ISSUE 7  |  Drought Week

Architect Visit: At Home with Bruce Bolander in a Malibu Canyon

February 18, 2015 11:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

In a drought-prone climate that gets an average of 22 inches of rain a year (50 percent less than the average US city), LA-based architect Bruce Bolander decided to experiment with color. Outdoors and in.

Bolander designed a house for his family in a Malibu canyon, using the natural landscape as a backdrop to intensify the colors in the garden and on the facade:

Photography by Elon Schoenholz via Bruce Bolander.

Above: Clad in corrugated steel, the house reflects the colors of the canyon.

Above: A poured concrete terrace overlooks the canyon.

Above: A trees acts as a windbreak at the edge of the garden.

Above: Indoors, Bolander used paints with a low-sheen finish. The look is similar to a flat finish but easier to clean.

Above: Varieties of aloe, a low-water plant that thrives in hot, sunny garden beds, frame the view. In the foreground are the orange spikes of Aloe aborenscens, nicknamed Torch Aloe (a plant in a 4-inch pot is $8.95 from Annie’s Annuals). 

In addition to being a hardy evergreen plant that deer hate and hummingbirds love, Torch Aloe is widely used for medicinal purposes (its leaves secrete a substance useful to relieve burns and inflammation). Learn more about it in Aloe: The Plant of Immortality.

Above: Concrete pavers set in a bed of river rocks create a permeable walkway to capture and filter rainwater. A bright orange door echoes the color of the flower stalks alongside the path. 

Orange paint can be difficult to get right. We’ve done the legwork on orange front doors. See 8 Best Orange Paints for a Front Door.

Above: A deck of concrete pavers, a low-cost option that complements many styles of architecture. If you’re considering concrete pavers, see Hardscaping 101: Concrete Pavers, the Pros and Cons.

Above: With both shaded and sunny outdoor spaces, the garden is a destination at all times of day.

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