August 11, 2009

A hot & steamy Rewind Wednesday!

rewind button Well it’s about freakin’ time summer got here!! And it only took till the middle of August… grrrr!!

Oh well, better late than never. And in spite of the cold & wet summer we’ve been having here in Ottawa, I’ve been managing to keep myself busy with summer stuff. Which is the reason for Rewind Wednesday — no need to spend hours indoors sitting in front of a computer writing new blog posts… we can just re-publish some of our older posts!!

And we’d love to have you play along :-) Just sign up with Mister Linky at the end of this post, re-publish one of your archived posts, and then go outside and enjoy summer :-)

This week, we’re re-visiting Vienna Way, a beautiful home in Venice, California. I originally wrote two posts about it, but today I’m going to give you one big post all about this award-winning home with it’s fantabulously sexy kitchen…

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VW kitchen

Vienna Way Residence is a home in Venice, California. It was designed by the architecture firm Marmol Radziner and Associates, and it has one of the most beautiful and unique kitchens I’ve ever seen. Well, other than my virtual kitchen transformation that I posted about a little while ago!! ;-) In fact, this kitchen made it to the #1 spot on an episode of HGTV’s Top 10, which features some of the best-designed rooms in North America.

In this exterior shot of the house, the kitchen is in the center at the far end of the pool, where it bridges the two “wings” of the house. It literally is the hub of this home. If you looks closely, you can see that the kitchen has a green roof. It’s planted with Cape Rush and is visible from the second storey hallway on the right.

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The kitchen’s green roof helps make the home more efficient — the approximately eight inches of soil in the garden helps to regulate the temperature in the kitchen below, reducing the need for air conditioning in the summer and and heating in the winter.

kitchen roof

Now let’s go inside and take a look through the huge kitchen windows at the pool. Besides the lovely view, can you see what makes this space so unique??

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It’s a sunken kitchen!! I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think it’s just spectacular.

The eating area is tucked in discreetly to one side, and the stairs come down into the kitchen from each of the two wings.

Kitchen 5

kitchen while i work

walnut loft How gorgeous is the wood ceiling?? It’s walnut, and looks a lot like the walnut floor in our loft!! (Picture over there on the right.) The countertops and cabinets are walnut too. The colour is so rich and warm, and the grain is amazing. The unobtrusive pot lights ensure that nothing gets in the way of the amazing views out of the windows that surround the space.

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How would you like look out over the pool — literally!! — while doing the dishes?!

sink view

I’ve found the oven and I think a microwave, but no fridge. There has to be a fridge in there somewhere!! I have no idea where… can you spot anything that looks like it might be the fridge?? And I’m guessing that the small dark rectangles just below the countertop are electrical outlets. You can see one in the picture below, at the beginning of the run of cabinets on the right.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on this kitchen. Could you see yourself whipping up Christmas dinner here?? Or do you think you’d always order take-out Chinese and pizza so you’d never have to mess it up?? Would you be more likely to wash dishes by hand if you could stand at that sink and look out over the pool?? Hey… where’s the dishwasher?!

VW landscaping

asla logo On May 5, 2009, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced the winners of its 2009 Professional Awards. The nearly-600 entries were narrowed down to 49 winning projects that were recognized in the areas of General Design, Residential Design, Analysis and Planning, Communications, and Research. The Vienna Way Residence won an Honor Award in the Residential Design category.

The Professional Awards Jury said…

“The landscape architect shows such a confident hand in this project. The ideas follow the modular forms of the house. The front elevation is so beautiful with the sumac against the black plaster. It represents very clear thinking about landscape architecture.”

landscape 1

Project statement

landscape plan The design of the Vienna Way landscape fully integrates the residence within the surrounding California native landscape. The architecture and landscape were designed to work in unison, creating a seamless transition between the interior and exterior living spaces. The element of water links a “corridor” of exterior spaces — swimming pool, garden roof, riparian planting — and intersects with the interior spaces at the sunken kitchen.

