Assembledge+ founder David Thompson builds his dream family home within the secluded, lush surrounds of Los Angeles’s Laurel Canyon.
By Lauren Mang
Photographed by Matthew Millman
In a place where the weather is near-perfect 365 days per year, the great outdoors can be as much a part of a home’s living space as a dining room or kitchen.
For David Thompson, Founder and Principal at Los Angeles-based architecture firm Assembledge+, that connection to the outdoors was a critical design element when he and his family embarked on building a new home in Southern California. “We wanted more land for the kids,” he says. “More land than space, really. We were looking for a design that had modern sensibilities that would continue to evolve the traditions of Southern California modernism—and one that would connect us to our natural surroundings and take advantage of the climate.”
A secluded lot tucked within the foothills of Laurel Canyon became the canvas for Thompson’s 4,900-square-foot, four-bedroom modern masterpiece, featuring simple and unaffected materials such as Western red cedar, charcoal-painted cement board, and, of course, glass. Lots of it. “In all of our residential projects, we look beyond the confines of the house to the site’s perimeter to pull the living experience outward,” Thompson says. “Here, that’s manifested in openness. Glass creates transparency.” The single-story home’s three wings are all connected via glass hallways. In the dining room and living room, glass walls slide and disappear, creating a single seamless space with the courtyard and backyard.
The home’s interiors, designed by Susan Mitnick Design Studio, emphasize warmth with an organic and tactile aesthetic. “It’s beyond just a photograph,” Thompson says of the space’s overall feel. “It’s a living, breathing animal that should have warmth and life. When people visit, we want them to feel that way and we want to feel that way living in it.” With the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson and his family have been doing plenty of living in their new home, including creating a large, makeshift screen from a sheet to watch a movie outdoors in the courtyard among the olive trees. Yet when pressed to choose a favorite room, it wasn’t an easy task. “I love so many moments in this house,” he says. “All the spaces are unique but they’re part of a cohesive whole.”