MODECO residence is a modern single family property designed by Modern House Architects, located in Los Altos, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. This spacious newly built family home features open plan living, comprised of materials of wood, concrete and glass.
We were fortunate to have been commissioned by an owner/developer who wished to create a new home that was both site specific and sensitive to the remaining mid-century character of existing homes left in this neighborhood. We drew upon archetypes of the 40‘s and 50‘s, such as limited front facade fenestration and appropriately located roof overhangs, while using materials more common to current modernist homes.
The floors in the kitchen are plain sawn white oak, no stain.
The structure incorporates passive house standard technology that approaches the current European model of passive home. MODECO utilizes natural ventilation and light, solar photovoltaic (PV), and a mechanical/fresh air system with heat recovery. Concrete walls have a thermally broken core, and all other exterior walls and roof have 1.75 inch ridged outsulation wrap.
Photos: Assassi Productions
This incredible shingle style bungalow house was given a complete update by McElroy Architecture, sitting high on one of San Francisco’s hills with panoramic views. It had been loved for 100 years but was in need of serious upgrades from foundation to roof. The architects opened up the floor plan, extended the top floor to create a larger master suite, and cantilevered a deck off the living area.
The vaulted ceilings and expansive sliding doors at each level create a bright, lofty experience. Composed of a simple palette of woods, slate and glass, the remodeled house feels modern yet retains the warmth and scale of its hilltop bungalow origin.
Radiant heat, recycled and natural finish materials are some of the project’s sustainable features.
Before the Renovation
Photos: Paul Dyer Photography
Noe Valley Residence is a complete remodel to a classic San Francisco Victorian designed by Feldman Architecture, who respected the original character of the home. The architect infused a modern sensibility of space, light and materiality. The front facade of the house was kept largely intact; only a bright green door with a translucent polycarbonate panel hints that the building is anything other than original.
Once inside, though, visitors are greeted by a steel and glass screen that obscures a central stairway. Lit from large skylights above, the open-riser stair brings light into the core of the building.
At the rear of the main level, walls were removed so the kitchen, breakfast nook and family room are open to each other. All, in turn, are oriented around a deck, the metal doors to which completely retract so that the deck, family room, kitchen and eating nook can function as one large room on nice days and evenings.
Throughout the house a palette of greys, white, steel and glass, with occasional pops of color, unifies the spaces.
On the top floor are several bedrooms, including a spacious master bedroom with wood-paneled vaulted ceilings plus a master bath with a free-standing tub and glass-enclosed shower.
The lower level includes an office and media room, both of which open directly to the backyard. The office is lined with shelves for the client’s extensive book collection.
Photos: Joe Fletcher
The Cube House project is an old Victorian home that has been re-imagined by John Maniscalco Architecture for a family of four, located in San Francisco, California. This dilapidated 1895 Victorian with a historically protected facade, abnormally long building footprint, and zero lot-line configuration was transformed into a light-filled home. The introduction of a two-story atrium (which is open to the sky) brings the exterior into the very center of the urban dwelling becoming the spatial organizing gesture, allowing all areas of the house to partake of the light, air, and landscape (both earth and sky) that this protected garden provides.
Utilizing both the transparent and reflective qualities, the glass cube acts to both define each distinct space and extend it. The Jarrah stair, which is framed by the cube, cantilevers from the wall, adding to the transparency and lightness. A wall of Sapele cabinets transforms to respond to the changing requirements of each space, while maintaining the scale of the larger space.
The house maintains an appropriately formal programmatic element – a library – in the room behind the preserved facade. The dining room and living room flank the garden, which a large kitchen opens on two sides to the rear garden and views to the north. Above, the cube is surrounded by two bedrooms and a master bedroom suite with a large rear deck.
The lower level features a media room/guest suite, exercise room, laundry, and a three-car garage.
The solution maintains and restores the historic facade, while adding an additional floor, set back from the street, which utilizes an abstraction of the cornice and fenestration patterns of the existing house.
Photos: Courtesy of John Maniscalco Architecture
Marin County Residence is an accessible modern home design by Dirk Denison Architects, situated in Marin County, a county located in the North San Francisco Bay Area of California. This single family house has been designed on one level to provide a barrier-free environment and to capitalize on the potential for an internalized landscape. The plan is based upon an irregular grid, which informs all elements of its composition.
Each programmatic function is contained within an individual building to respond to its specific needs. This enables each space to form a distinct relationship with its own courtyard or garden.
The ceiling plane is fractured and folded along a diagonal pattern, exploring the interplay of light in unique ways.
These spatial volumes are bound together by an enclosing perimeter wall, which creates a single form out of a village of buildings and landscapes. The irregular pattern of openings in this simple wall hints at the home’s underlying geometry and expresses the various functions contained within.
Photos: Joshua McHugh
Larkin Street Residence is a modern remake of a Russian Hill classic that has been designed by John Maniscalco Architecture, located in San Francisco, California. This extensive remodel of an existing single-family residence included a full-seismic upgrade comprised of steel moment frame interventions to open up the rear of the house to capture beautiful views of the entire San Francisco Bay. The garage was also extended into the hillside, requiring full-height retaining walls at the back.
Stone Residence is a house and guest house composition of iconic shed volumes designed by Malcolm Davis Architecture, sited between Highway 1 to the East and the end of a cul-de-sac to the West in San Francisco, California. The Eastern facade lends a sense of privacy and protection from the highway, with a smaller entrance, high windows, and thickened wall. The exposed framing of the thickened wall creates a floor to ceiling feature for books in the living room. The Western facade, with large glass barn doors and generous windows, opens the house to the garden, The Sea Ranch, and the ocean beyond. Connecting the two facades, an enclosed central porch serves as a dual entrance and favorite gathering space. With its pizza oven and easy indoor/outdoor connections, the porch becomes an outdoor kitchen, an extension of the main living space, and the heart of the house.
Photos: Courtesy of Malcolm Davis Architecture
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.
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.
Zero Energy House, designed by Levy Art & Architecture, is the first home in San Francisco, California that is completely self-powering and carbon neutral. The architecture has been developed in conjunction with the mechanical systems and landscape design, each influencing the other to arrive at an integrated solution. Working from the historic facade, the design preserves the traditional formal parlors transitioning to an open plan at the central stairwell, helping to define the distinction between eras. The new floor plates act as passive solar collectors and radiant tubing redistributes collected warmth to the original, North facing portions of the house. Careful consideration has been given to the envelope design of Zero Energy House in order to reduce the overall space conditioning needs, retrofitting the old and maximizing insulation in the new.
The Bar piece is produced by SieMatic cabinets, it is walnut. The cabinets are a wood textured laminate, also by SieMatic. The stair is open to above and takes up an area about 6′-6″ x 10′-0″. the floor to floor height is 10′-6″.
Central skylights above staircase.
View from master bedroom.
Exterior stair back yard to first level.
Solar powered hybrid electric heat pump.