Saratoga Creek House is a two story contemporary property that has been designed by WA Design, nestled on a two acre woodland site in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Saratoga, a city in Santa Clara County, California. The home is comprised of 7,000 square feet of living space, designed for a technology company executive and his wife. The property is shaded by mature heritage oaks, their dense canopies almost closing over the southern portion of the site. Defining the eastern edge of the property is a meandering seasonal creek. The creek is nearly dry in the heat of summer but swells to a rambunctious flow with the arrival of the winter rains. The riparian habitat along the creek is one of the strongest assets of the site. Dense growths of miner’s lettuce, native juncus, and bay trees crowd the water’s edge. The home is a response to the goals of preserving and enhancing the presence of the existing oak woodland and seasonal creek.
A series of roof vaults defines the various distinct yet interconnected volumes that comprise this large residence south of San Francisco. This distinction is increased by the use of various claddings — concrete, stone, rainscreen systems — towards breaking up the house into smaller parts and creating a variety of exterior and interior zones.
The house massing is a set of smaller structures interconnected by glassed-in walks and vaulted roof structures that wind through the oak canopy, responding in plan to the requirements of the protected driplines. Courtyards and outdoor spaces unite the house and landscape. The pool, pool house, and adjoining patio all step down a gentle slope to meet the large grass playfield to the north. The field is bordered by a cleaved granite walk that mimics the shape of the creek edge, effectively transposing the form of the creek itself onto the higher land. At the southern end of this path is a sculpture patio. The nine-foot-tall serpentine sculpture we designed is derived from the actual shape of the creek as it traverses the property.
The clients were deeply engaged in the design process and allowed us to raise the bar on finishes, landscaping, and details for this house. We designed a drop soffit of sheet bronze for the sections of the house with vaulted ceilings. The bronze reflects the adjacent exterior gardens during the day and adds a warm glow at night. We designed a unique, freestanding staircase with glass treads that becomes the centerpiece of the home’s circulation.
A modern palette of materials including swiss pearf cladding and fundermax siding enhance the strong presence of the house as it sits in its lush surrounding. Natural stone, concrete, plaster, and Wallnut wood are some other materials that make up the dynamic mix of materials on the interior.
White cement panel siding was selected to brighten the deep shade under the oak canopy. Zinc standing-seam roofing and a custom wood window system fill out the palette of materials on the exterior. Natural stone, concrete, plaster, bronze, and dark hardwoods combine in a rich palette of color and texture in the home’s interior. A high level of design went into almost every interior detail and required the skills of many of the Bay Area’s finest craftspeople to execute successfully.
Photos: Courtesy of WA Design
Tahoe Modern is a rustic modern dream home for a couple and their two children, designed by Artistic Designs for Living in the Homewood Mountain Ski Resort, near Lake Tahoe, California. The property is comprised of 4,000 square feet, with five bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms. “They wanted a house in Tahoe, but they didn’t want your typical Tahoe house,” states the designer, referencing the mountain lodge look adopted by many homes in the area. “They wanted something more modern.” She made it work by referencing a look that’s more industrial and European than log cabin or mountain lodge. The entry sets the tone, equipped with chairs for removing skis and a mudroom for storing them.
The dining room is outfitted with an extra-long banquette, perfect for fitting a lot of friends around the table. The light fixture was made from an old ski lift seat that was discovered on the property.
The living room is meant for gathering. “There’s no formal living room, because that’s not how people gather up there,” states the designer. The ceiling height was set at 8 feet, but Triggs didn’t shy away from covering it with rustic wood and beams. “It gives the space texture and a clubby feel,” she says.
The fireplace, clad in steel and adorned with large rivets, has an industrial feel. Small stools and oversize ottomans that act as coffee tables or extra seating make sure there’s always a perch near the fire.
The game room, located behind the entry chairs, was originally supposed to be another bedroom. For this family of four with two kids, the designer opened it to the hallway and living room and made it a game room. Thick pass-throughs make the space feel substantial and act as display shelves.
The designer wanted the home to have a Ralph Lauren style to it. The geometric rug is a subtle reference to game boards — Monopoly is a favorite with this family.
The designer likes to mix masculine and feminine elements in her designs. In the powder room, the stone vanity is beefy and dark. White light fixtures and a white-framed mirror pick up the tones in the veined marble for a yin-yang effect.
At the entrance to the kitchen, the ceiling soars, making room for large windows that embrace a view of tall trees.
The industrial rivets are back in this room, this time on the range hood.
