Project Profile: Belmont Country Homes

The featured project depicts the first two homes out of a six-unit high-end speculative development, located in the mid-Peninsula town of Belmont, for which Hayes Shair Architecture was also the developer/builder.  The project team was confronted with the challenges of a steep site, a stringent set of local design guidelines, and vocal neighborhood groups.  Each home was custom designed for its specific lot which included downslope, upslope, and flat configurations, simultaneously maximizing the allowable floor areas while preserving massing articulation and streetscape variety.

The downslope configuration of these first two lots informed many of the design decisions and presented both challenges and opportunities for innovation.  From the public road, the building appears as a single story home, with context-sensitive detailing to minimize bulk.  But immediately upon entry, the homeowner is greeted with a modern, voluminous living area, realized through the use of scissor-truss cathedral ceilings and an open circulation plan, and culminating at an all-weather deck with breathtaking views of the Belmont Hills.  The slope of the site allowed for full-height crawl-space understories, which provided additional bonus spaces for storage and mechanical equipment.

Each home made provisions for a flat, usable backyard, an added amenity for many hillside residences.  Green features include 2×6 (R-19 insulated) exterior construction, dual-pane glazing, tankless water heaters, smart irrigation sensors, occupant-controlled high-efficacy lighting throughout, and on-site stormwater filtration.

For the project team, the most enduring lesson was the benefit of a proactive neighborhood and agency engagement process, which secured critical stakeholder buy-in during a no-growth political climate.  Both the city and the developer walked away feeling that neither design quality nor financial feasibility were compromised, and could be proud of the collaborative results.

At this time, the first downsloped pair are built and sold, the second flat lot pair are currently under construction, and the final upsloped pair are breaking ground this spring.

Architect – Hayes Shair Architecture
Architect of Record – Fred Strathdee Design & Development
Structural Engineer – Chu Design & Associates
Landscape – Kikuchi Kankel Design Group
Civil Engineer – Underwood & Rosenblum
Soils Engineer – CAPEX Engineering
General Contractor – Dennis Liu Construction
Photo Credit – Edigitaltours

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