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Floor Decor

Design, Bitches creates a modern bungalow in Venice Beach

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Architecture studio Bitches has completed a design for a Southern California home that takes cues from a traditional beach cottage and is meant to be “not too precious.”

The B+B House is located in Venice Beach, a seaside town known for its mix of century-old bungalows and experimental contemporary architecture.

Design, Bitches set the project on a plot of land in Venice Beach

“This specific location sits on the edge of Venice’s famous ‘walking streets’, where small spaces are tightly woven together as the city stretches out to the Pacific Ocean,” said Kathryn Johnson, co-founder of LA studio Design, Bitches.

Built for creative clients, the home replaces a 1914 dwelling that had fallen into disrepair. The main aim of the design was to ensure that the new house was in keeping with the nature of the original house and the area’s shantytowns.

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Guesthouse with balcony at the top
The studio designed a main residence and a guest house with a terrace

For a small plot wedged between the houses, the architects designed a main residence and a separate guest house in the back.

A small plaza serves as a “dynamic link” between the two buildings, while also providing views of the sky and the surrounding palm trees.

Timber ceiling and floor inside gabled dwelling by design, Bitches
A gabled roof tops the main volume

The main dwelling is raised in two levels, and is roughly rectangular in plan and topped with a gabled, upright metal roof. Inserted at the top is a shoebox-shaped bar that connects to the guest house.

The two-storey guest house has a square plan. The upper floor has been carved out to form an outdoor terrace.

Living room with gabled roof and large geometric chimney in the middle
The living room features in the main house

“By preserving the integrity and proportion of the traditional Venice Beach bungalow and adding a sliding bar through it, the B+B home makes a case for the flexibility of the original forms – juxtaposing them in a tiny home that speaks to both volumes and modern ways,” the studio said.

Both buildings are clad in shredded, unoiled plaster, thermally modified ash, which turns gray over time. The guest house also features formed concrete slabs.

Thin polished tiles on the kitchen floor of gabled size
Design, bitches also added a kitchen to this volume

The interiors are supposed to be flexible according to the lifestyle of the family.

“The home was built for a small, creative family who work in a variety of ways and have a steady stream of extended family and friends who pop in and out of town on a regular basis,” said the studio.

A tiled bathroom in a gabled dwelling by Bitches Design
This dwelling includes a tiled bathroom

In the main house, the ground floor includes a living room, dining area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

The upper floor contains the primary bedroom and bathroom, along with a loft style room which has openings to both the bedroom and living room below. The loft can be used as a music or sleeping area.

The furniture inside the guesthouse is of design, bitches with large straight windows
The guest house has a bedroom

“The flexible loft bridges the boundary between gathering and retreat,” said the team.

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She added, “The interior windows have been pierced through the upstairs volumes, so cross breezes and conversation continue and flow from the upper floor into the main living areas.”

A chaise longue next to the wood-panelled window frames of a Venice Beach cottage
Finishes and decor are meant to feel livable

The guest house has a flexible space at ground level that serves as a studio, entertainment space and garage. Upstairs is a bedroom and a studio plus a small bathroom.

Finishes and decor are meant to feel livable.

A shimlock-paneled room within the gabled main dwelling of a B+B house
In the design, vertical grained hemlock bitches were used for the walls and ceilings

“The home feels instantly homey, welcoming to everyone and not too precious to use,” said the studio.

To add warmth, the team used vertically grained hemlock for the walls and ceilings.

Kitchen with turquoise floor tiles
Turquoise tiles were used in the public areas

For the flooring in the common area, Johnson and her team selected delicate vitreous bricks in a shade of turquoise that evoke the tiles in Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi’s home in Sao Paulo.

The same tiles, but in matte black, were used to cladding the fireplace. The pendant lighting fixtures in both the kitchen and living area are by the Spanish company Marset.

The kitchen cabinet is made of black oak and dark blue laminate. Countertops are made from a composite product called PaperStone.

To help reduce energy consumption, the team installed skylights, solar heated water, and radiant floors.

Wood-Front Venice Beach Cottage by Bitches
Both buildings are clad in ash and plaster

Elements at all levels – from the mass to the interior details – were carefully considered during the design of the house.

“Proportions and scale were carefully considered, from the larger formal junctions down to the shifting detail and direction of the textures, pattern and rhythms of the materials,” Johnson said.

Other projects by Design, Bitches include a Nashville restaurant that evokes “old school Miami” and an eclectic restaurant and video arcade in Los Angeles that takes cues from postmodernism and film noir.

Photography by Yoshihiro Makino.