They industrial rivets also appear, in a smaller scale, on the edge of the eat-in island.
Upstairs the master bedroom is done in neutral colors and rich textures — from a grass cloth wall covering behind the bed to a bench that’s upholstered with a cuddly textile reminiscent of the inside of a sheepskin boot.
The bedroom opens to the master bath. “We had thought about dividing these rooms with a barn door,” says Triggs. “But it just didn’t work.”
Had the rooms been divided, the owners would have missed this view from the bathroom windows. A window seat makes the space seem extra luxe, and the designer notes that when the kids bathe here, the parents have a place to sit. The rivet motif is present on the tub exterior and, in shape only, in the Roman shades.
On the upper level, it’s all about family with a large sectional. The animal head sculptures “are a whimsical nod to old Tahoe style,” states the designer.
A table makes room for games, crafts or projects. In another old-Tahoe reference, the cabinets are outfitted with fish-shaped hardware.
Baskets on nearby shelves organize everything from Legos to paints.
For this family, like many, sleepovers are a regular event. Bunk beds make sure that there is always room for friends.
Vintage ski posters add old-school flavor.
The vanity, open to the family room, is a skillful mix of old and new with rustic wood, a corrugated backsplash and industrial sconces. “My goal was for this house to feel cozy, warm and modern,” states the designer.
Photos: Courtesy of Artistic Designs for Living
Peter’s House has been designed by Craig Steely Architecture, located on a steep site bordering a public garden above San Francisco, California’s Dolores Park. The decidedly small house, (only 1,800 square feet) builds on this steep lot as efficiently as possible. Rather than the typical construction practice of locating foundations staggered up the hillside, Peter’s house locates a 24 foot x 24 foot cast-in-place concrete garage at the lowest level and builds a 3-story glass tower above it, altering the land and native hillside drainage very little. The top living floor then spans from a flat plateau at top of the lot to the tower like a bridge, essentially reducing the amount of excavation typically involved in construction of this type by 2/3.
Beyond the structural challenges, the biggest issue in designing Peter’s house was opening the building to the expansive view while maintaining a level of privacy from the sidewalk and garden that pass alongside. Around the time the house was being designed, the new on-ramp to the Golden Gate Bridge was under construction which necessitated clearing a grove of Monterey Cypress trees in it’s path from the Presidio. We secured some of these trees and working with a local milling shop turned them into 90 solid wood louvers (fixed on the exterior/operable on the interior) that regulate openness and privacy.
At street level, the wooden garage door opens its toothed maw.
Outside looking in: a look at the door’s mechanism.
The kitchen is beautifully textured and veined thanks to white Carrara marble countertops installed by New Marble Company and reclaimed cypress cabinets built by Wayne Berger.
A 606 Universal Shelving System by Dieter Rams for Vitsoe hangs tough on the only opaque wall of the living room. The homeowner’s designed the coffee table, and Marcel Wanders gets credit for the Bottoni sofa for Moooi.
The trip from garage to first floor is through a wood-clad spiral staircase that resembles a giant slatted barrel.
The LC4 lounge is by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina. Operable porthole windows on the east facade offer ventilation.
The master bedroom is defined on the north side by a series of indoor louvers, which allow the couple to frame and manage their views.
The drawers and cupboards in the closet feature the same masterful joinery established in the kitchen.
The homeowner’s, a mechanical engineer and industrial designer, designed their bed. Credit for the custom joinery of the closet and cabinets goes to woodworker Wayne Berger.
At night, opening the entire top floor is a breeze. The homeowner’s are even planning of rigging some kind of sail over the back patio for shade. The hot tub is by Roberts Hot Tubs.
The public staircase is directly adjacent to the house, though the louvers mitigate the view of passersby in favor of views of San Francisco.
This tiny Hollywood home is the residence of Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser who purchased his slice of Tinseltown in 2003, but it wasn’t till 2010 that he contracted designer Funn Roberts to renovate the space. The 580 square foot space was carved into several small rooms, something that the actor had endured for a long time before commencing a partnership with the designer and builder. The design process literally started at the front door, an old wooden door that the designer said must go. They replaced it with a steel and glass one, which ended up setting the aesthetic tone for the rest of the renovation. The two planned smart, space-saving ideas and clever ways to devise them, in what the actor calls a “Japanese-industrial” style. The space was completely opened up into one large room. One intriguing design move was to design a shower for the middle of the living room, which was inspired by the 2008 film Synecdoche, New York.
