When screenwriter Jason Micallef was house-hunting, he was ready for a challenge.
"I looked for a major fixer-upper or tear-down," he said. He found it, in the form of a two-bedroom house next to the Silver Lake Reservoir. Although the house itself was unimpressive, Micallef climbed the hillside behind it to find an expansive panorama of the reservoir. "The view was incredible," he said.
It was the vista that dictated the redesign of his home.
Working with architects Andrew Holder and Claus Benjamin Freyinger of the Los Angeles Design Group, Micallef embarked on a three-year renovation project that flipped the traditional floor plan.
The open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen are on the uppermost level, with the bedrooms below. Micallef, who grew up in rural Virginia where flood zones meant most homes were elevated above carports, felt comfortable with common areas on the top floor.
Micallef, who had lived in the same apartment building as Holder in West Hollywood more than a decade before, called on his old friend when he was ready to begin renovations. Although the top floor includes a large deck and walls of glass to maximize the view, the second floor provides a visual surprise.
Both the front and back of the house prominently feature a cockeyed window inspired by Bauhaus-trained architect Marcel Breuer's asymmetrical windows at the former Whitney Museum (now part of the Met) in New York.
After a louvered window was proposed and rejected by the city, the architects suggested indenting the window.
For Micallef, who is used to multiple rewrites on a project, the lopsided windows were an improvement and a parallel to his professional life.
"Instead of being upset whenever reality intervenes, you jump past that point and find a solution," he said.