Go Behind Closed Doors of L.A.’s Coolest Modern Homes

The annual Dwell on Design Home Tours, both East Side and West Side, allow you to intimately explore some the best modern architecture in Los Angeles.

Photo by Glen Starks Photography Set in a grove of eucalyptus and pine trees, this Glen Oaks Residence by architect Douglas Ewing, FAIA, features views of the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, and the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountains.

How many times have you driven past a fascinating Los Angeles house and said to yourself, “I’d love to see what that place looks like inside”? You’ll have the chance actually enter and browse some of L.A.’s most iconic modern homes in the next few weeks, by attending the 2014 Dwell on Design Homes Tours, happening on June 14 (West Side) and 21 (East Side).

The arresting homes are specially curated by experts from Dwell magazine to reflect the rich diversity of livable, innovative modern architecture and design found throughout the area. The tours are of the self-guided variety, and you’ll also be able to check out the first ever Cadillac hybrid plug-in ELR, which will be on display at several of the homes.

This year’s architects are an award-winning group including David Hertz, FAIA, Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, Michael Ferguson, Escher GuneWardena, and Douglas Ewing, FAIA, just to name a few. And ticket holders get to find out more about the homes from the designers themselves at a ‘Meet the Architects’ gathering on Friday, June 13th, sponsored by TOTO, at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles.

Just to give you a little taste of what's in store, here are a few details on just a few of the fascinating homes included on the tours: 


Silver Triangle House (aka Butterfly House): Nestled in the quiet Silver Triangle neighborhood east of the Venice Canals, this zero net-energy home by AIA architect David Hertz has an inverted roof that naturally captures water that collects, and is used for subsurface irrigation. It features an interior living wall that grows ferns and edible herbs.

The Palms House: This is architect Steven Ehrlich’s own home, which features rustic (including recycled) materials combined with a sleek modern aesthetic. Sunlight is maximized on the narrow lot, yet tempered by solar shading. Concrete flooring helps hold in heat overnight, while expansive, sliding glass doors permit natural ventilation.

Photo by Joshua White Large glass doors pivot open from the living and dining areas to the terraced courtyards of this Mount Washington home for an easygoing indoor-outdoor feeling. Believe it or not, that lap pool in back doubles as an eight foot high retaining wall.


The Murnane Residence: Architect McShane Murnane and his wife Cleo Murnane built their family home in the Moreno Hills in Silver Lake, cantilevering the main living room and creating a makeshift "wind-catcher" over the stairwell to capture and circulate cool air, while pushing hot air up and out. Clean lines, natural light, and early modernist details contribute to a pared down, modern beach house style, 20 miles from the ocean.

Villacasa: This hillside Mt. Washington home by architect Michael Ferguson features a lap pool that doubles as an 8-foot-high retaining wall, freeing up space for two flat courtyards. Also, large glass doors pivot open from the living and dining areas to the terraced courtyards to make a very small hillside parcel feel as large as possible.

These are but a few of  the five houses on the East Side, and five houses on the West Side of Dwell on Design's 2014 tour event. Tickets cost from $85-$95, with a portion of that going to the non-profit organization Architecture for Humanity, which provides disaster and community reconstruction to areas in need. Purchase tickets and find out more about the 2014 home tours at  DwellonDesign.com.  The tours correspond with the annual Dwell on Design show and exhibit, returning to the L.A. Convention Center June 20-22.

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