Stack House is a contemporary, recently constructed home nestled into the hillside of Mount Washington. The building was designed by architecture office FreelandBuck and built in 2018 by Dutch developer and interior designer Marieke Ochtman of Urbanite Homes.
Photography by Cody James and Eric Staudenmaier
Since its completion in 2018, Stack House has been a featured home in multiple publications such as Dezeen and Dwell. The building is formed from layered cubes that intersect at varying angles, described as, “a series of seemingly stacked boxes,” by the Los Angeles Times. This unique concept for organizing the areas of a home creates a wealth of outdoor space and light on each of the four levels. The inventive arrangement of interior and exterior spaces forms modern silhouettes against the hill, and the white board and batten-inspired siding encourages the interplay of shadow and light on the home’s façade. Unlike many homes that are built atop steep plots of land, Stack House is set into the hillside and emerges seamlessly from the surrounding nature, emphasizing the concept that the home can exist cooperatively within the natural landscape.
Stack House’s innovative design is paired with a functional and flexible floor plan. The third and fourth levels of the house comprise the main living space, and most rooms and balconies feature unobstructed views of the San Gabriel Mountains.
There are four interconnected rooms on the third level, including a kitchen, den, living room with balcony, and dining room, with an additional powder room tucked between them. The rotating cubes of each room are connected by gently curved hallways that increase square footage and the visual living area, drawing the eye artfully throughout the space. The natural-finish, wide-plank pine flooring throughout the residence adds warmth and brightness to every room.
The sleek kitchen opens into the living room, inviting in additional light from the expansive balcony. Modern, energy-efficient appliances accompany a spacious breakfast bar and pendant lighting. Glass accordion doors extend the living room onto a large, partially-shaded balcony that is as well suited to a relaxing cocktail hour as it is a sunrise yoga session. The curved walls flow into the den and the dining room, each of which can be organized to suit multiple purposes, whether it be an extension of the main living room or an open-plan home office.
A central staircase curves up to the fourth level, connecting the living areas on the third level to a spacious back patio and yard behind the house. There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the fourth level, as well as multiple access points to outdoor spaces. Each full bath features a double vanity and contemporary fittings. Situated at the front of the house, the primary suite is complemented by a private balcony and a walk-in closet.
The primary bathroom invites luxury with herringbone tile and a generous soaking tub. Mimicking the living room balcony one level below, the primary bedroom also includes glass accordion doors to lead out to the balcony and let in the maximum amount of natural light.
On the first level is a two-car garage, and on the second level is an Accessory Dwelling Unit with a private entrance. This ADU has its own full bathroom and kitchenette, providing opportunities for various uses. It could function as a home office, a guest suite, or a rentable space for a tenant.
From the street, the residence has a highly dynamic appearance. Some volumes appear to jut outward at an angle, while others step back and form terraces. A stairway cuts across the front elevation and leads to the home's main entrance on the third level
Stack House was designed by Brooklyn and Los Angeles-based FreelandBuck. David Freeland is a licensed architect in California and New York and has been practicing architecture for over 15 years. He is a faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and received his Masters of Architecture from UCLA. Brennan Buck is currently a senior critic at the Yale School of Architecture and has taught at esteemed institutions such as Pratt Institute, the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Since founding FreelandBuck, the two architects have been named finalists for the 2018 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, and won both the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices Prize in 2019 and the 2017 AIA LA Next LA Award for their project Second House.
The project was developed by Dutch developer, Urbanite Homes. Marieke Ochtman founded Rotterdam-based Urbanite Homes with an eye towards striking, art-led residential and commercial properties. Urbanite Homes is an international company with active projects in the United States and the Netherlands. Ochtman’s business acumen and eye for original architecture blends perfectly with Freeland and Buck’s talents to form Stack House.
Stack House dazzles from every possible perspective, right down to the smaller day-to-day features. Sustainable materials and smart home features are incorporated throughout Stack House, including an EV charger in the garage. The outdoor lighting and landscaping are all recently updated, and each of the bathrooms features designer fixtures from Waterworks.
The residence is located in a peaceful enclave steps from Moon Canyon Park, Heidelberg Park, and in the desirable Mt. Washington Elementary School district.