This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault

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By Paige Alexus / Published by Dwell
When architect Francis Garcia first began developing his plans to build a family home in Danville, California, he quickly found out that the project would be anything but simple.

After being handed over a lot situated high in the hills in a remarkably windy area, he learned that the site had an earthquake fault running diagonally through it, as well as a natural spring directly below the soil. To make matters even more challenging, the family he was working with requested a modern, contemporary house, that’s also classical at the same time. 

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 1 of 9 - To deal with the constant stream of wind that flows toward the front of the house, Garcia contained all of the usable outdoor space within the first 30 to 40 feet from the back of the structure. "I designed various configurations to provide patio spaces that are protected from the wind," he explains. The interior is directly connected to these zones by the expanses of Marvin windows and doors.   

To deal with the constant stream of wind that flows toward the front of the house, Garcia contained all of the usable outdoor space within the first 30 to 40 feet from the back of the structure. "I designed various configurations to provide patio spaces that are protected from the wind," he explains. The interior is directly connected to these zones by the expanses of Marvin windows and doors.   

Needless to say, he dove into construction with high hopes that he would be able to find solutions for each of these obstacles. The final result is what he calls the Modern Serenity house—a classical-contemporary structure with Mediterranean influences that looks out to inspiring views of Mount Diablo. He worked with interior designer Wendi Zampino to outfit the open floor plan.

For each project Garcia takes on, he strives to pay close attention to even the most minute details and to leave a lasting impression. 

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 2 of 9 - On both the front and the back of the structure, Garcia built overhangs that protect the facade of the house and ended up keeping the cost of the roof down. Along with providing shade from the sun, they also shelter the house from the rain. The hardy Marvin windows were installed below the overhangs, which add yet another protective component against the elements.  

On both the front and the back of the structure, Garcia built overhangs that protect the facade of the house and ended up keeping the cost of the roof down. Along with providing shade from the sun, they also shelter the house from the rain. The hardy Marvin windows were installed below the overhangs, which add yet another protective component against the elements.  

For the Modern Serenity house, he accomplished both of these tasks by implementing a generous supply of Marvin windows and doors throughout the residence. Their high-quality construction ensures that they’ll be able to stand strong against the harsh wind for years to come.

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 3 of 9 - Upon entering from the front, you’re greeted by an open layout designed by Zampino with a living space on one side and the dining space on the other. The sets of windows framing each of these spaces were ordered custom through Marvin. Garcia worked with a local representative who helped him with his special orders each step of the way.  

Upon entering from the front, you’re greeted by an open layout designed by Zampino with a living space on one side and the dining space on the other. The sets of windows framing each of these spaces were ordered custom through Marvin. Garcia worked with a local representative who helped him with his special orders each step of the way.  

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 4 of 9 - A closer look at the living space near the entrance reveals a modern fireplace that’s built into a blue accent wall.  

A closer look at the living space near the entrance reveals a modern fireplace that’s built into a blue accent wall.  

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 5 of 9 - Garcia placed Marvin windows all along an extensive corridor. The windows let natural light pour in while allowing the x-shaped wood beams from the exterior overhangs to reflect their shadows along the limestone flooring.  

Garcia placed Marvin windows all along an extensive corridor. The windows let natural light pour in while allowing the x-shaped wood beams from the exterior overhangs to reflect their shadows along the limestone flooring.  

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 6 of 9 - The sitting area off the master bedroom reveals views of Mount Diablo and the surrounding landscape. The inside of the Marvin casement windows are made up of Douglas fir that’s been finished in a dark wood stain. For the exterior, he opted for aluminum-clad casements with a bronze finish.  

The sitting area off the master bedroom reveals views of Mount Diablo and the surrounding landscape. The inside of the Marvin casement windows are made up of Douglas fir that’s been finished in a dark wood stain. For the exterior, he opted for aluminum-clad casements with a bronze finish.  

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 7 of 9 - For the master bathroom, he worked with a fabricator to design a custom crescent-shaped skylight that lets light stream into the shower.  

For the master bathroom, he worked with a fabricator to design a custom crescent-shaped skylight that lets light stream into the shower.  

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 8 of 9 - The kitchen features a waterfall counter made of the same marble that covers the rest of the surfaces.   

The kitchen features a waterfall counter made of the same marble that covers the rest of the surfaces.   

This House Takes on Gusty Winds and an Earthquake Fault - Photo 9 of 9 - Francis designed the pool to be as close to the house as possible so that it’s protected from the wind that whips through from the other side of the house. It’s easily accessible from the interior through a selection of sliding glass doors from Marvin.  

Francis designed the pool to be as close to the house as possible so that it’s protected from the wind that whips through from the other side of the house. It’s easily accessible from the interior through a selection of sliding glass doors from Marvin.