See how a former ranch was transformed into an eco-friendly treehouse
Indoor-outdoor living is at the top of so many modern homeowner wish lists. Just being able to move from indoor rooms to outdoor space, using it like it’s just an extension of your home sounds like a dream. And that was at the top of the list for the owners of this once-dated 1956 ranch. Working with Architects Assemble + , they wanted to create a contemporary home that felt connected to the canyon and forests that surrounded the property.
Before its spectacular renovation, it was a one-story ranch house – nothing particularly spectacular, but the surrounding woods and stunning views of the Laurel Canyon (and the elegant neighborhood) are what gave this place its potential.
Now it has been totally transformed into a stunning two story treehouse with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, several living areas, an office, a cinema room, an outdoor patio and a swimming pool. Quite impressive for a “ tree house ” …
It was important to the owners that the house was built and managed in the most sustainable way possible. The cladding was made from sustainably harvested red cedar, a solar photovoltaic system was installed on the roof, as was a gray water system for irrigation of the landscape. And the materials used inside were also from sustainable sources – caesarstone countertops and formaldehyde-free MDF were used in both the kitchen and bathrooms.
The kitchen is at the heart of the house. A large open plan space that connects all the rooms on the lower level and offers transparent access to the terrace and the swimming pool. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors give that indoor-outdoor living that was the key to the remodel and almost brings greenery into the kitchen, giving the space that treehouse feel.
And yes, these are two islands that you spy on. They face each other on opposite sides of the kitchen so that traffic can still easily move from inside to outside. This gives owners the option of using one island for cooking and another for socializing.
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The dining area is in the open plan kitchen space, but since it is separated by one of the islands, it gives it a more formal and intimate feel. The mix of chairs with a bench always gives it a casual look that works with the relaxed vibe of the rest of the house.
This beautiful, comfortable and relaxed space is actually part of the kitchen. It is separated, very slightly, by a narrow thirty foot long skylight that connects the roof of the original house to this new addition. In addition, the cedar red coating used for the ceiling makes the space more comfortable than the kitchen. Sliding glass doors open on both sides to give that feeling of being almost outside.
The second family room is at the back of the house slightly away from the main living space and serves as a cinema room. You still have the view of the surrounding forest, but since it does not open onto the swimming pool, the trees give the room a cocooning feeling. You can see where modern treehouse visions came to life in this room.
The simple but striking staircase doesn’t break the flow of the open plan space downstairs. The tracks allow light to filter further from the light-filled second floor and the artwork adds a fun pop of color to an otherwise fairly neutral space.
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The master bedroom has the second floor to itself and this is where you really feel like you are in a treehouse. Minimalist wrap-around windows offer views of the canyon and surrounding lush forest.
Decor is simple, with a slight earthy rustic feel to match the cedar clad exterior. A large, low sofa on the opposite side of the room provides another more private living space that benefits from the same unobstructed views.
The second floor bathroom still has those big windows and uninterrupted views to make you feel like you’re in the trees bathing.
Even the downstairs bathrooms still have that element of being outside. The large windows in the walk-in shower fill the space with light. The cabinets are a dark version of the formaldehyde-free MDF used in the kitchen and the dark Caesarstone countertop adds a dramatic touch to the room.