The house at 708 El Medio Avenue in Pacific Palisades was once a one-story house designed by James H. Caughey for the Case Study House program in 1948. In 1979, architect Eric Owen Moss began remodeling it for his family, bringing a very different Postmodern vision to life in vivid colors and dramatic volumes.
Completed in 1982, the 708 House is an excellent example of Moss’s early work, exhibiting unconventional angles and unexpected juxtapositions with a genuine sense of humor.
It added a second-story volume of 600 square feet atop the garage of the original house, retaining the house’s original shallowly pitched roofline and echoing it in the roofline of the new second story. Moss then went beyond this roofline, adding a taller, pointed wall to its south end that acts as an exaggerated false-front gable mimicking the rooflines of the rest of the neighborhood’s houses. Other exterior details include flying buttresses pointing to a projecting box that contains the front door; the box has three punched square window openings that reveal bright graphic panels when the door is slid into place. The building’s side façade features a horizontal block of dark red tiles below a green aluminum grid that provides a backdrop to the giant blue “0” of the house’s address, 708. Moss’s house, no longer owned by the family, remains an exuberant testament to the lighter side of the Deconstructivist style.