This new family estate is located on a beautiful flag lot in Atherton, California. Surrounded by mature oak, pine, cedar, walnut and birch trees and bordered by twenty foot tall hedges along portions of the property lines, the setting provides total privacy from the neighboring houses. The earliest design strategy involved setting the building on an angle, roughly thirty degrees, off of the orthogonal grid of the lot, creating diagonal, vanishing vistas from each major space and increasing the sense of space surrounding the home. The trapezoidal-shaped exterior spaces on the north, east and south sides of the property have been transformed into landscaped outdoor rooms for family living, with extensive private gardens, terraces and a swimming pool with an adjacent changing room.
The house is approached from the west side via a long private driveway that skirts the edge of the property. A linear entry walkway, covered by a low, cantilevered roof overhang, leads to the main entry, located at the intersection of two wings. The design is organized around an L-shaped plan that revolves around a three-story, cast-in-place concrete stair core adjacent to the entry. A linear skylight on the west edge of the stair core brings natural light deep into the three-story stairwell, highlighting the texture of the board-formed concrete walls and providing visual interest to the entry. The stair core is joined by an additional concrete element, the living room fireplace, and together these concrete features visually anchor the architectural composition. The remainder of the house is clad with a single material – white, integral colored stucco – as a quiet counterpoint to the cast-in-place concrete.
Functionally, the house is zoned with all of the public and family spaces on the ground floor, and all private bedrooms, except for a ground floor guest suite, located on the upper level. A basement, covering roughly half of the building footprint, has been developed for a home gym and wine cellar.