Atherton is a town of many large substantial homes; our clients had just purchased an existing house on a one-acre flag-shaped lot and commissioned us to design a dream home for them. The end product is a 7,000 square foot, four building complex consisting of main house, six car garage with two overhead car lifts, pool house that is a fully functional residence, and a home office and workout gym accessory building.
The flag lot’s long driveway and entry axis inspired angling the residence slightly to present itself more dramatically to visitors. The house is a classic u-shape in plan and Feng Shui principals were employed placing the pool house so as to better contain the energy flow in the site. The main entry door is aligned with a special Japanese red maple at the end of a long visual axis to the rear of the site. These angles, axis and alignments set up the house layout and the transparency of the inner circulation of the house allows views into virtually every space, tracking movement within the home. Natural light was considered in continuous clerestory windows that line the major rooms and corridors as a method of bringing sunlight into rooms of a large home. Sun shadow studies with 3D tree modeling led to the unorthodox placement of the pool to the north of the home where tree shadow tracking showed this to be clear of shadows and sunny most of the year.
Other sustainable measures include a full 7.1kW solar photovoltaic array with panels designed to not be seen from ground level. A 16,000 gallon water catchment system with tanks buried below grade was utilized. The house is California GreenPoint rated and sealed crawlspace and eaves used fans, humidistats and interior drains to prevent moisture build-up. This was to make the home as low as possible to grade and eliminated the need for visible crawlspace vents. Hydronic radiant heat runs below the seamless concrete floors and the house is operated by a whole house computer automation system complete with its own server room. The fifty-foot swimming pool and new owner’s separate home office building complete the composition. It was an experience to design a compound of structures with the goal of creating a balance of relationships between each other.
Construction Management: Exact Builders
Landscape Design: Shades of Green
Photography: John Sutton Photography and Philip Liang