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January 19, 2016
The 1,700-square-foot home’s unusual design resists excess with rugged minimalism.
Facade and stunning views from prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

“[The owner] wanted a place that was a sort of retreat, a place for meditation and contemplation,” architect Tom Marble says. “He wanted views, but he also wanted a strong relationship to the outside.” 

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Gray-painted steel patio of prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

The painted-gray concrete deck, edged with quarter-inch thick steel railings, offers sweeping views of the city.

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Eco Steel prefab structure and Douglas fir built-ins of prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

The owner wanted a property that had the least amount of impact on the environment as possible, while staying within his budget. Eco Steel prefabricated the home’s steel frame, and simple materials filled in the details: metal pan decking composed the ceiling, polished concrete made up the floors, dry wall comprised the rooms, and Douglas fir built-ins were constructed in between.

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Custom walnut dining table and Blu Dot’s Real Good Chairs of prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

The challenge of the Douglas fir built-ins was that they had to be made with 60-degree angles in mind. Vincent Pocsik of Marbletecture created the custom walnut dining table to match, and it is surrounded by Blu Dot’s Real Good Chairs.

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Vintage Ekornes chair and brass Lawson-Fenning pendant light in living room of prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

The interior design of the home was shaped by its construction, and a mantra that Marble refers to as “It is what it is-ism.” He and the owner wanted to keep the structure simple and leave most of the details to the furniture. A vintage Ekornes chair sits in the living room alongside a geometrically-styled brass Geo Glass Light by Jason Koharik for Lawson-Fenning.

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Bathroom with panes from Fleetwood Windows & Doors in prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

Fleetwood Windows & Doors provided the dual-glazed panes throughout the home.

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Indoor-outdoor bedroom of prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

“By shifting the 60-degree equilateral grid of the home 18 degrees, it blurred the edges of the lot line so that the user isn’t sure where the property starts or ends,” Marble said. The hexagonal shape also makes the most of passing breezes, changing sunlight, and bird’s eye views.

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Drought-tolerant landscaping outside prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

“The [home] is a sanctuary, despite being a duplex on a standard lot in a regular urban grid,” Marble says. Irrigation was limited to vegetable beds that feature drought-tolerant landscaping. 

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Facade and stunning views from prefab Los Angeles home by Marbletecture.

“[The owner] wanted a place that was a sort of retreat, a place for meditation and contemplation,” architect Tom Marble says. “He wanted views, but he also wanted a strong relationship to the outside.” 

Architect 

There were many incarnations of this lot before its owner had settled on a harmonizing design. Set in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, the site was allegedly a dumping ground during the construction of a nearby freeway—a concern brought to the owner by his neighbors—and the foundation of a house that was demolished after incurring damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. But the owner knew a thing or two about rebirth: he’s a Zen Buddhist monk and he envisioned a fresh start. He partnered with principal Tom Marble of Marbletecture to create a sustainable property, and he initially thought a circular design embodied that goal. But after 72 drafts, the duo settled on an unusual frame: hexagons. “In this way, users enjoy a complexity of light and space, and a variety of ways to access the exterior no matter where they happen to be,” Marble says. The home is a duplex, with one bedroom upstairs and a studio downstairs, and both realms are made from a handful of materials. It’s a welcome shift for the storied lot, and a more peaceful one at that. 

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