Dwell Home Tours Lands in Silicon Valley

For our last stop on this year’s Dwell Home Tours program, we’ll be making our way to Silicon Valley, where we’ll be hosting self-guided tours of five modern residences that were designed to fit into Northern California’s idyllic landscape.
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After stopping in San Diego, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, and Portland, this particular tour will give visitors a chance to explore the San Francisco Peninsula, where design, architecture, and technology are thriving. The program begins with Meet the Architects night on Friday, September 23, at Pace Art + Technology in Menlo Park. Join us for a night of conversation where you’ll hear directly from the architects featured in the program. The self-guided tour will then commence on Saturday, September 24 and will last from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

When you purchase a Dwell Home Tour ticket—which you can do here—you’ll receive a complimentary pass to Meet the Architects Night. Find out more about the evening and reserve your spot by following this link

Finally, if you're interested in volunteering, let us know by contacting afleming@dwell.com—you'll receive two complimentary tickets to the tour!

Take an early peek at the five Dwell-approved residences that will be featured in the program. 

Dyson Residence 

One of the homes you’ll be able to explore on Saturday is the Dyson Residence in Portola Valley. Designed by Carl Hesse of Square Three Design Studios, this double A-frame residence was remodeled after originally being built in 1957. The redesign by Hesse was meant to open up views and turn the home into a modern mountain lodge that gives the feeling of being far from Silicon Valley.

At the Dyson Residence, one of the A-frames (shown here) contains five bedrooms and looks out to a pool and outdoor bar. While one side of the house borders a tranquil creek, the other side sits alongside a nature preserve. 

The second A-frame includes one end that’s made up entirely of glass. It houses a spacious room that incorporates a kitchen, living room, and dining room. 

Looking from the kitchen, this view reveals the attached living and dining rooms that take full advantage of the A-frame design. The structure itself is made up of local stone, redwood, and bleached cedar siding.

Moody Road House 

Posted up in Los Altos Hills is the Moody Road House, designed by Stephen Atkinson of Atkinson Architecture and constructed in 2015. The L-shaped design features an interior courtyard that opens up diagonally towards the adjacent valley. Atkinson incorporated deep overhangs, west-facing sun screens, and aluminum applications in order to minimize the need for interior cooling.

The exterior siding of the Moody Road House is made up of ipe wood and includes rain screen detailing. Atkinson worked with Santa Cruz-based landscape architect Joni L. Janecki to complete the nature-immersed plot.

The ceiling and walls hide expanding foam insulation, while much of the space is lined with floor-to-ceiling glazed sliding doors. 

The Moody Road House looks out to incredible valley views, thanks to careful site planning. 

Rolling Hills Estate 

Another featured house is the Rolling Hills Estate, an L-shaped design in Saratoga that was created in 2013 by Louie Leu Architect. Made up of a 12,000-square-foot main house and basement—as well as a 1,200-square-foot guesthouse—it sits at the crest of a hilltop and looks out to panoramic views. When designing this residence, Leu made sure to focus on creating a passive ventilation system and to take advantage of natural daylight whenever possible.

The rain screen cladding on the Rolling Hills Estate helps the house breath while reducing heating and cooling needs. The residence also includes an underground water retention system and a living green roof that helps manage storm runoff.

Throughout the house, you’ll find steel windows with wood cladding. Foldaway doors also make appearances throughout the residence, creating an open feel. The interiors were designed by Lorissa Kimm.

Shown here is the 85-foot-long infinity-edge pool and the outdoor terraces that take advantage of the temperate climate. This setup reveals how important an indoor/outdoor lifestyle is to the residences of this region. The landscape was outfitted by Jack Chandler Landscape Design. 

Low/Rise House 

When you make your way to Menlo Park, you’ll be given the chance to explore the Low/Rise House, which was designed by SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop. This three-story residence was a collaborative effort between Dan Spiegel—who designed the building—and his wife Megumi Aihara—who created the landscaping. They developed the home for Spiegel’s parents, who are both professors at Stanford University. The team wanted to create a residence that utilizes space efficiently and that can accommodate varying social situations—from intimate time spent as a couple to spacious configurations for a large number of family members and party guests.

The Low/Rise House is all about integrating function, form, and material. It responds sensitively to site, nature, and the neighborhood, while its stacked building design helps reduce resource consumption.

The residence reimagines suburban housing by combining both shared and private spaces. The design team found inspiration in the composition of traditional ranch houses and farm towers. The result allows for natural ventilation, solar energy generation, natural lighting, and complete immersion into the site.

While you’re there, you’ll learn about the residence’s insulated glazing, radiant floor heating, passive cooling, and usage of resilient natural materials. Additionally, the house can be turned on and off by zone while all the systems can be controlled remotely.

Erica Residence 

Another house featured on the tour is the Erica Residence in Portola Valley. Designed by Ana Williamson Architect, it was designed to follow the sloping woody terrain and has multiple spaces that are organized around a courtyard. Williamson worked with a subdued palette of natural materials and made sure to consider the practical needs of the busy family that lives there.

The exterior of the Erica Residence is made up of smooth plaster, painted wood siding, stained cedar accent features, and board-formed concrete site walls. 

Williamson strategically placed the windows and clerestories to maximize daylight. A fireplace provides a warming focal point. 

The combined kitchen/dining room is finished with walnut cabinets. The clerestory windows continue the same format as the rest of the house.


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