Back to West Side Home Tour 2013

In the architecturally thriving area that is L.A.’s West Side, Dwell visits a variety of homes, including a house and studio built for an artist.

Beverly Hills–based architect Paul Murdoch organized this house for painter Diana Wong around a double-height central studio. The emphasis on light and open space helps inspire Wong’s works, which are displayed throughout the house with her collection of Chinese antique furniture. “The architecture serves not only as a backdrop to support the artist’s activity but attempts to complement her personal expression through simple, elemental forms,” says Murdoch.

The studio is designed to be versatile, serving as a private workspace, a gallery for exhibiting artwork, and as a music and dance performance space. The architect introduced unique artistic solutions for Wong, such as large sliding panels for the storage of paintings.

  • Area: Santa Monica, CA
  • Livable square footage: 5,500 sq. ft
  • Number of bedrooms: There are two residential units, one with two bedrooms for the owner and the other for her daughter with one bedroom.
  • Construction completed: 2003
  • Wong Residence: Front Elevation

    The elemental quality and gridded composition of resident Diana Wong’s art is reflected in the curtain wall of the front façade of the Wong Residence and Studio By Paul Murdoch Architects.

  • Wong Residence: Artist Studio

    The artist's studio enjoys even, diffused natural light so work or display can take place on vertical and horizontal surfaces. Custom features such as mobile cabinets, sliding display panels, and a layout and washing counter support the artist's working processes.

    Features: To support the artist’s activity, customized features in the studio of the Wong Residence include large sliding panels for storing paintings and a mixing counter with a sink, brush rack, and shelves for paint storage.

  • Wong Residence: Artist Studio

    The bridge is finished in bamboo panels, as are cabinets, and some walls and floors throughout the house.

  • Wong Residence: Exterior Deck

    Glass doors below the bridge slide open to allow work to flow between indoors and the exterior. The artist often uses a water-washed technique over the drained deck that spans between the studio and outdoor terrace.

  • Wong Residence: Living Room

    The living room walls completely retract to connect the home with the outside.


About the Architect

Paul Murdoch Architects, based in Beverly Hills, California is a professional corporation dedicated to the poetic exploration of sustainable architecture. Paul Murdoch is President and founded the firm in 1991. Milena Murdoch joined the firm as Vice President in 2001. Each principal has over 25 years of professional experience. The firm specializes in architecture, urban design and interiors for a wide range of private, government and higher education clients.



Denise Ho is an architect from Hong Kong and friend of the artist. She initially collaborated on the architecture. Gordon Polon was structural engineer; RBA Partners was civil engineer; Tim Thomas lighting designer; and Jim Debiase landscape architect. Herman Construction Co. was general contractor.

Architect Paul Murdoch
Paul Murdoch

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