When Lizz Wasserman and Isaac Resnikoff built their new home on the hills of Los Angeles, they wanted to consider the true cost of their project, not just to them, but to the planet. Designed and built in collaboration with Lizz’s architect parents, their net-zero home is flooded with natural light, operates on a passive heating and cooling system, and is filled with living spaces designed specifically for their needs.
Built with a strong sense of family and community connection, it’s a home rather than just a house. While the family, just like all of us, have found themselves unable to be out in the world as they usually would this past year, Abbott Hill House has created new rituals and sources of inspiration for them to share.
Can you tell us a bit about Abbott Hill House and the brief behind its design?
My parents designed our house (they are architects) and my husband, Isaac, designed and built a ton of the interior. My parents have a process with clients that really draws out their emotional needs from a space, rather than asking just for visual information. Since Isaac and I are both creatives, we brought a lot of our ideas on materiality, and the other two really important things that we required were affordability and sustainability.
What does sustainability mean to you and how did it influence the build of your home?
There is no other way than sustainably. It comes into Abbott Hill House through the design - we have a “heat chimney” that is basically passive heating and cooling, and our bedrooms are tucked under the deck to stay warm in winter and cooler in summer; the material decisions - we opted for more expensive insulation to help with energy use and used Black Locust (a sustainable hardwood) on our deck; and in the product decisions - like the Tap-master under our sink which saves water, and solar panels.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I used to say “everywhere” but during the past year of not being out in the world, I’ve realised most of my inspiration comes from others: seeing art, reading the paper, visiting new spots, spontaneous learning moments and interacting with the world.
What makes a house feel like a home to you?
The people in it. Our infant daughter died suddenly while we were building this house. Our world stopped, but we were surrounded by love and carried by friends, family and community. Moving into this house without her felt very lonely for a long time, but knowing she had been here during construction is really helpful to us. Our son now has a second sister, and being able to watch them grow up here is something we are so grateful for.
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