Dwell House Tour #3: Transformation of East Los Angeles Hilltop Home and Garden

July 21, 2011 by

The remains of the old cement driveway take on new life as pavers. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton

This is the third in a series of five home and garden tours in the Silverlake and Echo Park neighborhoods that I experienced as part of Dwell on Design’s self-guided tour of East Side Los Angeles residences. Come along with me…

Giving new life to the property’s existing driveway, the landscape architect owner of this residence tore up the original driveway then repurposed the remaining cement as pavers and for backfill behind retaining walls in the new backyard.

Redcliff’s handcrafted motifs unify the residence’s various facades. Photo: Dex Studio.

The property before the renovation. Photo: Dex Studio.

The 2800 square-foot residence in the Silver lake neighborhood of Los Angeles sits up on a hilltop commanding panoramic views of the city around it.

An outdoor living room serves as the entry to the house. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

A framed opening in the front of property fence peeks out at the neighbor’s orange tree. Photo: Dex Studio.

The home’s renovation included reorienting the first floor, adding a second floor, and altering the facade to include a custom cedar redwood screen–a design motif that is also echoed in the interior millwork.

Custom exterior cedar redwood screens. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

A separate garage/studio stands at the property’s entrance, visually tied in to the rest of the residence by the consistency of the exterior’s handcrafted textures. Even the handrails on the steps leading to the main house continue the redwood screen motif, this time with a metal built-in water-feature.

The pond is a watering hole for the neighborhood racoons. Phot: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

For the pond at the front of the house, the city provided the homeowner with free mosquito fish–and even came to place the fish in the water!

The homeowner built these steps to reach his upper veggie garden unwittingly providing access to the raccoons! Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

The raccoons, the owner told me, come to bathe in the pond, feast on the fish, then climb the steps in the back of the house where they finish off their meal with fresh vegetables from the garden.

A set of chaises on the side of the house provide another place to repose. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

For such a modestly sized home, there were five outdoor rooms, each offering their own distinctive ambiance. Up a set of steps, a gravel area with two chaises faced the water feature in close enough proximity to benefit from the water’s calming effects. Adjacent to the downstairs garage/studio, one could take it easy in a butterfly chair while listening to the sound of water flowing into the pond just above.

Outside the garage/studio. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

Trex composite decking beneath the backyard’s dining area just off the kitchen. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

Framed by glass and large doors, there are few boundaries between the home’s exterior and interior spaces.

The interior living room is exposed all around by floor to ceiling glass. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

Even an interior stairwell had a window framing views of the lush garden. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton.


  1. victoria lyon said:

    When can I move in?

    — July 22, 2011 @ 08:10

  2. Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said:

    I love the clean lines, earthy elements and all those container and raised beds <|;-)

    — July 22, 2011 @ 11:55

  3. Suzy said:

    I love all the unique gardens around this house, the Agave Plant looks amazing amongst the lime green out the interior stairwell window framing view. of the lush garden.

    — July 23, 2011 @ 00:20

  4. Mary Cannella Hartman said:

    wonderful transformation – wow – John Shields is a mastermind of the green and sensible lifestyle! Great job, John!
    proud of your efforts!

    — October 3, 2011 @ 20:06

  5. Guided Instagram Tour of the Global Urban Garden - Urban Gardens Pingback said:

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  6. Residential House Tour #4: Los Angeles Hillside Home Overlooking Reservoir - Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] is the fourth in a series of five home and garden tours in the Silverlake and Echo Park neighborhoods that I visited as part of Dwell on Design’s […]

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