This new residence in Menlo Park, CA, exhibits many aspects of responsible green design. The use of south-facing windows, photovoltaic panels, radiant-heated concrete slabs and massive thermal walls allow this passive solar home to be a great environment for human comfort. The exterior design of simple low-sloped roofs allows the house to be nested into the low-lying neighborhood, while the interior gracefully opens to high-curved ceilings. The natural clay walls are from American Clay. They have natural pigments and recycled, reclaimed aggregates. They are so non-caustic you can even finger paint with them!
The bamboo/paperstone cabinetry and recycled glass add surprises of unusual texture and color. The use of environmentally conscious materials throughout the house helps to emphasize its warmth and beauty. This house is protected by the beautifully crafted dragons at the gate and the weathervane on the roof by Paul Riley. Drew Maran Construction was the contractor. Our clients, Jackie and Scott Wood, were a joy to work with. Jackie did the wonderful cartoons you will find in our "process" section of the website. They give a great feel for how a client views the process.
This LEED Platinum house is a two-story contemporary "farm house" has many wonderful green features and a comfortable, easy relationship between inside and outside. The bottom floor and the enclosed courtyard can almost completely open up to each other, eliminating any concern about overheating, allowing the ocean breezes to permeate the house. The north wall of the house is 2" thick plaster to serve as an additional thermal mass to the 25% flyash concrete floor.
Some of the many other green features besides passive solar heating and cooling design include: solar photovoltaic and thermal panels (for both radiant and hot water heating), zero VOC materials, advanced framing technique, complete fire/thermal densglass wrap and the elimination of shear walls through the use of hardiframes, energy star appliances, whole house fan, natural cool pantry storage, a focus on local and recycled materials, and roof/site run-off water storage.
Shaw Residence or "Tree House" is a new residence built of salvaged and FSC-certified wood and radiant-concrete floors. It received an AIA award from the Monterey Bay Chapter. Conceptually the wood forms root it to its forest site. It is built on the site of a huge log cabin that burned in the '70s "that also anchored from itself."
River Ranch was once a cattle ranch. Although most of it is now part of a County park, many former ranch buildings are used for their original purpose. The original caretaker's residence had fallen into complete disrepair and needed to be rebuilt. The square footage of the new building is 1000 SF with an attached 300 SF artist studio. It was important to make the new style of the house fit into the character of the other existing buildings, particularly the River House shown here. One of our design challenges was to situate the house above the flood plane without having it dominate the main house. We also completely overhauled the kitchen in the main house.
The Baer retreat is a restful oasis from city life. It consists of three cabins that are blessed with the sound of the river year-round and a spectacular grove of sycamore trees. As the buildings are being constructed, care has been given to preserving the landscape and bringing it into the life of the houses.
Conceptually the river is reflected in the finishes in the house in river stone and native slate. Salvaged wood from the area is reused in the cabinetry, doors, and windows.
The Burke's house is on a very narrow lot on a walk street in Manhattan Beach. The client needed four bedrooms, a family room, living room and plenty of connection to the walk street, which serves as a great neighborhood hangout for the many parents with young children that live on it. The community life is rich here, and the challenge was to make a house both welcoming and private. The result in this 24-foot wide, 3400 SF house is a ground level space easily accessible from back, front, and sides.
Sitting areas in front give it good walk-street interaction. Its Dutch-style front door can say: "Lean your head in and holler," "We are not available," or "Come on in" just by the way it is opened. The house is arranged on three levels. The first floor is the living and kitchen area. The second level is bedrooms with the third level containing a family room with bar, a guest room and an outdoor roof deck with a fireplace where one can get an ocean view.
A barn for livestock, built of cement board siding and metal roofing, reflects the shape of the mountains. Its aerodynamic form protects it and its inhabitants from the severe prevailing winds of the area.
The Chemel Residence is a 1926 remodel and addition filled with surprises during construction. On the dark side, there were two inch deep existing foundations and surprise asbestos in the stucco. On the bright side, there were beautiful vintage tiles hidden behind plaster. The experience of working with such great clients made both the ups and the downs an adventure I’ll always treasure. Walt Wozniak was the contractor.
The Anderle Residence is a former speakeasy, rich in 1920s era details. Using waxresist glazing techniques from that era, the firm developed a series of original tiles for the house inspired by the flora and fauna found in its Holly-wood garden. Polly Osborne Architects handmade the fountain and cabinet pulls, and designed the light fixtures and much of the furniture for the project.