We have been closely following the Open Space Series, a series which is dedicated to showcasing stunning midcentury modern architecture and sharing their stories. This time we landed at The McWilliams Residence by John W. McWilliams. Situated in Los Altos, California, the restful 1958 residence was inspired by the Case Study Program.
Interestingly, John W. McWilliams was not an architect, but had earned a degree in engineering. After drawing the plans for the structure – which he designed for himself and his wife – it took him two years to bring the home to completion.
According to current homeowner Blake Nicolai, McWilliams is said to have built the home together with his father in a very DIY fashion, without any architectural oversight and very few other people helping out during the building process.
References to the Case Study Houses program homes are apparent throughout the midcentury construction. The compact home uses simple materials; natural wood, red brick and walls of glass make up the majority of the home’s construction, resulting in a comfortable and natural home environment.
Landscaping plays a big role in the atmosphere of this home. Rock gardens budding with succulents surround the home and the backside features a grassy backyard for spending leisure time outdoors. Trees and bushes provide privacy while vegetable gardens boost the comfortable and natural character of the house.
Like the Case Study Houses program, The McWilliams Residence is split into small functional units. The expanses of glass on running along both sides of the house achieve a sense of light and space, connecting the inside with the outside.
Thanks to the openness throughout its interior spaces, clean lines, simple materials and natural color scheme, the house feels one with nature.