Globetrotting with The Keybunch:The minimalist urban home of Sharma and Jeevanjee

Photograph Courtesy: Curbed LA
Today I bring you a home quite different from the ones we usually feature on this space. This home caught my fancy because the architect couple to whom it belongs, have successfully addressed the need for outdoor living space in a dense LA urban environment through a courtyard which serves as an entry court and formal dining room. Not all of us are lucky to have a spacious living area, and this home is a wonderful example of putting limited space to great use.

Featured in several design magazines, and quite the talk of the architectural world, t
his home boasts of a minimalist design that adds to the charm and reinforces the functionality/ affordability of their style.

Photograph Courtesy: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
The marble-topped dining table in the picture above is designed by Ali

Husband-wife duo Ali Jeevanjee and Poonam Sharma of LOC Architects were faced with several challenges when they bought two second-story apartments in Los Angeles’ Chinatown for their home-office space. The units were 600-square foot one-bedroom apartments and a common ground floor area (cost: $600,000 plus $200,000 in construction) with low ceilings; they were dark and cramped and had too many walls.In addition, the couple had to resist from making constructional changes to the exterior that would have spoilt the historic charm of the street.

The couple's first priority was to create an outdoor dining area, because they both loved to eat outdoors, and their previous home in another city had a 10-person dining table on the patio. They wanted to re-create that somehow.So they carved out a 17-by-11-foot opening in the roof to create a courtyard at the center, managing an outdoorsy, open air feel to their dining area, reminiscent of the courtyard homes in Asia, where the couple has their roots.

The glass doors where the living room meets the courtyard open in
their entirety to both cool the apartment interior and provide a
continuous outdoor experience.

With the dining area decided, the entire plan of the house just fell into place. The couple raised the ceiling, and Ali's signature theme (in most of his projects), transparency and connectivity solved the problem of the dark rooms. He installed windows in all the rooms opening out onto the courtyard, including the office space and the bedrooms so that natural light from the courtyard was fully taken advantage of, making the place cooler and brighter.

Further, the apartment is designed to stay cool without the use of air conditioning.For cross ventilation especially during summer, the couple installed an open-air gate at the bottom of the stairwell leading to the street. Even in the hottest months, the gate creates a current of air funneling from Chung King Road to the courtyard and through clerestory windows into the living area. The new courtyard delivers natural light to adjacent rooms, including the master bedroom, a baby’s room (for their little daughter Noor) and a home office. Pivoting glass Arcadia doors connect the open living area and kitchen to the outdoor space. Says Sharma, "I would have to say that while being very minimal and modern, the house is very South Asian in its spatial organization. The entire apartment is organized around a central exterior courtyard, something which I truly appreciated while growing up in India."

The kitchen is designed for maximum functionality while
maintaining total openness towards the living room.

The master bedroom is designed to take full advantage of
the courtyard in terms of light, air and experience

The rear balcony provides additional garden space as well
as spectacular views of the downtown skyline.

Photograph Courtesy: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
The master bath takes maximum advantage
of the courtyard to provide an indoor outdoor bathing space.

Photograph Courtesy: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
Ali and Poonam at their office space, which is
another room that opens out into the courtyard

For the interiors, the couple used a lot of plywood and Ikea along with their own designs to create a unique style while managing to keep things functional and minimal at the same time.. Most of the furnishings and fixtures are either Ikea or custom-designed.

Photograph Courtesy: Curbed LA

Says Poonam, "We are both interested in plywood mainly because it is a cheap material that is not usually used as a finish material. We are interested in finding ways to make inexpensive, ordinary materials look beautiful. We used Ikea cabinets and closets which are very simple, white, different ways, another way of 'teasing out' the beauty from the ordinary."
Photograph Courtesy: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
Above: A functional book space made of plywood that runs
along the wall in the living room. The top of this book case offers
convenient seating space.

Below: Plywood walls and floors with the silver of the
steel window frames and other embellishments create
a nice contrast.

Here are some before and after pics to show you what a wonderful job they have done with their place.



This house has been featured here and here. We are looking to feature more Indian and Asian homes across the globe.

There's a cool giveaway coming up on The Keybunch. Keep checking in:)

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