TH asked about the benefits and burdens of building a home, and Ale mentioned yesterday that the custom homes featured here have been entertaining.  Thanks to both of you for your thoughts, and yes, the homes featured here are meant to inspire those who hope to build their own house some day, myself included. 

Because you can see the typical Mediterranean neo-taco Spanish stucco boxes at every new-home tract, here at bubbleinfo we’ll present the alternatives to fill out the selection card.

Here’s a do-it-youselfer in Laurel Canyon with a similar vision:

New design talent Michael Parks is pleased to announce the completion of the dramatic remodeling of the Parks House, a modern and innovative three-bedroom, three-bath hillside home located in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills. The creative ingenuity behind the year and a half transformation of the Parks House is made all the more intriguing because Parks, the owner, had no formal architectural/design education. Yet he designed and spearheaded the project himself — an architectural metamorphosis through which Parks himself found a new career and a passion for creating ground-breaking modern design.

“After an architect presented us with a set of plans (no similarities to Parks’) that were over three times our budget, I decided to explore the possibility of using my love of architecture and my creative, budgeting and project management skills from TV and film producing to try and do it myself,” Parks said. “It all came together in a very LA story.  While getting my haircut, a stylist told me that he had a contractor/business partner ‘who was the best.’ The contractor turned out to be his brother, but after meeting him I realized he was our man and I could do the project for under our limited budget.”

Parks faced countless challenges when he purchased the house:  severe dry rot and termite damage to every area of the wood, post and beam-built house; windows that did not connect with their frames; a poor floor plan with little worthwhile useable space and only one proper bedroom; a kitchen where Parks actually put his foot through the rotted floor; poor ventilation with no insulation and an oddly shaped lot coupled with difficult hillside conditions. But Parks looked past the dwelling’s numerous issues and instead saw incredible, unrealized potential.

With a contractor on board and with the housing market going bust, Parks had no choice but to dive in.  Never one to take the easy road, Parks immersed himself totally into the project and was hands-on from day one, tackling all the architecture, design, budgeting, permit and inspection approvals, as well as complex landscaping issues.  In fact, many days Parks could be seen dangling 40ft. in the air staining wood — an undertaking befitting Parks — a man whose vision, drive and spirit of adventure led him to ascend the treacherous slopes of Mt. Everest in 2000.  “With this house, the learning curve and the difficult lot were both steep to say the least,” Parks said, “the only way to accomplish this was to make it a full time job.”

Perhaps one of the most inspiring aspects of this project is that the creation of the Parks House, borne from a love of architecture and design, has turned into a new career for Parks, who, mid-way through construction, began taking technical architecture courses at night at UCLA. Parks said, “I remodeled the house and the house remodeled me.

“I heard a quote once:  ‘There’s how we live and that is food, clothing and shelter. And then there is why we live… and that’s called art.’ The goal was to create a house in which we were surrounded, inside and out, by warm, modern architecture that is art, but could be lived in comfortably.”

His website wasn’t easily available, but here’s his email:

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