1910 A-frame neighbors in the Silver Lake Special Hillsides District -- and not stand out as the new kid on the block. The 35-by-100-foot lot was a tight squeeze thanks to 1980s R3X zoning. With inch-by-inch planning, the result is a two over three bedroom home -- in the neighborly "modern day twist on the Craftsman style," like it's neighbors -- with a full height basement, five tiled baths and a separate one car garage with its own surprise: Instead of a typical peaked roof we were thunderstruck with an idea when a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline emerged. Out went the hip roof and in came a flat roof encircled by railings. In addition to a 30-foot backyard, the owner gained a private 20-by-20 sun-drenched rooftop deck as well with a direct view to the Freedom Tower and a great spot for stargazing. Monogram sandstone and redwood siding was chosen to define each floor, with white bargeboard bands enhancing the color contrast on all four sides. Instead of a straight 20-foot run of steps to the pair of mission-style front doors, the steps are zigzagged with landings that pass green shrubs in a planter box, contrasting with the cultured stone stair base. Bronze aluminum railings lead to an ample front porch where the owners gather for coffee and conversation in cozy wicker, surrounded by plants and whimsical porch do-dads.
Longtime residents of the area were at first dismayed when the For Sale sign on the building lot went up in 2012: Three years later, as the house went on the market, passersby wondered if it had always been there, was this a renovation? Why hadn't they noticed it before? That's how carefully it was designed to not only fit in, but to enhance the neighborhood with an attractive and affordable alternative with few amenities spared (OK so there's no in-ground pool). The neighbors actually thanked me for NOT making a "statement" house but rather, have the house make its own statement.