The bathroom and closets were arranged along one wall and then hidden behind custom Japanese-inspired fiberglass-and-steel sliding screens that glow when illuminated from behind. Custom light boxes along the top of the wall burn gently as well. The home’s most clever design contraption was the bed that descends from the ceiling for sleeping and then rises again to give the actor extra living space when he is moving around. The pulley system that controls the hanging bed needed some serious hardware, including a 300-pound steel counterweight that’s hidden in a corner of the closet. For the headboard, the designer fastened a huge slab of redwood to the wall but put it on hinges so that, when the bed is raised, the piece of wood can flip down to double as a desk.
The designer worked with Kartheiser’s existing appliances in the kitchen, trading the old cabinetry for new teak.
When not in use as the headboard, the large redwood slab folds down to become a desk.
The bed was designed to hang from the ceiling and can be hoisted up and pulled down as needed.
The bed is counterbalanced by a 300-pound weight.
For extra privacy, a thick red theater curtain on a ceiling track; the curtain emerges out of an adjacent closet to completely cordon off his bedroom space.
Custom shoji-inspired screens of Roberts’s design conceal the closet and extend to provide privacy for the adjacent shower and soaking tub. The sink in the bathroom is made from a boulder taken from the property of one of Roberts’s pals.
Roberts found the Montauk black slate, which he continued in a second bath.
Kartheiser’s private courtyard includes a covered seating area and fire pit, designed by Roberts. Pulling the top off a seeming coffee table reveals that it’s actually a fireplace
Kartheiser’s courtyard also includes a dry sauna with a ceiling made from 2,500 pieces of wood.
The area includes a Wally planter from Woolly Pocket near the custom steel-and-glass doors.
Menlo Park Residence is a modern single family home that has been designed by Dumican Mosey Architects and built by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders in San Francisco, California. The cool modern 5,500 square foot home gets its warmth from the architect’s intentions, the homeowners’ style and two kids just being two kids. While the design exhibits many trademarks of minimalism (clean lines, hard surfaces, high ceilings, and lots of glass), the architect also integrated antidotes to the inherently cool style: a U-shaped courtyard, raised sun decks and a sophisticated playground complete with pool, and raised sun decks. The result was a modern home that still embraces texture, warmth, lightness and a connection to the outdoors.
The ground up project features an aluminum storefront style window system that connects the interior and exterior spaces. Modern design incorporates integral color concrete floors, Boffi cabinets, two fireplaces with custom stainless steel flue covers. Other notable features include an outdoor pool, solar domestic hot water system and custom Honduran mahogany siding and front door.
The entryway, itself, features a living wall by Kevin Smith (no relation to the homeowner). The home has a high-tech system that unlatches as the homeowners approach.
The streamlined Boffi kitchen was customized to hide all the unsightly necessities of a family of four.
The home’s seamless connection to the outdoors is best represented by the great room’s clerestory windows, skylights and a 40-foot-wide series of sliding-glass pocket doors. During the day, this allows for an abundance of warm sunlight and fresh air, bringing life to the stark architecture. By night, the McIver-Smith household takes on a new vibe, when two fireplaces and an ensemble case of static light fixtures are turned on.
The dining room, located to the right of the entry, is like a glass vitrine at night with 36 Bocci pendants and a glossy white table. Is in the living room, the fireplace surround was custom-designed and fabricated by Concreteworks’ Mark Rogero.
Fatboy beanbags and playful “Scrabble” tiles by Justine King make the kids’ playroom the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon with movies or video games.
The master bedroom’s entire corner opens to the pool area by way of a sundeck featuring an automated shade canopy. Owner Bridget McIver furnished the house with Italian pieces from Dzine, such as Paola Lenti’s outdoor seating.
The integration of the pool area and patio with the living room allows for easygoing entertaining—as does a separate guest suite. The homeowners have hosted everything from a 40th birthday bash to a make-your-own-pizza social to a karaoke blowout.
Both of the kids’ rooms are decorated with Blik wall decals. This room has an added touch, a wall-mounted fishbowl.
The master bedroom uses a serene, relaxing color palette of soft greens.
The master bed and bath are tucked into the lot’s far corner, allowing for plenty of glass but ensuring privacy.
Lookout Residence is set on a dramatically elevated spur of land overlooking the Los Angeles basin in Beverly Hills, California designed by Bertram Architects. A set of carefully arranged planes and volumes comprise this modernist home for a couple and their small child. Referred to as “the jewel box” owing to its finely articulated detailing, the four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom house expresses its quiet luxury through white terrazzo floors, black walnut wall paneling, and imported limestone.
