Sycamore HouseContemporary Kitchen, Los Angeles
Brian Thomas Jones
What Houzz contributors are saying:
First, evaluate. Some species of trees are simply less sensitive, and more resilient to stresses and changes in their environments. Once such tree is the California sycamore (Platanus racemosa), shown here as a mature specimen that has been partially enclosed by new construction. Whether or not a specific tree can be safely used this way is based on a number of factors. Trees suitable for integration into a building need to be evaluated by an expert. A certified arborist can analyze the tree’s existing health, age and current growing conditions to determine how likely the tree is to survive the construction process. An arborist will likely need to remain involved to monitor the tree’s health on a regular basis.See more of this Los Angeles home built around a tree
Steel I-beams frame the sprawling trunk to create a perfect juxtaposition of nature and man-made detail. The tree does what it wants, says Neubert. “Every time I go, the tree is a little different,” he says. California sycamores are admired for their attractive, patchy bark and sweeping habit, and can reach heights of up to 75 feet. Latner lived in the house for about three years before he decided to renovate. He tracked down Neubert and asked him to convert the then-master bedroom into a lounge area and open kitchen. A perpetual entertainer, Latner felt this space deserved to be experienced by guests, but he also wanted a more secluded master suite. “I share the rest of this house with the people I love and spend time with,” he says. “I needed to create a separation between the common area and my personal area.” Neubert felt a little conflicted about revising a home that had turned out so well, but was confident that the love Latner and his family had for the house would lead to another successful renovation.