Magnificent Benedict Canyon modern home in Los Angeles by Whipple Russell Architects Photograph : William MacCollum The client, who is from the sports world, wanted an open-plan house for entertaining but also a photography studio and a gallery space suitable for hanging his large art projects. Working with Barry Chase of CMF Homebuilders and Linda Dahan of Highfire Interior Design, the project began with an empty hilltop lot but required a 10-foot high retaining wall to create a sturdy level pad for building. A spiral driveway leads to the property, which then opens to the car park and entrance walkway. On the left, is the upstairs studio space, accessible via stairs that rise up over the first reflecting pool. Wide horizontal pavers guide the eye up to the house where water surrounds the entrance, flowing between the steps, and meeting a chiseled marble ledger stone wall.