A television writer and a graphic designer had artfully transformed the interior of their mid-century builder's house in Silverlake but had not succeeded in relating the house to its garden, where the one feature - an old cork oak - sat forlornly amongst the crab grass.

Choosing to add a pool, spa and cabana in the back yard was an opportunity to open the house up to the exterior. We also re-modeled the three existing bathrooms, added a studio space and re-worked the street entry.

The concrete infinity-edge pool and return basin are designed as a skimmer for the oak leaves that fall onto the site year round. Nearby, the cabana nestles under a wing of the main building and houses a double shower, a changing area and a powder room.

The hardscape of flagstones, gravel and washed surfaces of colored concrete is alternately bounded by rough sawn cedar fencing, steel troweled stucco walls and the soft edges of woodland plantings that form an understory to the oak. The colors of the garden are brought into the house in the new spa-like bathrooms. Walls and floors are surfaced in mossy greens, the straw colors of parched California hills and flinty greys.

Garden Design, Sarah Munster
Photography, Steve Gunther

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