This is LEED certified home of the 21st Century. Solar panels feed the property and honeycombed heating convection flooring atomically senses an increase or decrease in the homes temperature and adjusts accordingly year-round. Built using green technology, utilizing solar power, and the highest efficiency products, appliances and technology available and low water/minimal maintenance landscaping. Lutron lighting and shade system, fully wired for sound in all common areas.
Designed in the International Style and using a palette of smooth coat stucco, steel, terrazzo, cork, walnut and glass, the rooms are visually seamless architectural elements that offer an array of quietly surprising details. Among them, floor to ceiling walnut panels, moving walls of glass, pocket doors and wide-view windows with concealed frames.
The house channels the Neutra spirit with touches including a sculptural staircase with floating terrazzo treads and a floating limestone wall with display niches lined in walnut. A sun drenched master bedroom with minimalist light displays and exploding city views.
Photos: Richard Horn
This very enchanting Hollywood Hills residence has been perfectly placed in the coveted Outpost Estates, which has recently been created as a visionary architect’s main home. Minimalist and contemporary yet tranquil and inviting, the open, loft-like rooms feature expanses of glass that bathe the gallery-white walls and warm Brazilian Walnut floors in light, creating a wonderful interplay of indoor comfort and outdoor charm. The 3,000 square foot interior is masterfully detailed and features soaring ceilings, custom cabinetry, the finest designer fixtures, a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen, lighting system, AV, security system, insulated glass and solar power. The exterior features spacious outdoor areas with BBQ, salt water pool, spa and lush landscaping embraced by the surrounding hills of sunny California.
This captivating property is listed for sale at $2,495,000, from here.
A voluminous living area features a built-in entertainment center, crushed glass fireplace and opens on to the sparkling pool.
The open plan kitchen boasts top of the line appliances and tasteful finishes.
There are three bedrooms, one of which has been configured as an office, with open walls and large windows to take advantage of the home’s best views.
With a strong indoor-outdoor living connection, Pebble Beach Residence is a fresh concept of the California contemporary home as designed by Conrad Sanchez of the Conrad Design Group. Conrad’s work has been published in Architectural Digest, Luxe magazine and The San Francisco Chronicle. This classic mid-century home situated on the Monterey Peninsula is designed around an open plan living area with central hearth, gourmet kitchen, three bedrooms, each with private baths. The 2,200 square foot home is designed for entertaining, the rear wall of the great room opens to create a beautiful indoor-outdoor setting for parties. The courtyard features an outdoor kitchen and dining area, fire pit, lounge area and hot tub. The home is custom furnished, fitted with beautiful custom details. It offers a notable level of luxury in a private setting. This home beautifully defines the central coast lifestyle with the ultimate indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
This incredible contemporary home is listed for sale at $2,690,000, from here.
This contemporary remodel and addition of a 1950’s home on the Mesa of Santa Barbara, California was designed by Harrison Design Associates, and in collaboration with Allen Associates. In addition to making the home more comfortable and energy efficient, the remodel added fabulous finishes. The original house had separate living, dining and kitchen areas. Walls were opened and a new structural beam added to make one grand room with abundant light and strong connections to outside environs. A new bocce court was added on the ocean side of the house to “expand the party” down the yard. The owners were originally going to have this as a second home; however, during the course of the remodel, they fell in love with Santa Barbara, their new home and its beautiful ocean views.
Photos: Jake Cryan Photography
This incredible modern home renovation that has been designed by Mark Brand Architecture is surrounded by the beauty of lush vegetation in Portola Valley, California. The scope of the project was to rejuvenate an old 1980′s modernist house clad in deteriorating vertical wood siding. The house included a greenhouse style sunroom which got so unbearably hot as to be unusable. The floor plan was opened up and the sunroom was completely demolished, replacing it with a new dining room open to the remodeled living room and kitchen.
They added a new office and deck above the new dining room and replaced all of the exterior windows, mostly with over-sized sliding aluminum doors by Fleetwood to open the house up to the wooded hillside setting. Stainless steel railings protect the inhabitants where the sliding doors open more than 50 feet above the ground below. The wood siding was replaced with stucco in varying tones of gray, white and black, creating new exterior lines, massing and proportions. They also created a new master suite upstairs and remodeled the existing powder room.
Photos: Christopher Stark Photography