Sprawling across 5,870 square feet, Tree House by Aidlin Darling Design is set on a long, narrow property in Palo Alto, California. Consisting of interlocking volumes clad in zinc, cedar, stucco, and glass, this L-shaped two-story abode offers expansive living spaces that extend into the landscape.
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When the clients—a young couple with two children—approached the San Francisco–based firm, they brought specific criteria to the design process. They yearned for a home that was spacious and open, but they also wanted the dwelling to offer cozy and quiet areas of refuge.
Dense suburbs often pose challenges for architects seeking to maximize indoor/outdoor living while providing privacy. In this case, the property's anchoring coastal live oaks and redwoods inform a spatial arrangement of framed views, outdoor rooms, and cover for privacy.
Comprised of two levels, the ground floor is divided into two zones. An open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room are located in one, while an office, a gym, and a den are housed in the other. The zones are separated by a corridor, which flows through the center of the residence.
The upper level holds three bedrooms and a light-filled master suite. "This volume is defined by the house's canopy," explains the firm, "which also serves to edit unwanted views and afford mutual privacy."
The second floor provides a lofty perch within the two-story volume. On the ground floor, "a concrete plinth, steel and glass armature, and zinc skin respond to the site's high water table, and resonate with its natural splendor."
Builder: DeMattei Construction
Structural Engineer: Berkeley Structural Design
Civil Engineer: Bay Land Consulting
Landscape Design: SurfaceDesign Inc.
Cabinetry Design: Bay Area Cabinetry
Other Companies: Cornerstone Earth Group & Energy Design Group