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California

A smart family home on so many levels

Bornstein house
Santa Monica architect Jesse Bornstein solved the dilemma of a sloping lot with a “split-plane” design that uses half-flights of stairs to keep the house free-flowing yet divided into distinct rooms. The result embodies what so many Southern Californians seek: more living space without the McMansion effect; light-filled rooms that feel connected to the outdoors yet still private; and a modern look that comes off as neither cold nor industrial. Here, a look down the open stairwell that serves as the spine of the house.

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• Inside the Bornstein home

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(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Please don’t call it split-level. It’s a split plane house. Architect Jesse Bornstein modifies a classic idea for a modern age, crafting a home that feels spacious and open yet intimate -- a private refuge graced with functional beauty.


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