Custom Home less than 3,000 s.f.


Michael Lee Architects
Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Project name: Manhattan Ave. Residence
Project location: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Square footage (finished): 2,500 s.f.

The exterior of the home has been designed with a series of overlapping and intersecting planes of integrally colored stucco and African mahogany. The layers have been carefully manipulated to break down the surface and volume of what would otherwise be a box. In the interior, sliding translucent panels are used to open one room up to the other, and large laminated glass windows provide abundant light and privacy. A staircase with a two-story, mitered corner window connects all levels and provides a dramatic, four-level vista. On the top floor, the kitchen, dining and living rooms overlap, and share space in a way that makes each of the areas feel generous. The doors to the deck open from the inside corner to allow the same sharing of space between the indoors and outdoors.

This 2,500 sq. ft. single-family residence occupies an extremely small 30-ft. by 45-ft. beach lot on a busy corner, with ocean views to the west. The main design task was to provide enough square footage on the tiny lot to make the house livable, while ending up with a distinctive architectural structure. The solution was to add a fourth-level basement that allowed not only extra square footage and articulation in the building’s facades, but also some flexibility in how the floor plan might be used. The basement level has been designed as a large media room but it could also be two separate bedrooms.

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