Rustic Canyon View House is designed around its leafy Californian vistas

rustic canyon View From Below
Design by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners' principles Jeanne Chen and Bob Dolbinski for their own use, Rustic Canyon View House is nestled in the greenery of Pacific Palisades.
(Image credit: Colins Lozada)

Set on a steeply angled site within the green and rural oasis of the leafy hillsides and canyon between Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades in California, this house was a challenge to design; but one that owners and architects Jeanne Chen and Bob Dolbinski of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners welcomed, when they decided to buy the seemingly unbuildable plot in 2004. 

The team was after a site for their own home when they came across the sloped piece of land in a part of America that is ‘rich in architectural heritage and rimmed by a number of Case Study homes including the iconic Eames house’, they explain. It took them a lengthy ten-year process to get through planning permissions, but now, the new home sits comfortably perched among nature, its sculptural form peeking pleasingly through the trees. 

the house spans

Arranged vertically, the house spans a little under 200 sq m. 

(Image credit: Colins Lozada)

The architects arranged the residence's programme vertically, working with the land's natural incline. The entrance, a studio, and car park sit at the top level; the main living spaces, including kitchen and dining space, as well as a covered porch are placed at mid-level; while the master and guest bedrooms with a shared common space are located on the floor below. Spanning a little under 200 sq m, the house feels open and comfortable, despite its fairly narrow footprint, in a masterful architectural slight of hand, rooted in a clever arrangement of levels and openings. 

Every part of the house maintains a strong connection with its context, either via large glazed parts that open up to wide vistas, or outdoor areas in the form of gardens, the porch or a long deck wrapping around the lowest level. 

Taking into account the environment in more ways that one, the architects employed passive environmental strategies throughout, naturally minimising heating and cooling loads, for example, and bringing together contemporary design and sustainability within a single, coherent and context-sensitive piece of architecture. 

rustic canyon entrance

This Californian home is in constant dialogue with its hilly, leafy surroundings. 

(Image credit: Colins Lozada)

rustic canyon living space

The plot was so steep, it was considered unbuildable, but the architects crafted a design that makes the most of the slope.

(Image credit: Colins Lozada)

rustic canyon porch

A living space looks out to long views of the canyon and opens up to a sheltered outside space.

(Image credit: Colins Lozada)

rustic canyon kitchen

Views out can be enjoyed from every part of the house.

(Image credit: Colins Lozada)

rustic canyon bedroom

The master bedroom is located at the structure's lowest level.

(Image credit:  Colins Lozada)

rustic canyon studio

The entry, a studio (pictured here), and garage are situated at the top level.

(Image credit: Colins Lozada)


For more information visit the website of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).