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Skinny home + 2 yards in small lot is designer’s live-work (cork) oasis

Landscape designer Molly Sedlacek was looking for an inspiring place to live and work in LA when she stumbled upon a narrow cork-clad home built on the former front garden of the former parking lot next door. She fell for it. Despite the small infill lot, the natural home feels big and soothing inside and has two yards.

The house came to life when designer Michael Tessler bought a sliver of land – technically the neighbor’s front yard – next to a huge cork oak tree in LA’s Highland Park neighborhood. He and architect Daveed Kapoor was inspired to create a house like a tree: a tall, skinny home clad in cork bark.

The home is only 12 feet wide, but the interior blends with the outside thanks to a tri-fold glass door. So, when Molly Sedlacek found the home for sale, she saw it as an ideal canvas for growing gardens. The home is just 860 ft.² but it has an underground office which is perfect for Molly’s live-work needs.

Nature also seems to flow inside with materials that are all sourced from the LA environment. Terrazzo countertops in the kitchen, bathrooms, and garage are made with sediment from the Los Angeles River. Beams, flooring and outdoor furniture use wood from Angel City Lumber, a company that saves fallen trees in the neighborhood. All the walls are paint-free, natural clay and lime plasters and even wet areas use tadelakt, the ancient Moroccan waterproofing technique.

The homes sit at a corner with a busy street so Sedlacek landscaped that side with boulders as a sound barrier, which are popular seating for the local bus stop. Her home is sparsely decorated with natural colors and only one piece of art since she sees the natural finishes as its own type of art.

Her most prized objects are her collection of trees that are now growing on the side patio, many of which she has brought along with her from house to house over the years. “These are my objects,” she says of the trees, though she admits her narrow home keeps her inside stuff at a minimum. “I think we fit into where we’re put. And I fit into this tiny box.”