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Zen aficionado builds LA modern home atop hill on a modest salary

When Tim Tattu, a Zen Buddhist aficionado, hospice nurse and former set decorator, bought an affordable lot in LA’s Silver Lake hills, he wanted to create a home that reflected his personal nonconformism. Working with architect Tom Marble, they designed a home composed of hexagons that lacks right angles, but provides constant views, air flow and surprises.

Tattu purchased the lot during the 2008 recession for just $190,000 (the previous owner had paid $350,000), but the concrete and steel structure was pricey. Tattu took on debt with his bank, credit cards and friends so when the home was completed he moved into the 120-square-foot garage studio and rented out the rest of the home to start paying off his loans.

A year and a half later he moved into the downstairs unit and continues to rent out the upstairs and garage.