Pro Portfolio: Cory Buckner’s Brentwood modern

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Cory Buckner Architects recently finished a Brentwood residence designed to make the most of its natural surroundings. It’s the latest installment of Pro Portfolio, our feature posted every Monday in which we look at a recently built, remodeled or redecorated home with commentary from the designer.

Project: Demolish a nondescript 1,900-square-foot house and build a 4,000-square-foot residence for a family of four, plus a 1,400-square-foot artist’s studio.


Location: Brentwood.

Architect: Cory Buckner Architects. General contractor: Palisades Construction, principal David Stumfall and supervisor Randy Hayden, (310) 454-5728.

Architect’s description: This property is situated in the well-known postwar architectural community of Crestwood Hills, designed by architects A. Quincy Jones, Whitney R. Smith and structural engineer Edgardo Contini. The site had been occupied by a two-story house untouched since the late 1950s with breathtaking views of the Santa Monica Bay and city lights.

With just the top 6 feet of the new house visible at street level, the Brentwood residence appears as a modest statement among the neighboring postwar Modernist homes. Stepping down the hill, the house blends in with neighboring houses and affords each level of the house breathtaking views of the Bay.

Exposed natural materials, large expanses of glass dissolving the boundary of indoor and outdoor space and a butterfly roof address the Modernist architecture of the surrounding community.

With the primary view and exposure to the south, the use of passive solar devices such as appropriately sized roof overhangs minimize the sun’s effect in the summer and maximize heat gain in the winter. Operable windows and doors on the lower floors capture funnel ocean breezes, with air circulation also helped by clerestory windows at the top of the house.

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The east side of the house, showing the path as one enters the property from the street. The glass staircase leads up to the main level. Also visible: the master suite, on the upper floor.

The wide overhang at the entrance provides cover between the garage (through the doors straight ahead), and the house entry, on the left. The garage doors are clad in bonderized steel, a type of treated steel that’s matte gray, to match the roof fascia and gutter material.

The east side of the house at night. The kitchen and dining room are visible at the lower level. Further down the hill on the left, the skylights on the art studio are visible.

The kitchen cabinets are bamboo and the countertops are marble. The marble sinks were custom fabricated. The photo was taken from the dining area; lowering the ceiling height in this area provided a more intimate space for entertaining.

The stairs feature a built-in planter.

Addressing the owner’s art collection, the living room walls are unusually tall. The natural world acts as a foil to the man-made environment. Beyond the walls of glass on to the south, hawks soar over the canyon below; shadows from the carefully preserved eucalyptus trees dance on the floors and walls. Clerestory windows create a floating roof effect and the terrazzo floors ground the structure.

The master bedroom.

The master bathroom: The floor is terrazzo. Opaque glass provides privacy at the lower windows and generous clerestory windows allow morning sun to enter the room.

The reverse view of the master bathroom: The cabinets are bamboo veneer. The shower is white glass tile.

The study is lined with custom built-ins.


From barren yard to outdoor screening room

Mar Vista family home made colorful

Turf swapped for drought-tolerant plants

1968 Airstream Ambassador remodel

-- Compiled by Lisa Boone

Photo credits: George Pesce, Tom Bonner

Pro Portfolio appears on this blog every Monday. Submit projects to