With Disappearing Walls, This Santa Monica House Brings the Outside, Inside 

Courtesy Montalba Architects

The unique design feature blurs the line between indoors and out.

Top architecture firms are known for creating structures that others usually enjoy. But, David Montalba, founder of the award-winning Montalba Architects, used his skills to create a dream family home in Santa Monica, California.


Courtesy Montalba Architects

The initial concept was that the weather in Southern California was almost always ideal. So, it was trying to find a way to incorporate as much outdoor living as possible. The result was a three-story property built around a central vertical courtyard that connected all three levels of the house. But more than just adding windows and doors that opened to this green space, the Swiss/American designer came up with a unique way to seamlessly blend the interior and exterior. He made almost all the glass windows into sliding pocket doors that disappear into the walls.

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This one-of-a-kind feature creates an incredible oasis in a somewhat congested neighborhood. 


Courtesy Montalba Architects

“Given the lot’s size and the neighborhood, the biggest challenge was making sure we didn’t overbuild and maintained some degree of privacy with our immediate neighbors,” Montalba told Departures in a statement. “This was achieved by creating a basement level and vertical courtyard in which the house is organized. Los Angeles has a long history of residential courtyard buildings, and that in combination with the privacy it offered helped drive this concept.”


Courtesy Montalba Architects

To highlight the surrounding nature, Montalba used neutral tones inside and materials to enhance the natural light. Many of those materials came from Switzerland as a way to pay homage to his roots. And to ensure the 5,450-square-foot space was indeed an oasis, he added tranquil details like a standout soaking tub within the indoor/outdoor bathroom.


Courtesy Montalba Architects

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The final element he considered to bring this property into epic territory was creating dedicated space for his showcase art collection. Pieces by Brent Wadden, Ed Moses, Frank Gehry, and Marius Borgeaud hang on the walls.