A Home of One’s Own
An open-air mansion in Bel-Air fuses Italian architecture with a global design style
“There are familial memories that get imbued into the architecture, and especially into the interior design, that make it feel personal.”
There’s a vast difference between a house and a home. A house is merely a physical space—a collection of walls and rooms. A home is a place packed with the memories and stories that turn a physical space into something more meaningful.
For architect Scott Sottile, partner at Ferguson & Shamamian in New York City, transforming a house into a home has been a particularly rewarding experience.
A recent project stands out. One of Sottile’s client families wanted to turn their extensive travel experiences into a blueprint for a new home in Bel Air, Los Angeles. Trips to the picturesque Italian region of Tuscany inspired both the house’s architectural style and its function, including a sense of balance and serenity, and a love of shared experiences with family and friends.
The Tuscan style is in fact already an important component of Los Angeles architecture due to the warm climate shared by the two regions. Sottile’s main challenge with this project was staying faithful to an established building style while creating a distinct and personal home.
He opted for a highly considered architecture, in which specific features exist to give a sense of purpose and meaning to the whole.
“[There’s] an intellectual rigour in the planning of the building itself that begins to manifest in three dimensions. Those dimensions create a kind of harmony of proportions in the way the rooms fit together,” he says.
The home is built upon a mathematical grid, with a central axis that flows from the entry courtyard to the living room, setting up openings and space from the covered exterior corridor (loggia) out back into the rear lawn. Spaces flow from one room to the next (and from one view to the next), with courtyards, walkways, and open-air terraces blurring the line between indoors and out.
“The house is created to reflect the way the family moves about their day and the way they entertain. There are many connections, but also many private spaces, so all the dynamics can play out with places to be together and places to be apart,” Sottile says.