Text from Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
As it cascades down a long, rolling slope on a big lot, this home celebrates the natural topography that flows with the adjacent sites and streets. The abundant existing tree canopy was preserved on site, which evokes a pastoral feel. Though the house is not small, it is discreet, and carefully integrated into the established neighborhood.
Moments of visibility balance friendliness and transparency with comfort and privacy. The project is designed with expanses of glass in the kitchen and living room for an inviting face towards the street, a classic experience for a house.
The project is tuned for daylighting and oriented to provide views of the surrounding trees in nearly every room. It is very glassy but carefully shaded with deep overhangs and boasts high solar performance from the photovoltaic system. The VRF cooling strategy reduces the need for a complicated duct system to enhance both the design and energy performance.
Italian clay bricks with a mottled patina are arranged to change direction throughout the exterior to offer texture and provide a sense of balance with the glass. The roof is opened up to accommodate a large live oak that greets visitors at the front entrance.
The entry experience features an oversized solid wood front door that opens to a sculptural fireplace and a skeletal stair, giving a peek into the other parts of the home. The spaces are sequenced throughout the house to celebrate a walk from end to end and to function well within the family’s routine. The kitchen serves as the nexus, where the entire family can spread out but still be connected. Indoor spaces are visually linked to the central pool and outdoor living area to extend the family’s hub of activity outside.
The open floor plan along with extensive use of glass floods the house with natural light and allows the interior space to extend its modest footprint into the landscape. The installment of skylights above the staircase brightens up the entryway and reflects the light off the warmth of the wooden floor. The exterior screened in porch gives the owners an opportunity to connect with the landscape while protecting them from the elements of the region.
The interiors are calm and comfortable. Natural light and soft finishes offer gentle transitions between spaces. The wood on the walls is heavily stained to amplify the color of the wood, allowing you to see the grain detail, but only close up. Routed tartan patterns are found on top, adding design texture on top of natural texture, creating a layered effect. Mixed metal, copper and brass accents are found throughout the home, offering unexpected moments of detail.