La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita
Brian Vanden Brink
La Dolce Vita sits on a quiet street on the edge of a quaint seaside village. The clients sought a unique but traditional house that would feel like a compact cottage when viewed from the street but function like a spacious family home. The house sits on a rise up from the street, providing some separation from the street and situating the house to capture a peak of an ocean view. The large bay window in the second floor master bed room and the second floor deck off the master bed room take advantage of this view. An arched opening announces the front door emphatically but casually. The front entry porch merges with a side porch that opens up to outdoor living space at the side and back of the house. Whimsical but simple details like a small, off-center square window by the front porch and an oval window tight against the side door enliven the simple but well-proportioned form. A steep roof furthers the whimsical feeling and helps give the house a touch of story-book character. Large overhangs shade the first floor windows. A slightly top-heavy character results from the geometric form created by the steep roof and overhangs bearing down on the simple rectangular form below. This highlights sheltering, domestic qualities and helps indicate that this house is meant to be seen as a charming cottage not a grand estate.
Inside, generous amounts of natural light flood the spaces through large windows that wrap around three sides of the living spaces and two sides of the bed rooms. A guest bed room suite occupies one corner of the first floor, a master suite with a sitting area in the view-facing bay window occupies the front of the second floor, and two bed rooms occupy the back of the second floor. A small but open entry hall connects the street side of the house to the stair and open living/dining/kitchen space beyond. A mud room with a whimsical built-in bench seat is just inside the side door and also connects to the living space at the back of the house. The living space is wide open but has simple ceiling soffits and a big bay window by the dining table to subtly define sub-spaces within the larger whole. A fireplace and built-in housing display space and an entertainment system is flanked by windows and doors that open up the interior to a large deck and the yard beyond.
The yard, designed by landscape architect Hawk Design, is enclosed by retaining walls, natural slope lushly planted, an outdoor kitchen built into the grade, and a free-standing garage with a play room above. The garage is a miniature version or the house itself, with a similar roof shape, overhang and windows. It is tucked into the hill-side so the play room has a small deck and steps out to grade at the back. The play room also captures a peak of a water view between neighboring houses.