House Renovation La Jolla


The renovation and modernization of an existing six-bedroom Spanish Colonial spec house.


In progress.


La Jolla is an affluent, seaside community, perched atop a hill in the city of San Diego, California. I was eager to take this project on, as La Jolla has personal significance to me: my parents found our home their in 1978, after leaving England and Iran.

We started brainstorming for this project by thinking about the specific location and terrain of La Jolla, as well as the history of spec houses emerging in the 1960s and 1970s. Another interesting detail to us was that, historically, the Indigenous people of the area, the Kumeyaay, called this region ‘mat kulaaxuuy,’ which translates to ‘land of holes.’ This refers to the sea-level caves located on the North-facing bluffs, which are visible from the La Jolla shores. The area is also known as ‘Jewel City,’ or ‘La Joya.’

In thinking about our solution for this project, we wanted to apply the principles of ‘de-speculating,’ and embed the house into the ‘land of holes.’ To connect the house with the landscape, we carved out a large zone which would become a heated, outdoor living room between the garden and interior of the house. We set out to modernize the layout of the house by reorganizing the circulation around the kitchen, dining and family rooms. We also added new trimming and finishes to undo the hollowness of a large house that expanded in bits and pieces over the years.