PHOTOGRAPHY HANS & ALAÏA FONK | TEXT HANS FONK

The house is situated high on a hillside of the town of Ventura, just north of Los Angeles along the Pacific Ocean. This has long been a paradise for surfers and artists. Designer Philip Nimmo has conjured up a highly distinctive vision of the modern living theme here. He designed an open-plan house with large expanses of glass, terraces at the front and rear and even on the roof of the master bedroom. His creation draws upon outdoor living, with the ever-changing light as the dynamic catalyst.

The house sits like a white pearl against a hillside near the town of Ventura on the Pacific coast north of Los Angeles. Here Philip Nimmo has created a modern house inspired by the architecture of the mid-20th century. His design is based on a seamless transition from interior to exterior. He has achieved that with large expanses of glass on almost all sides. The house is built on a projecting site, so the architect made appropriate provisions for protection from the wind. Despite local building regulations for this spot, he succeeded in subtly stretching them to the limit in order to meet all the owners’ requirements.

Much of the existing structure was replaced with new-build, though a detached element was retained – it houses the entertainment room and garage.

In the tautly designed new-build Philip has placed the large living-cum-dining space in an efficient manner. It flows into the kitchen, with a connecting space to the outdoor kitchen, with dining table, at the back of the house.

At the front he designed the living room to abut a terrace, which has a small pool and waterfall. The large glass wall can be opened electronically to create a spacious indoor/outdoor area. From the outdoor terrace a floating staircase leads to a large open-air terrace on top of the master bedroom. That bedroom, with roomy en-suite bathroom, is sunken behind the living area. The house contains two bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a multipurpose study. A major item in the brief was for sufficient wall space to accommodate the owners’ art. Ramsey Construction played a key role in realising the designer’s highly subtle plans. They were responsible for the meticulous degree of finish and chose a sophisticated lighting plan for the house.

“I tried to design a maximum of wall space, for the works by young artists from California from the owners’ collection. To avoid upsetting the spatial effect, we kept the ceilings as high as possible. Within that context, we opted for furniture with both architectural and sculptural properties. The colour palette for the furniture was mainly neutral, with the occasional accent colour for cushions and accessories”, Philip Nimmo explained.

Although the house is not particularly large by American standards, the great transparency Nimmo has created makes it appear far more spacious. That is reinforced by the emphasis on outdoor living. The climate permits the pleasant alfresco life for much of the year, and when all the picture windows are open, there is a feeling of infinity. And with the natural light creating a dynamic exchange between light and shade during the day, the effect is further enhanced. The panoramic view of the ocean heightens even more the sense of unlimited space.