Tōrō House is a renovation and addition to an existing single-family home in Woodside, California. The home sits on a hillside marking the interface between a redwood forest grove to the east and a deciduous grove and meadow to the west.
The original mid-century home was laid out in an ‘L-shaped’ plan around a central terrace facing a singular monumental redwood tree. The site is subject to 50-foot setbacks on all sides, and the existing home extended well into several of them. The buildable area left for an addition and pool was therefore a narrow triangular shape bisected by an unbuildable steep slope.

Our client is a true renaissance man: a product designer, software engineer, and playwright. His hand is found in many of the well-designed software and consumer products most of us use every day. He loves the site for its liminal nature and the choreography of moving through it. His design aesthetic finds its grounding in a love for the essence of all things Japanese.

Our shared endeavor was to create a home that added the necessary program and accentuated the feeling of being perched above the ground in the canopy of the redwoods.

The parti retains the original footprint and adds a new higher volume addition containing the dining and office/library rooms. Deeply cantilevered flat roof planes cover decks at the east and south facades, controlling solar penetration into the building and creating transitional indoor/outdoor spaces.

With an entrance at each end, the cleft between the original and new buildings becomes the interior circulation. Clear finished cedar siding covers the entire exterior of the building, wrapping back under the eaves onto the ceilings of the dining room and office, creating a sense of continuity between interior and exterior.

A grand stairway of meandering granite slab steps leads up through a cedar "gatehouse" to a canopied entrance deck facing the front door. A simple Japanese garden is located between the entrance deck and the house, enshrining the monumental tree.

The interior of the home is a uniformly peaceful soft white, accommodating the owner's furnishings and favorite objects. Floors are mostly muted porcelain or travertine tiles, accented here and there by Teak wood.

Tōrō House is a study in the harmony of dualities. Like the central hallway uniting the two wings of the residence, the house itself is a product of uniting Japanese and Mid-Century Modernist aesthetics – a marriage of east and west emblematic of the new Silicon Valley.

Mark English uploaded The TORO House through Add A Home.
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Modern home with Exterior, Flat RoofLine, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, and House Building Type. Front Entry. Photo  of The TORO House

Front Entry.

Modern home with Exterior, Metal Roof Material, House Building Type, Flat RoofLine, and Wood Siding Material. Entry. Photo 2 of The TORO House

Entry.

Modern home with Kitchen, Microwave, Cooktops, Ceiling Lighting, Porcelain Tile Floor, Range Hood, Dishwasher, Undermount Sink, Wall Oven, Refrigerator, White Cabinet, Engineered Quartz Counter, and Mirror Backsplashe. Entry, kitchen, dining. Photo 3 of The TORO House

Entry, kitchen, dining.

Modern home with Kitchen, Wall Oven, Cooktops, Microwave, Refrigerator, Engineered Quartz Counter, Porcelain Tile Floor, Dishwasher, Ceiling Lighting, Mirror Backsplashe, Range Hood, Undermount Sink, and White Cabinet. Kitchen Photo 4 of The TORO House

Kitchen

Modern home with Living Room, Porcelain Tile Floor, Sectional, Recliner, Bookcase, Coffee Tables, Sofa, and Ceiling Lighting. Kitchen and Family Photo 5 of The TORO House

Kitchen and Family

Modern home with Dining Room, Table, Porcelain Tile Floor, Ceiling Lighting, Pendant Lighting, and Chair. Dining Photo 6 of The TORO House

Dining

Modern home with Dining Room, Pendant Lighting, Porcelain Tile Floor, Chair, Ceiling Lighting, and Table. Dining Photo 7 of The TORO House

Dining

Modern home with Dining Room, Chair, Table, Porcelain Tile Floor, Ceiling Lighting, and Pendant Lighting. Dining and Kitchen Photo 8 of The TORO House

Dining and Kitchen

Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, and Flat RoofLine. Exterior walk Photo 9 of The TORO House

Exterior walk

Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, Flat RoofLine, and House Building Type. Exterior walk Photo 10 of The TORO House

Exterior walk

Modern home with Porcelain Tile Floor and Bookcase. Library Photo 11 of The TORO House

Library

Modern home with Ceiling Lighting and Chair. Master Bedroom Photo 12 of The TORO House

Master Bedroom

Modern home with Engineered Quartz Counter, Undermount Sink, and Ceiling Lighting. Master Bath Photo 13 of The TORO House

Master Bath

Modern home with Engineered Quartz Counter, Ceiling Lighting, and Undermount Sink. “Tōrō House is a study in the harmony of dualities,” says architect Mark English. Inspired by Japanese design, the home harmoniously unites with nature—as seen here in the master bathroom, where the tub overlooks the outdoor space. Photo 14 of The TORO House

“Tōrō House is a study in the harmony of dualities,” says architect Mark English. Inspired by Japanese design, the home harmoniously unites with nature—as seen here in the master bathroom, where the tub overlooks the outdoor space.

Entry pavilions Photo 15 of The TORO House modern home

Entry pavilions

View from pool Photo 16 of The TORO House modern home

View from pool

Night view Photo 17 of The TORO House modern home

Night view

Credits

Posted By
Architect
Builder
  • Golobic Builders
Photographer

Overview

Bedrooms
  • 4
  • Full Baths
  • 2
  • Partial Baths
  • 1
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 2016
  • Square Feet
  • 2750
  • Lot Size
  • .5 acres