Home Tour: A Modern Family's Custom Hillside Home
This home tour, featuring both unique, personalized interiors and exteriors, is one of those spaces that feels so wholly original and thoughtful that it could only be the home of two distinct design professionals. Cleo and McShane Murnane, co-founders of the Los Angeles-based Project M+, a collective of designers and architects, are in fact a graphic designer and architect themselves, respectively. The couple founded their company in an effort to streamline the creative process and offer collaborative solutions to their design clients. Taking their work home, the pair designed and built their hillside family space to accommodate their specific needs and aesthetic desires.
Located in Moreno Hills in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood, the cantilever design home features three bedrooms, two baths, and expansive views of the city.
With an exterior that references modern Dutch design and an interior inspired by modern Scandinavian homes, the Murnane abode seeks to be a peaceful, tranquil oasis in the middle of hectic Los Angeles.
Dividing the home into two distinct sectors—a more public, pared-down space on the second floor and playful, colorful rooms below—enabled the family of four to marry their needs of a calming, mature space and a family-centric home.
“Upstairs, we wanted a large common area that feels welcoming and personal, a place to hang out, with a supremely comfortable sofa,” Cleo tells us. “This level is more grown-up and sparse, with a common area, kitchen, and master suite while the kids' rooms and laundry room are downstairs. It’s a bit more active down there.”
“We have two kids and we run a design and architecture studio,” McShane tells us. “We have busy and chaotic lives, so we wanted our home to feel comfortable, but pared down. Cleo’s a graphic designer; she likes clean lines and a lot of white space. Less clutter equals less stress.”
A wall of cabinetry hides kitchen appliances and clutter.
A lack of window treatments and perfectly placed skylights flood the interior with light. “We invested in natural light: over-sized custom doors, windows, skylights, and indoor/outdoor living spaces,” the graphic designer tells us.
A skylight in the master bathroom floods the space with sunshine.
Another thoughtful skylight over the staircase brings overhead natural light down to the first level.
One of the more unique elements in the home is the custom climbing wall in their son’s room. “It leads to the upstairs living room,” Cleo tells us about the unusual inclusion. “We designed secret entrances for both of the kid’s rooms. Our daughter has a passageway under the stairs into her closet.”
When it comes to creating stylish, kid-friendly spaces, the design-forward couple are pros. “Create little nooks or spaces scaled to their size,” they tell us when asked for their advice. “They love to play on the floor, so try to create as much floor space as possible with a soft rug.”
“Create places to read in kid’s rooms, and find a fun reading light,” the designers say. “We spend a lot of time reading with our kids in their rooms.”
“We wanted to maximize the views of the Hollywood Hills, San Gabriel Mountains, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood sign, and Frank Lloyd Wrights' Hollyhock and Ennis homes,” Cleo Murnane tells us. “Taking in the expansive view is the next best thing to being at the beach. It’s cleansing and restorative.”