John Melfi, a New York producer of "Sex in the City," "Rome" and the upcoming Showtime series "Nurse Jackie," called on Culver City architect Steven Shortridge of Callas Shortridge Architects
to design a new home for him in L.A. Shortridge proposed an unconventional design for a 30-by-80-foot lot in Venice: Rather than small rooms stacked three stories high, the architect wanted seven levels of living space that rose like a zigzag through the house, pictured here from a side alley. Visitors enter a courtyard, left. The kitchen sits behind the blue wall. A few steps lead up to the dining area, and then more steps rise to the living room, behind the brown wall at far right. From there, stairs lead to the master bedroom, the white volume at left, and then back toward the rear of the house and Melfi's office and guest suite, the white volume at right. A rooftop deck sits above the master bedroom; the garage is out of sight, below the living room.