Fixer-Upper House Transformed Into Forever Home

architect design build niche brentwood los angeles

Kurt Krueger designed and built an oasis in the middle of an urban neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Utilizing its team’s creativity, design-build firm Kurt Krueger Architects developed innovative solutions for a challenging site in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Dubbed “the Westgate Residence,” it is located near a busy intersection. The clients’ first priority was creating privacy, as well as an open floor plan where their children and grandchildren can spend time with the couple.

While the 50’ x 100’ site is relatively small, Kurt envisioned the design and construction possibilities within these parameters. As a result, this was one of the first projects which motivated him to start his own company and identify his design-build niche.

“When you’re an architect builder, you can’t just come up with the wacky ideas and hand it off to the builder,” he says. “The solution has to both respond to the clients’ needs and be constructible.”

His perspective opened a world of opportunities.

“If you don’t know what possible, you’ll never go down that road,” he says.

fixer-upper home

Image of property before transformation from fixer-upper to oasis

Developing design and construction solutions to create privacy and family-friendly living

The referral project began simply as a kitchen and bathroom remodel, then evolved into much more. Kurt realized the entire home needed to be taken down to its concrete slab foundation and wooden studs.

The clients were an older couple who bought the house as their second residence, so that they could live near their children and grandchildren. At the same time, Kurt was working on their son’s house.

“It was a family affair,” Kurt recalls fondly.

To create a private family-friendly environment, Kurt leveled out the floors and created seemless transitions in the open-floor plan of this one-level home. Considering that the clients may spend more time there in the future, his designs mindfully addressed the possibility of aging-in-place. The master bathroom is easy to access, incorporating a walk-in shower with no barriers.

The design achieved privacy indoors and outdoors. Fencing in the property, as well as insulating walls and windows, offered the clients a private oasis.

The design-build team also looked for opportunities to diminish the ambient noise from the city. While the large wood-framed sliding glass doors drew in natural ventilation, the urban atmosphere crept in, too. Shading the property in tall grasses and wandering vines in the midst of a water feature muffled this urban chatter. When the fire pit was in use, the crisp bristle of crackling wood had a similar effect.

“You wouldn’t know that you’re near a busy intersection,” Kurt says.

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About the author

Sienna Mae Heath

Sienna Mae Heath is the AMI Content Queen and Secret Weapon behind the Mastermind Program. She elevates the voices of architects around the world (to Dezeen and beyond!). Empowering female architects, she is the founder of ‘A Firm of Her Own’ blog series. Sienna is a star maker and story finder. A world traveler with a home base in Historic Bethlehem, Pa., her pieces have been published on ArchDaily, Onoffice, and Architect News.