Custom Home 3,000 to 5,000 Sq. Ft. / Merit Award
The judges appreciated the subtle artistry evident in this 4,000-square-foot house outside San Francisco. “A lot of times, elegance gets confused with ornamentation,” said one. “This house doesn't have all that—there's nothing superfluous. It's rich but still simple and clear.”
To achieve such a result, architects Steven House and David Thompson used clever siting, lush materials, and a carefully choreographed floor plan. They placed the garage toward the front of the site, blocking views of neighboring tract houses. A covered breezeway leads from the garage to the main house, creating a sense of procession that continues up through the entry. Three frosted glass panels limn the front door; at night, from the outside, it seems suspended within a softly lit frame. Inside, small squares of cherry set into the maple floor lead from the front door into the living and dining area.
An exterior mixture of taupe stucco and two different shades of stained wood break up the home's massing. The roof angle follows the gently sloped site, and a curved, dual-level deck on the home's rear takes advantage of views through a canyon to distant rolling hills. “The curved deck helps soften the house a little,” says House.
He and Thompson placed most of the rooms along that side of the house, saving the opposite, viewless side for corridors and closets. Luxurious maple and cherry detailing helps unify the open-plan first floor, and commercial-style steel windows make the most of the views and southern sunlight. Thoughtful architectural touches like the living