Pro Portfolio: Midcentury update in Encino


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Every Monday, we will be posting a new home whose design is presented in the builder’s or designer’s own words. This week:


Architect: Anthony Poon, Poon Design

Project manager: Bryan Bethem, Poon Design

General contractor: Alex Cage, (818) 261-9305

Landscape architect: Jim Matsuo, (818) 352-4779

Location: Encino

Architect’s description: Our clients are an energetic, world-traveling couple. Jacob Stein and Yunna Barats came to Los Angeles in the mid-1980s separately. Jacob, originally from Moscow, and Yunna, originally from Riga, Latvia, met in Los Angeles and married shortly after.

Prior to their California move, they lived in their respective 200-square-foot apartments in Stalinist buildings. They sought a house that was economically designed, environmentally sensitive and strategically created to give a sense of space, purity, luxury and Southern California indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

The architectural inspiration came from their eclectic interests, combining artwork and collectibles from their travels with the Zen-like simplicity of Japanese design and the warm modernism of 1930s Scandinavian design.

Their long search for home resulted in a great find: a 3,300-square-foot midcentury home, neglected but with good bones. The property is set at the end of a long private driveway off a cul-de-sac. Because entertaining with family and friends was important to the clients, the open floor plan was opened up even further. Most of the walls in the public areas of the house were removed, connecting the living room, dining room, family room, kitchen and entry.

Keep reading to see more photos and details on the house ...

The kitchen cabinetry is teak, punctuated with lime green Caesarstone countertops. The island is stainless steel with olive-colored 3form resin drawer fronts.


In the main living area of the house, custom cabinetry and display cases are made from cold rolled steel, glass panels, high-gloss dark plastic laminates, and built-in lighting. Furniture is by B&B Italia and Ligne Roset.

The dining room extends onto a partially covered teak deck connected through a large accordion glass door. The lighting fixture is Mercury Suspension by Ross Lovegrove for Artemide.

The reverse view, looking back toward the dining room. The deck is one of several outdoor rooms that extend the home’s living space.

The guest bathroom walls are finished in red Heath tiles with brown grout. The cabinet is made from zebrawood with a white Caesarstone countertop.

The master bathroom has a white glass stick tile wall and a Prosecco Bubbles light fixture by Oriano Favaretto for De Majo. The shower is lined with four shades of matte green glass tiles from Ann Sacks.

After opening up the house within, we continued visually expanding the house outside. To take advantage of the abundant sun and the clients’ desire for indoor-outdoor living, outdoor areas are divided into different experiences and scales. Outdoor furniture is by Gandia Blasco of Spain; anodized aluminum frames have polyethylene seats, and cushions are polyurethane foam with nautical yacht fabric. The barbecue area has a fire pit, at right. In the distance: An intimate garden and sitting area creates serenity off the master bathroom.

The living room and family room seamlessly open onto an outdoor gathering area next to the pool. This area is softened by faux grass stripes and planters cut into the concrete, also seen in the photo near the top of this post. The outdoor dining area pictured previously lies off to the right in the photo above.

-- Compiled by Lisa Boone

Photo credits: Poon Design Inc.

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