Merit Award: Clean and Green

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Converted from an apartment building to a single-family residence, this project though deceptively simple in plan offers plenty of rich detail and green design elements.

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Location: Santa Monica, Calif.

Contractor: Shawn Lannen, Lannen Construction, Los Angeles

Designer: Erla Dogg Ingjaldsdottir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson , Minarc, Santa Monica

Architects Erla Ingjaldsdottir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson converted this five-unit apartment building into a single-family residence by remodeling less than 50% of the existing structure. Large windows and doors optimize natural light and provide cross-ventilation for the home, which does not have an air conditioning system. The judges commented that although the house looks simple, it is full of rich detail. “It is simple in plan but comes alive in the elevation,” said one judge.

The open treads and glass railings on the staircase allow light to flow throughout the space. At the base of the structure, the architects used recycled blue glass to create the illusion of a pool. Large sliding doors in the living room connect the interior space to the small atrium courtyard where Ingjaldsdottir reused the wood beams from the existing structure.

They opted not to use tile or carpet in the house, instead selecting a combination of maple and concrete. They specified solar thermal radiant heating under the floors, as well as a solar hot water heater. The bathroom sinks are made of a recycled rubber material, and the kitchen cabinets are covered with a material made from cork and recycled tires.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.