Sparrow House by Samantha Mink
The Sparrow House is a contemporary home designed by Samantha Mink in Culver City in California. It is located in a unique street, but that’s not the only thing that is unique about this house. It’s cuboid exterior design is sure to catch the glance of every passerby. With a little over 9,000 square feet of interior space, this is quite a comfortable house to live in.
The modest lot size and unusual configuration, along with financial budgets, set the constraints for the scope of the project. Located on a unique street, the house came with all the great potential of ‘a box,’ mundane and ready for transformation into a home for me and my dog, Winston.
While the footprint and square footage had to remain the same due to planning restrictions, all doors were reconfigured, including moving the main entry door off the street, introducing a more indirect approach through a new garden. The windows were recomposed to control and focus the admittance of light, by standardizing and shrinking all apertures, while slicing open the roof for new skylights. These simple moves create a clear contrast between the more articulated moments of light and the broad, sweeping light pouring in from above.
All interior walls were removed to open the space, allowing for new exposed wood beams and columns and ‘thickened partitions’ of functional wood cabinetry. The assemblage of the millwork was made such that it could be constructed by myself and on site with standard lumber and a chop saw.
The exterior was clad with dark, wood boards whose black and brown textural depth transmute throughout the day and in different light conditions. The exterior lattice, with newly planted bougainvillea, recaptures some of the initial spirit of the house, which was completely covered in vines upon purchase. The result is a sometimes stern, but nuanced exterior, with an almost unexpectedly warm, bright, and comfortable interior. The house is small and simple, without room for stylistic or haughty gestures, but with just enough room for living.