The guesthouse look: how to get it

Getting the look: Santa Monica architect Aleks Istanbullu built a conventional wood-frame building, wrapped it with a black waterproofing membrane, then topped it with CertainTeed, a fiber cement siding. The basic architectural element is a 4-by-20-foot strip of siding composed of two 4-by-10-foot sheets, stacked vertically.

Each upper sheet has three tapered panels cut so the top widths are 1 foot, 2 feet, 1 foot, and the bottom widths are 1-foot-3-inches, 1-foot-6, 1-foot-3. Each bottom sheet has three panels cut so the tops match up with the panels above -- widths of 1-foot-3, 1-foot-6, 1-foot-3 -- and the bottom widths are 1-foot-6, 1 foot, 1-foot-6.

When the next 4-by-20-foot strip of siding was added, it was mounted in an inverted position, so the design is flip-flopped.

The panels are screwed at 12-inch intervals, leaving a 3/4 -inch space between the panel and the building to allow for air flow. A 1/4 -inch space exists between panels. Countersunk screws are puttied and sanded before painting. Home Depot’s paint department used a paint chip supplied by the owners to replicate three leaf-inspired colors. You could also take in the leaves themselves -- or whatever else inspires -- and have the colors matched.

Prices: Each 4-by-10-foot CertainTeed fiber cement sheet, $48.31, Stock Building Supply in Hollywood, (323) 469-1951. Product information: (800) 782-8777, Behr’s flat acrylic latex paint (custom mix), $23 a gallon, Home Depot in Hollywood, (323) 461-3303.

Design:Aleks Istanbullu Architects of Santa Monica, (310) 450-8246,


Barbara Thornburg