The Eel’s Nest is a small modern house in Los Angeles, California built on a steep and tiny lot of 15′ by 52′ (about 4.6 m by 15.8 m). It’s not uncommon to find rowhouses built on similarly-sized lots in some North American cities, but lots that small are extremely rare in Los Angeles. The name “Eel’s Nest” comes from the term used in Japan to describe very narrow building lots.
As the property is located in a neighborhood that is starting to densify with townhouses and small apartment buildings, architect Simon Storey of Anonymous Architects applied to the city for planning permission to build an extra story in height. With permission granted, the architect designed a house that stretches vertically and from lot line to lot line, achieving the maximum possible floor area. It has 960 ft2 (89.2 m2) of space divided over two floors, plus a garage tucked below. The lack of side setbacks did necessitate the use of a fire-rated exterior finish, for which Storey chose cement plaster.
The lack of setbacks also meant that there could be no windows in the sidewalls, and so Storey designed the house to take maximum advantage of the available daylight. The open living area is on the first level above the garage with the kitchen at the back of the house. However the kitchen is placed against a sidewall so as to leave room for a large patio door and not block any light. The patio door leads to a small terraced backyard. The stairs are at the front of the house, and the architect left them open to the living room. The stair risers were also left open to allow as much natural lighting of the stairwell as possible.
Upstairs there are two good-sized bedrooms and a spacious bathroom. One more flight of stairs leads up to a large rooftop deck with views of the L.A. skyline and the San Gabriel Mountains.
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