Los Angeles– and New York City–based FreelandBuck have completed construction on Stack House, a distinctive, ground-up, single-family home made up of shifting, room-sized boxes that tumble up a steep mountainside site.

The 2,207-square-foot home is located in L.A.’s bustling Mt. Washington neighborhood and comes with ground-floor parking and a one-bedroom Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on the second level. The ADU has its own distinctive entry and can either be rented out to help pay the mortgage or used as a home office, according to the architects. The secondary unit’s entry is marked by patterned cladding modeled after board-and-batten siding and comes with a modest terrace and storage shed, as well. The arrangement—attached and embedded with the bulk of the building—differs from typical ADU configurations in the city, which tend to separate the unit from the main home or locate it within converted garages. Instead, here the ADU is a stop on the way toward the main home, which is accessed from a front stair that flanks the unit’s large glass entry. 

Aerial view.

Aerial view of the home (Courtesy Eric Staudenmaier Photography)

The third floor is divided into five discrete areas, starting with a deep dining terrace that extends a modest entry room outside the house. Inside, the home features formal dining, living, and kitchen spaces tucked into each corner. The discrete rooms are an attempt, according to David Freeland, founding principal at FreelandBuck, to fight against the ubiquitous nature of great-rooms and open plans in contemporary speculative housing. A bonus of the rounded internal divisions that carve up the main floor rooms is that they provide spaces in which to conceal ventilation chases and a powder room while also bringing soft, diffuse light deep into the home. 

The central stair runs up to a backyard dining patio that opens onto a scrubby hillside. The home’s stairs continue to the fourth level, where three bedrooms and two bathrooms find themselves oriented toward adjacent downslope vistas. On this floor, the master bedroom and master bathroom occupy the front of the house and pucker toward each other to create another window wall-backed terrace that points toward the San Gabriel Mountains to the north.

The entry.

View of the home’s entry vestibule (Courtesy Eric Staudenmaier Photography)

Stack House was developed jointly by the architects and local developer Urbanite Homes in an effort to flex the limits of speculative housing design in Los Angeles away from bloated HGTV-style offerings and back toward unique living configurations and economical formal exuberance. The arrangement gives the designers the flexibility of taking creative freedom with the design of the home while helping to feed a growing market for architect-driven designs in the area. 

The home is currently for sale and will be joined by a second design by FreelandBuck next-door in a few years.

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