“After visiting architect Kulapat Yantrasast’s concrete home in Venice, restaurateur Paul Hibler (Superba Food + Bread, Pitfire Pizza) and realtor Tiffany Rochelle were intrigued by the opportunity to build something different on a walkway lined with original beach bungalows and newer homes.
Working with Yantrasast, who recently completed the Marciano Art Foundation on Wilshire Boulevard, the bungalow has since become a family compound that is an experiment in balancing indoors and out with public and private life.
Instead of taking a common approach to a walk street — hiding the home behind a privacy hedge or fence — the architect designed a home that embraces the neighborhood. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows on the transparent first floor, it does not so much expose the family as engage them with their neighbors.
Hibler says the home’s design sensibility was clear: ‘We didn’t want to put up a wall. I wanted something crazy — communal and not highly finished.’
Yantrasast is not a fan of cladding things with expensive materials. ‘There must be a better way to create refinement,” he says. “I like concrete because it has a sense of gravitas. It is a great balance of roughness and refinement. It is refined because of the craftsmanship you put into it.’
Because Hibler is passionate about food and design, Yantrasast designed an overscale kitchen so that multiple people can cook at the same time. It is not a professional restaurant kitchen, but it’s not precious either. “It’s his stage where he receives people,” explains Yantrasast. ‘People like action. That is why the kitchen plays such a big role in the design. Because it is Paul, I think the kitchen plays a bigger role than it does in most houses.’ Two custom islands made of four-by-four pieces of Douglas fir face both front and back. Barstools on either side of each island invite interaction. ‘It’s all about having people in the house,” Hibler says. ‘There’s something about bringing people together.’ ”