In the early months of 2001, architect Christopher Payne of Los Angeles-based FIN Architecture purchased a hillside parcel along a steep street above Sunset Boulevard in L.A.’s free-spirited Silver Lake neighborhood. For the compact .17-acre site, the architect conceived and built a 3,000-square-foot multistory contemporary residence capped by a dynamic butterfly roof that appears to float above triangular shards of clerestory windows.
Designed as his personal residence and set atop a two-car garage, there are cinematic, head-on views of the downtown skyline thanks to walls of glass that slide open to balconies. Highlights include a modern mix of cork and polished concrete floors, an octagonal library tower, and perforated metal balcony railings with circular cutouts that mimic the penny tiles that adorn the bathrooms and the ceiling of the terrace outside the top-floor living room. Elsewhere are a small study, a dining room, and a terrazzo-floored kitchen with a built-in desk space and an island snack bar.
There are three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in the main residence, including two guest rooms that share a Jack-and-Jill bath. The voluminous primary suite, situated at the rear for maximum privacy, offers a spacious walk-in closet and a bathroom with a sunken shower and Japanese soaking tub.
The uplifted rooflines are even more dramatic at the back of the L-shaped house, which wraps around a small, sunny, and freshly sodded yard. A row of hedging divides the main house from a detached and fully self-contained loft-like one-bedroom, one-bath live-work space with vaulted plywood ceilings, a full kitchen, and a private patio.
Tax records show Payne sold the property in 2005 for about $1.2 million to powerhouse L.A. real estate agent Matthew Altman, who turned a tidy profit when he unloaded the place about 2.5 years later for almost $1.6 million. The buyer was not so fortunate when they sold at a small loss to the current owners in 2014 for just over $1.5 million.
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