Mr. Belvedere

La Jolla — 2003

Shelter from the elements and outside dangers, while providing a warm, accommodating interior - this concept is at the heart of our residential project.

The solution-solid, sometimes intimidating, yet inviting – is a cluster of protective forms partially encircling a garden. The design juxtaposes concrete, mahogany and redwood, glass, and steel to investigate the concepts of cold/warm, ancient/modern, masculine/feminine, and private/communal to reinforce the initial concept.

Additional Information:


Design a modern house for my family - my computer industry executive husband, our young son, myself, and before move-in - a newborn daughter.


The narrow 50 x 110 foot site is located in a neighborhood of traditional and historic homes near Wind-n-Sea Beach in La Jolla.


The design uses 9” thick cast-in-place concrete walls to express fortification from the street while embedded steel columns projecting from the top of the concrete walls allows maximum windows hinting of an inviting interior. As this is a house for my own family, I was especially focused on an environment that is very solid, even overprotective, yet intriguing and livable. The house itself focuses on a private garden and ancient fig tree, with only a glimpse of the house’s inner treasures available from an open front door.

Emphasis is on the cast-in-place concrete as a symbolic replacement for centuries old thick stonewalls. Although unintentional, the pattern of steel columns/windows at the upper level in effect recreates a castle’s battlement - with steel columns as merlons and mahogany windows as crenels (boiling oil available in the kitchen).

The 2,200 sf basement was developed out of a need to keep the “small-house-single-car-garage” feel that is typical to the neighborhood. Up to 5 cars enter a single 7’ x 10’ door. Local zoning laws seem to encourage this practice, as the underground areas do not contribute to 

the FAR.

Project Data: Site Area 5,500 sq. ft.

Building Area

Main House 3,240 sq. ft.

Basement, Garage 1,700 sq. ft.

Laundry, Exercise Room 500 sq. ft.

Location 359 Belvedere Street, La Jolla California
Status Completed
Date 2003


Architect DuCharme Architecture
Structural Engineer SDSE Structural Engineers
Contractor David Taylor Development
Landscape Architect TCLA Studio


  • San Diego International Chapter American Concrete Institute Single Residence Building Award
  • American Institute of Architects San Diego Citation Award 2004


  • San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles
  • Ranch and Coast
  • Fine Homebuilding
  • Dream Kitchens
  • Great Kitchen and Bath Ideas
  • Better Homes and Gardens Kitchens and Bath Ideas
  • Better Homes and Gardens Kitchens and Bath Ideas
  • Elle Decor Magazine