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Nowita Residence
Venice, CA


Julie Smith-Clementi
Frank Clementi
Huay Wee
Anthony Anderson
Carolyn Sumida


This 1920s Venice beach bungalow on a pedestrian walk street has evolved with the neighborhood. And because its owners are both architects, each subsequent addition has reflected prevailing attitudes about what makes for good design. A second story addition in 1996 doubled the home's size from a cozy 600 sq. ft. to a more spacious 1,245 sq. ft., but preserved the original ground floor footprint and massing relative to the surrounding neighborhood.

In 2002, the owners purchased the single-story bungalow next door and eliminated the fence between the two properties. The adjacent property's spectacular 80-year-old Magnolia grandiflora tree became the focal point of what was now an unusually large yard for such an urban neighborhood. It also dictated the home's views and shade orientation.
A decade later, the owners expanded the original home yet again, adding a master suite over a new garage, a third bedroom, and a breakfast room off the kitchen. They also re-oriented the interior spaces on the ground floor to address the new communal garden.

The second floor addition is surrounded by 34 wood columns, each cantilevering out from the garage's shear walls. Their purpose isn't merely decorative; it's sincere about just what holds up the house. In addition to shading and framing views from the bedroom, each 4x12 is calculated to bear the vertical gravity load and the lateral earthquake load.

Architecture once sought transparency of means; a later generation asked for relationships. The home reflects both of these noble causes, making its owners good neighbors, and honest ones too.