Monday, October 14th, 2013
By Gwendolyn Purdom
Photos by Lars Frazer
Looking out from inside architect Michael Kovac’s Lantern House, the vista stretches from the skyline of downtown L.A. to the Pacific Ocean. Capitalizing on those rare hilltop views was Kovac’s top priority in taking on the renovation of this 1960s Bel Air home, he says, but project got its nickname from the perspective outside, looking in: bathed in light, a translucent glass staircase is a striking vertical divider in an otherwise horizontal layout.
“We didn’t want it to be completely exposed as you walk up and down the stairs, yet we also wanted to pull a lot of natural light into the space,” Kovac says. “We were enamored with the idea of how it would glow at night with softly lit blurry figures moving inside and that’s what it does.”
The clients were looking for a change from the traditional style of their previous house, so Kovac added a dramatic second story to the initially dated property to house the master suite, seamless glass walls, and a central reflecting pool, among other contemporary features. “We were responding to the view and the footprint that was there and trying to solve that puzzle of how to update a house after 40 or 50 years,” Kovac says. Details such as a sliding door clad in stainless steel on the kitchen side and leather on the dining room side and plenty of indoor/outdoor spaces keep the modern design feeling warm and inviting to friends, family, and grandkids.