The site landscape plan to the right gives you a better idea of how the gardens are laid out. The property is quite narrow, and the house extends almost the full length of the lot. You can see how the main gardens form the corridor through the center of the property and the house. The front garden has simple, monochromatic, architectural plantings. Behind the front garden is the swimming pool, which extends all the way back to the kitchen and is edged with mass plantings of Cape Rush.

Going up a level, there’s a grass garden on the kitchen roof. And coming back down to ground level, there are three California Sycamores lined up in the rear garden. The whole corridor is flanked by drought-tolerant plants, including Coastal Live Oak, Valley Oak, native Deer Grass, and African Sumac.

An interesting note — many of the plants on the property were grown specifically for this project by two local nurseries. This was to ensure that the large quantity of native California plants required for the project would be the desired size at installation time. All of the trees were field grown and craned into the site.

Now let’s look at some pictures!!

How would you like to lounge by the pool in the front yard, hidden from the world by the plants all around you?? Your very own private urban retreat!!

landscape 2

kitchen roof Here’s the picture of the grass growing on the roof above the kitchen again. It helps to visualize how the garden flows from the front of the property, along the pool (picture above), over the kitchen (picture to the left), and into the backyard (following picture).

The line of California Sycamores and grasses in the back of the house. You can catch a glimpse of the pool through the kitchen windows behind the trees…

landscape 4

A great outdoor spot to eat dinner, next to the garden and the fireplace. Reality sneaks in just a bit here with the neighbour’s house just poking out above the hedge…

landscape 5

The hallway in the one-storey wing of the house leads from the family room and dining room to the outdoor eating area with the fireplace. The kitchen is to the left of the open doorway.

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Although the home and landscaping have more adult aesthetics, there’s room in the garden for the kids to play too :-)

landscape 6

VW more

Before we leave Vienna Way, let’s take a final peek at a few of the other spaces inside this unique home. Although the way the home is designed, there really isn’t a defining line between the indoors and outdoors.

You can see the master bedroom and bit of the ensuite on the second floor, with the front yard outdoor eating area below the bedroom. I like the thin strips of grass between the tiles. It adds colour and softness, as well as a graphic element.

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A close-up shot of the 2nd floor hallway. You can see the grassy kitchen roof through the windows.

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The dining room in the one-storey public wing. The table and chairs are understated, and the chair backs are very low to maximize the sightlines out the windows.

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The living room is next to the dining room (see the bit of the dining room table at the bottom of the picture). The windows slide open to really bring the outdoors in

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And finally, one more shot of the family room. The gray velvet sofa looks soft and comfy and welcoming :-) It’s just too bad that you can’t see the great view out the windows when you’re sitting on it!!

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And that’s the end of our tour of Vienna Way.

Do you enjoy touring homes like this?? Or would you rather tour homes that are less grand and more within reach of the average homeowner?? I’ll never be able to afford a house like this, but I do enjoy looking at the pictures and dreaming :-) Leave a comment and let me know what you think…

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Unless otherwise noted, all interior pictures from Marmol Radziner and Associates and + Mood

All exterior pictures from

Landscape plan from American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)



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Maria Killam said...

This was a great post - I do remember it! Great to see it again!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

I remember this post, too--the house is unforgettable! I'm like you, Kelly--I can't imagine ever living in a place like this, but it's so much fun to look at.

Glad to be participating in the party today. One of my favorite posts from last year disappeared when I switched my blog over to its new domain and this was my chance to bring it back into the fold. It's one of the craziest real estate listings I ever saw, and you know how I love bad MLS photos! :-)

Anonymous said...

This is such a great idea and y'all have such a great site! Thanks for allowing me to participate!

P.S. that house is AMAZING!

Christy said...

I loved this post too - such an amazing house...lucky family that gets to live there!

Gayle said...

I think it's fun to look at homes that I will never, ever own! This is a great rewind!

Tamara Jansen said...

What an INCREDIBLE home. Amazing design style, that's for sure!


This is definitely a dream house! I love everything about it.

Anonymous said...

Awesome site, I hadn't come across before in my searches!
Continue the good work!

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