A powerful divine creature that commands great respect in Chinese culture, the dragon symbolises wisdom, enlightenment, and prosperity. For those born in the Year of the Dragon, there is a special idiom that goes “hoping that the child will become a Dragon,” which is a wish that the person may become as successful and powerful as his or her Chinese zodiac animal.
And so when Small Laude’s mother-in-law, a Dragon, gifted a lot to her and husband Philip, also a Dragon, she knew they had to build their home on it. After all, two Dragons in the same area must attract abundance in spades.
“The lot on which my house now stands is actually where my old preschool used to be,” Small shares. “I ran it for eight years, but closed it down to better concentrate my efforts on new businesses we were taking on. And because my old house is just next door, I originally thought to just remove the wall between the two lots and turn this into an extension with a pool, basketball court, and a gazebo. But I did the math, and the costs—just to tear down the wall—turned out higher than expected.”
Hoping for a better solution, she turned to architect Ed Calma for advice. Calma took one look at the lot, and told her that to just use it as an extension would be a waste. “I heard him out and asked him to make a sketch—and just like that, it turned into a real house!”
On the outside, it is distinctly Ed Calma: all clean lines, glass panels, slate greys, and deep blacks. It is a handsome structure, certainly, but not one Small might have pictured herself living in if not for a trip to Los Angeles. While on vacation, she went around to look at some houses and found herself attracted to the modern architecture prevalent in the city.
This, for her, was something new, as she is “not a very big fan of things that are too cold or masculine.” But in this home, her elegant taste melds well with Calma’s contemporary style. There is a shared fondness for high ceilings and open spaces. Small confesses to not being a fan of having too many closed-off areas, which is why even the spacious dining room flows into the kitchen.
“Ed advised me to make it look pretty because you have a good view of it from the garden,” says the lady of the house. “Most of it—the countertops, the shelving, et cetera—are from Arclinea; we had everything done in bronze. I’m not at all into cooking, but it’s certainly an inspiring space to try to learn!”