Trees are often the victim of building construction, so we were excited whenJeremy Levine shared his design for a Eagle Rock renovation and addition — built around three existing trees — in Los Angeles with us. The project included renovating the current home while adding 400 square feet to the existing house. Jeremy’s design for addition not only preserved the existing trees on the site, it integrated them into the design of the home by creating a courtyard to help the owners appreciate the trees’ beauty. Additionally, the home features everything from passive daylighting and evaporative cooling to keep the interior comfortable and solar panels and a green roof to minimize the house’s environmental impact.

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The home has an abundance of green elements, both in materials and integrated features for its residents. The home was built of re-claimed lumber and recycled fly ash concrete and was finished with low-VOC paint. Solar panels provide energy for the home while a green roof increase the literal green-ness of the home. To make the home comfortable, an evaporative cooling fountain and mobile sun screens provide relief during hot summer months. For cooler breezes and dropping tempearatures characteristic of winters in the desert, the home is equipped with a thermal chimney and rock wall.

We also love the xeriscaping we see in the courtyard, but is that a lawn we see?!? In Los Angeles? As a southern California native, I can safely say that lawns are not a smart use of water and I hope the owners are thinking of replacing it with low-growing plants that require much less water. On the up side, the landscaping, which includes the trees, are fed through a greywater recycling system and stormwater collection system.

+ Jeremy Levine Design