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Structure + Design

Featured in Structure + Design “Great architecture does more than just work–it transcends itself, its occupants, and its environment.” – Dean Larkin


Described as the quintessential Los Angeles architect, Dean Larkin, AIA, grew up appreciating the natural beauty of his southern California surroundings. It is this enduring admiration that continues to influence every project he designs at his eponymous firm. Established in 1999, Dean Larkin Design maximizes the intrinsic potential of a setting while meeting each client’s specific lifestyle, business, or institutional needs.

With no room for predictable plans, Dean transcends the ordinary in his portfolio of high-end residential, commercial, and luxury destination projects that are an expressive reflection of both the people who inhabit them and the natural landscape. An innovative balance between shadow and light, movement and stillness, and form and function all evoke the distinctive climate, attitude, and personality of each project while also bridging the interior with the exterior to compellingly celebrate the splendor of the great outdoors.

“Great architecture does more than just work – it transcends itself, its occupants, and its environment.” – Dean Larkin

The dramatic knife-edge pool, illuminated with color-changing LED lights, is undoubtedly one of the most striking, wow factors, as it hugs every curve of the home. It is virtually a kinetic work of art connecting earth and sky and the interior with the exterior. Once can quite literally step from the living area through a sliding wall of glass and into the water.

Perched in the exclusive Bird Streets neighborhood of the Hollywood Hills, the 6,000-square-foot Bluejay residence was completely re-imagined to maximize the site’s sweeping Los Angeles views while reflecting the homeowner’s trendsetting lifestyle. The open-plan great room includes a living area and a long wraparound bar that is made for communal seating and entertaining. Behind the bar, a vertical stainless steel wine refrigerator extends all the way to the ceiling, thus providing a seamless way to solve for the lack of a wine room in the home. The LED lighting underneath the countertops echoes the mood of the pool yet again uniting the indoor and outdoor spaces.

The master suite was relocated to the main level to integrate more fully into the entertainment complex of the home, likewise taking full advantage of the pool. A covered seating lounge with a custom-designed outdoor sofa bed externs the sleeping area outside, where the continuation of the bedroom’s stained walnut ceilings and floors also blurs the lines between the inside and the outside.

While the property sits directly on the street, a walled-in entry sequence creates a sense of drama and privacy while setting the tone for the rest of the space. The limestone pathway, lit from underneath, appears to be floating as it entrancingly guides the way to the front door.

Also located in the Bird Streets, the Swallow residence practically takes flight with soaring roof lines and enlightening glass walls. Designed for a client in the fashion industry who wanted the home to convey a strong sense of style and personality, the 8,000-square-foot contemporary stunner was built in an L-shape around the oasis of the front yard and its front-facing views. The pool seamlessly connects with the living room, directly engaging with the area before cascading down towards the street level.

Embracing a midcentury modern ease while also transcending it, the home oozes with a timeless sense of old and new. The stone walls bring the outside in while acting as monumental relics as they interact with the sleekly streamlined undercurrent of the light-filled rooms.

At first glance, this light-filled haven perhaps would never be assumed to be the master bathroom. Truly a sanctuary, the space is nothing short of a Zen experience – from the disappearing glass walls, to the sunken tub that looks out onto the water feature and gardens, and the artfully floating vanity. The repetition of the stone walls reinforces a grounded sense of timelessness that is at once fresh and modern yet evocative of a storied European aesthetic.

To bring the Macapa residence into the 21st century and capitalize on its jaw-dropping 270-degree views, a complete overhaul was in order. Nicknamed “the flying wing” by the original architect Harry Gesner, the dated structure was liberated from its heavy, windowless design, rising like a phoenix from the ashes to have one of the more iconic silhouettes in the Hollywood Hills. Both the master suite on the ground floor and the second-floor living area and sizable entertaining deck showcase a whole new level of transparency, enticingly encompassing the panoramic vista that extends from the famous Hollywood sign to downtown Los Angeles to the ocean beyond. Even the color palette of the property celebrates its natural surroundings; the white cedar and earthy tone-on-tone hues reflect the native bedrock and dirt upon which the home is built.

The transformation began with the very entrance to the 4,000-square-foot home, where a water feature on the stone wall and linear rows of grass in the pavement create something of a peaceful, Zen-like refuge. Because the home features a flipped floor plan, with the main living and entertaining spaces on the second floor, a front staircase was installed with LED risers to suder the way upstairs.

The master bathroom boasts one of the most incredible views around, where the freestanding tub is surrounded by LaCantina bi-hold doors that nearly disappear, blurring the line between inside and outside. Yet they are also configured to become opaque for privacy, as desired. The house previously had no yard, so a new green space was created through a series of retaining walls.

As originally published in Structure + Design 

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