Pro Portfolio: Modative 2X small-lot homes


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The Los Angeles architecture firm Modative’s latest project consists of two homes, each built with just two exterior materials, two interior materials, two principal colors and only two window and door sizes. The 2X project, built under the city’s small lot subdivision ordinance, is the latest installment of Pro Portfolio, our Monday feature that looks at recently built, remodeled orredecorated spaces with commentary from the designers.

Project: Two 1,000-square-foot homes.

Architect: Modative (Krystal Návar, Christian Návar, Derek Leavitt and Michael Scott). Contractor: Modative Build. Landscape design: Miriam Rainville, (310) 378-2650.

Architects’ description: The 2X concept came out of finding a simple, creative, cost-effective
way to re-imagine a pre-housing-bust development. The homes are the reincarnation of the Fay Avenue Art District Dwellings, a seven-home small-lot project designed before the real estate market crashed. Our client asked us to propose a design that would generate rental income. The two homes pictured here make up Phase 1 of what’s intended to be a four-phase project.


The modern design was influenced by its location near the Culver City Arts District, but it’s also the result of trying to provide a cost-conscious solution for our client. We limited certain building components to only two variations as a way to minimize costs. Further emphasizing the 2X concept, each home has two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms on two floors. These homes are being rented as apartments until all four phases are complete and the properties are ultimately subdivided into seven lots.

As a design-build firm, we acted as the general contractor. This helped to keep construction costs down, drastically reducing the expenses that come with the change orders that are typically part of an architect-contractor relationship.

These two homes were completed in December and are occupied. To see more, keep reading ...

The wood vertical fins hide the connections of the cement board siding and create a graphic pattern on each building’s face. The patterns of light are dynamic and change with the time of day, especially on the south walls.

The entrances are punctuated by bright green doors.

The concrete floor, plywood ceiling and IKEA kitchen were all moves that saved money but also kept the homes relevant in today’s market. The furniture for staging was provided by Apt2B.

The front home’s living area opens out onto a ground-level patio that engages Fay Avenue.

The back home’s living area is on the upper level, taking advantage of views toward the
Baldwin Hills and the Helm’s Bakery sign.

A skylight at the top of the stairs adds a ton of natural light. This photo was taken by the laundry room.


The bathroom finishes are below what you might find in a custom home but well above typical apartment-grade.

We recessed an IKEA closet in each bedroom, which makes an inexpensive closet look like a custom built-in. Tricky, tricky.

-- Lisa Boone

Pro Portfolio appears every Monday. Submit projects to


Small 1940s condo remodel

Industrial loft redecorated

Family friendly loft remodel

A 1950s Venice bungalow remodeled

Mar Vista garden as green testing ground

Photo credits: Krystal Návar