A Californian Home Gently Steps Down on an Oak-Studded Landscape
Desirous of a home that was modern, rustic, and above all, encouraging of indoor-outdoor living, a couple asked California design studio Swatt Miers Architects to craft a custom retreat on a semi-rural plot in Los Altos Hills.
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Located just 40 miles south of San Francisco, the 1.7-acre site offers spectacular valley views and challenging topography. The property slopes in two directions: a gentle incline runs west to east along the road, while a more steep slope tilts north to south.
To navigate the tricky terrain and minimize site disturbance, the architects wedged the 3,664-square-foot home between three massive oak trees, and divided the two-story structure into four levels that step down the landscape in two directions.
"The design is organized around three cast-in-place concrete core elements—a stair landing, the powder room, and a portion of the guest suite—that step with the land," explains the firm of the Blue Oaks House.
"Walls and deep overhangs of Western Red Cedar boards span between, and slide by, the concrete core elements, overlapping each other as they step with the topography of the land."
To maximize rural valley vistas, the master bedroom and the main living areas are located to the south where the best views are enjoyed.
The entrance of the Blue Oaks House is placed on the opposite side of the home to the north and branches off to the garage sited uphill to the west.
"The natural materials of the exterior, concrete, and wood have been utilized in many areas inside the home to create strong indoor-outdoor connections, while also giving the interiors a modern, yet rustic and natural feel—exactly what the owners had dreamed of," add the architects.
Builder/ General Contractor: Custom Dreams Construction Group
Structural Engineer: Provest Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer: Lea & Braze
Landscape Design: Huettl Landscape Architecture
Lighting Design: Swatt Miers Architects
Mechanical: Monterey Energy Group
Green Building: Simple Home Energy