top of page



Hancock Park House

Leong Leong Architecture

Los Angeles, California, United States

October 2023


Dominic Leong (Partner), Chris Leong (Partner)


Leong Architects Inc. (Executive Architect), Workpoint Engineering (Structural Engineer), Delane Engineering (Civil Engineering), Johnston Vidal Projects (Landscape, Hardscape, Pool), Uhles Construction (Contractor


Esther Kim and Joseph Varet


Naho Kubota


The Kim Varet House is the home of contemporary art gallerists who sought to renovate their 1970’s ranch-style home into a serene indoor/ outdoor suburban sanctuary for living with art. The 6,000 square-foot renovation creates a hybrid typology that serves as a domestic residence for their family of four and as a space for art-minded programming. Historic preservation guidelines mandated that the renovation affect less than fifty-percent of the original structure. The single largest intervention is a monumental, continuous wall that inverts the existing structure’s relationship between inside/outside, old/new, and public/ private. It re-configures the entrance to create a new living space that opens out to exterior courtyards, and separates outdoor rooms for the pool area, kids play zone, and an entertaining area. The entry courtyard of the house transitions to a series of interior spaces separated by a cube shaped media room. The central media room doubles as a family area and a black box theater for video art. A second level was added above the kitchen to create a dedicated playroom washed in natural daylight through a polycarbonate facade. Above, a new roof deck creates vistas across the expanse of the Los Angeles skyline beyond.


Hancock Park is one of Los Angeles’s oldest and most well-preserved neighborhoods, known for its large, elegant homes often embodying the Spanish Revival, English Tudor, and other architectural styles popular during the 1920’s era. The development of Hancock Park as a residential area was largely driven by the growth of Los Angeles in the early 20th century, attracting affluent residents with its grand homes and wide, tree-lined streets. The neighborhood's historic and architectural significance is reflected in the preservation of its character. To the north edge of the site is abutted by a home designed by A. Quincy Jones.

Before its development into a residential neighborhood and public park, the area was part of the Rancho La Brea, a Mexican land grant. In the early 20th century, the discovery of the fossils led to scientific excavations, which have continued to the present day. The Hancock Park development was later planned around the La Brea Tar Pits, which have been preserved as a scientific and educational resource.

Climatically, Los Angeles experiences Mediterranean weather patterns characterized by mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers which necessitates water and energy efficiency measures.

The building site is located at the end of a cul-de-sac and is almost entirely enclosed along four sides with the exception of the driveway. Only 50% of the existing home was renovated to minimize environmental impact through adaptive re-use and adhere to historic preservation guidelines.


A 24Kw Tesla Solar Roof with two Powerwall+ batteries powers the Inverse House with an integrated solar and energy storage system using solar roof tiles. The system allows energy produced by the Solar Roof to power the home, making it a net-zero energy structure.

The Kim Varet House also features extensive use of sustainable materials including: FSC-certified structural lumber, FSC-certified roof deck tiles, Forbo Marmoleum flooring (97% natural raw materials, 70% of which are rapidly renewable, along with a 43% recycled content), Maharam Mode upholstery fabric (80% Post-Consumer Recycled Polyester), and Knauf EcoBatt insulation (30% post-consumer recycled glass). Gas utility service was abandoned and all gas lines were removed from the property in favor of utilizing only electric appliances including a Mitsubishi heat pump climate control system, a Pentair heat pump pool heater, heat pump water heaters, Miele induction cooktop and electric oven, and Nero Fire Design Dimplex zero-emission water vapor fireplaces.

The landscaping is uses a drought tolerant “xeriscape”, Kurapia meadow to replace the former grass yard, a plant-free rock garden with locally sourced boulders, a drought tolerant plant selection including aloes, euphorbia, and ocotillo, and a weather-aware HydroWise drip irrigation system.

bottom of page