Upstairs home, downstairs studios
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In Venice, artists’ enlightened home-studio

A pool? Nope, just the glass floor at the Venice home of artist Nancy Evans and woodworker Tucker Strasser. The couple wanted to live closer to where they work, so they built a second-floor residence above their studios. Building codes severely limited the size of the second floor so, to maximize space, the couple put an outdoor living room in the center. Here, Strasser cleans the glass, which delivers light to the work space below. (Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times)
Strasser and his cat, Brickette, cross the upstairs courtyard patio, as seen from the first floor. (Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times)
The central courtyard brings natural light into the two halves of the upstairs addition: a gallery space on one side, the couple’s living space on the other. Because building codes called for no windows on the sides of the structure, the design includes clerestory windows along the ceiling, providing even more light and air. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
The couple’s open kitchen and dining area faces the patio. Behind the kitchen lies the bedroom suite, with its concrete bath, steam room and balcony. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
The gallery space on the second floor sits at the front of the building. The sand-topped table in the foreground is Strasser’s design. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Another view of Strasser’s table, backed by one of Evans’ paintings. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Evans and Strasser debated about the front staircase. Evans wanted it enclosed, so they could move between upper and lower floors in privacy. Strasser wanted it open to the street, a psychological reminder of the separation between work and home. In the end, both agreed the finished design was the right choice. To see how another couple updated a tired old house off Mulholland Drive or to read columnist Chris Erskine’s sleepover at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, where hundreds of people will be making their home at the mall, look online at or check out the Home section in the Thursday print edition of The Times. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)