This California residence by Cheng Design stands out not only by the innovative use of concrete, but also thanks to the “hybrid” mix of wood and concrete. Unlike other concrete houses where the use of concrete is counter-balanced by large expanses of glass, Cheng creates a fortress-looking front facade. The openings are small and have various shapes and positions, creating an intriguing design. The main entrance itself is hidden behind a wood-clad box that serves most likely as utility room. Concrete is the star material and it is present in various shapes and textures. Its range of use goes from walls and beams to flooring and even furniture. The presence of wood is more discreet, and we can find it lining some of the walls and ceilings. Inside, the house is much less austere than one might expect, thanks to use of bold warm colors such as red, orange and yellow. The interior facade that overlooks the pool and the garden is much more open than the one overlooking the street. Even though the windows remain small on the top floor where the bedrooms are located, the ground floor has large glazed sliding doors that open the living space to the outside.
The main door has a “trompe l’oeil” effect, mimicking the concrete facade with small round windows. The entrance is protected by an awning on black metal structure. Once the door pivots open, we are welcome by the bright colors of the wall in front with its decorative niche.
This colorful wall separates the kitchen corner and it guides the visitor towards the main living and dining area.
The open plan social area is filled with light and connects to the outdoor through the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. The center of this space is occupied by the dining table, that is also the visual focus point. It attracts the eye thanks to the bright colors of the dining chairs and mostly thanks to the extra-large pendant lamp. The internal coral red shade of the lamp is protected on the outside by a metal structure shaped as twigs and branches. This organic motif is repeated in other places in the house.
The kitchen mixes concrete with bright colors such as red and yellow again, plus a touch of apple green for the kitchen chairs. The island is an organic structure in concrete and wood combining the washing function and a table for breakfast and snacking.
The bedrooms compensate the small windows with strategically placed overhead lights. The design is zen, with low platform beds and Asian elements. An arty installation of metal twigs and branches occupies almost one full wall of the room.
The visitors’ toilet has wood-clad walls and ceiling, and a bamboo trunk serves as towel and toilet paper hanger.
The bathroom shows a skilful mix of materials, from concrete and steel to tile and wood. The double washbasin in custom-made in concrete and mosaic.