ras-a studio 

Describe the project.

Nestled on a hillside overlooking Abalone Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes is a modernist residence, originally built in 1964 by architect Foster Rhodes Jackson—a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. The project brief was to sensitively bring the home into the 21st century with a complete renovation and addition while preserving its architectural language and showcasing the home’s incredible hillside perch overlooking the Pacific Ocean.     

The original cubist form provides the framework for the project, which consists of strategic interior and exterior interventions. Additional square footage was discretely added without changing the scale of the home. The kitchen was expanded, and a dining area was added by filling in an underutilized rear patio. An existing crawl space was dug out and converted into habitable space, expanding the lower level living quarters. The previously compartmentalized upper level was opened up, maximizing the views of the Pacific.     

Constrained by zoning height limitations, the existing low ceilings of the upper level are punctured with a series of oversized skylight wells, which add volume and natural light throughout—they also act as quasi thermal chimneys, helping to passively cool the home. New deck areas and a pool are folded into the entry sequence, creating a courtyard-like space that integrates into the hillside. Landscaping with native and regionally appropriate plants ties the home together with the surrounding natural context.

Tell us about your business.

We are a boutique design-build studio that believes in good design and getting our hands dirty. With a multidisciplinary team of architects, designers and contractors, we provide complete services—taking a project from conception through construction. 

How did you get your start?

At a small architecture firm in Beverly Hills 20 years ago. Wanting to be closer to the beach, I then went on to work at Dean Nota Architect in Hermosa for about seven years before eventually branching out on my own.

How much of your job is actually solving clients’ problems? 

We look at every project as a problem to solve and come up with a specific solution to that problem. The end product is a holistic result deriving from the site (physical constraints, existing structures, zoning, sunlight, etc.), the client’s program, budget and the context or locale of the project.

Photographed by Siri Berting (TEAM shot) & Joe Fletcher (Project)