Home Tours Q&A: Dorothy Measer, Assoc. AIA,
of dk designhouse

Important Information:

When: May 19, 2013 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Where: Venice Beach, CA
Click here for full event information

Purchase tickets at: www.aialosangeles.org/content/tours 

Venice is changing, or has Venice changed? AIA Los Angeles recently touched base with our spring 2013 Home Tours architects to ask them these very questions. Venice Beach was known as a bohemian mecca for surfers, artists and locals alike, these last few years has shown a great deal of growth, some call gentrification, from the Canals to the boardwalk. What has that done to the spirit of Venice? Who is coming to live in Venice along with the change...

Dorothy Measer, Assoc. AIA, Principal of dk designhouse, answers questions on the ever changing neighborhood that is Venice Beach, how Venice's culture has influenced her design and what her favorite feature of the home! Read on to find out more.

AIA|LA: Can you describe, in your perspective, how Venice has changed from a bohemian cult neighborhood of Los Angeles to the present day?

Dorothy Measer (DM): There aren’t many places in Los Angeles where threads of the past are woven through the current culture as distinctively as they are in Venice.  The canals and the boardwalk are still alive and well.  The memory of Abbot Kinney’s utopian urban planning still influences the way we move, travel, congregate, and join together as a community.  Most significantly, the dreaming that birthed Venice still breathes life and a sense of vibrancy, newness, and experimentation into its people and culture.  It’s that type of dreaming, along with a healthy dose of risk-taking, that drives a lot of the creative energy coming out of Venice today.  Today’s Venice is a laboratory for modern design and boundary-pushing experimentation across many creative endeavors.  

How has Venice's culture influenced your design?

DM: My family lived in a small cottage on this site for years before building our current home.  During those years, we developed a way of life that included a lot of spontaneous contact with friends and neighbors, especially those walking or biking by.  This led us to very consciously design our home to allow such interactions to continue to happen.  For instance, we pulled the front fence in from the sidewalk and hung a bench on it to allow for quick visits as friends walk by (the bench even has a bowl built into it for sharing produce from our garden).  In addition, the large windows allow us to see out and neighbors and passersby to see in.  On weekends and sunny days, there’s so much activity on the sidewalk and street that —all we have to do is open the window-doors to let the community in.

What is your favorite feature of the project?

DM: I firmly believe that the built environment greatly affects our quality of life.  We built this house as a family home, specifically gearing it toward the way we lived and the way we wanted to live in the future.  The goal was to design within a format that both the adults and kids would love and be able to play in.  In addition to removing many interior barriers—the entire bottom floor is one big room—we also situated the house at a 5 degree angle to create multiple differentiated spaces outside.  

The result is my favorite part: the ability to create multiple areas inside and outside.   Hybrid inside/outside spaces transform into independent and unique play spaces for individual family members or for the family unit as a whole.  Open one door, and there’s a pool.  Open another, there’s a vegetable garden, and yet another leads to an outdoor dining area.  Slide open the living room window-wall and you’ve got an indoor/outdoor area full of grass and sofas.  Balconies and a roof deck bring the outdoors to upper-level spaces.  It’s an average-sized Venice lot, but we’ve been able to create unique, independent areas that personalize the space for the way that we want to play and live.

Join us Sunday, May 19, 2013 at the Spring 2013 AIA|LA Home Tour.

About dk designhouse
Dorothy Kersman Measer, the principal of DK DESIGNHOUSE, was born and raised in Western Michigan. She studied glass sculpture as an undergraduate at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and earned a Master's Degree in Architecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC).

Her architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture work has been featured in several publications, including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

She lives in Venice Beach with her husband and two kids. 

Last updated: 30-Apr-2013 03:38 PM
Share Share