Sunset Residence

Situated on a hillside, this house rethinks both the role and the materiality of the typical house-site relationship. Organic, manmade, and artificial landscapes blend together to create a garden courtyard space nestled into a hillside that acts as an extension of the house. Fitting into the neighborhood at the front, this discrete two-bedroom house simultaneously

floats over the street and merges into the hillside at the rear. An over scaled bridge connects the guesthouse terrace to the roof deck above. A courtyard steps up from the living area where quadruple telescoping doors frame a panoramic view of the back yard amphitheater and hillside. The house feels like its in the garden, while a thirty-five foot bridge extends the house into the landscape. The two bedrooms are also stepped to garden level, making the master bedroom and bath feel like they are in the garden courtyard where the hillside provides privacy. This house is designed for entertaining and family gatherings, so the living, dining, and kitchen areas are merged and ample. Movement through the residence is choreographed in relation to the hillside, a variety of stair types, some see through, some solid bring the feeling of the hillside into the house. From the rear terraces, one can see that the bridge is actually a ramp that slopes down exactly forty-two inches (guardrail height) to visually extend the vista. Purposefully maintaining a low profile, this rooftop terrace affords panoramic vistas from mountains to the ocean. From the air, it’s difficult to know where the house begins and the site ends. This discrete residence is expanded with the addition of a small, multi-functional guesthouse at the rear that acts as a recreation room, workout room, guest quarters, and entertaining area.


This project features an interesting integration of the site with the interior and wonderful sectional development. | Adding the ADU really helped create a wonderful exterior courtyard space.

//framework for design excellence measures
Measure 1: Design for Integration
This residence has no air conditioning, instead cross ventilation and the chimney effect from the operable skylight are relied on for cooling in the summer. The house is heated entirely through a hydronic radiant heat system which is extremely efficient. The radiant floors heat up very quickly, and maintains its heat through the thermal mass of a concrete topping slab under stone floors. The heat is turned on only twice a day for 1 hour for only three months of the year (heat is turned on for only 180 hrs for the whole year), further decreasing the family’s carbon footprint.
Measure 2: Design for Equitable Communities
Measure 3: Design for Ecosystems
Measure 4: Design for Water
Measure 5: Design for Economy
This 1,800 s.f home was a very strategic renovation of an existing 1,300 s.f. residence originally built in 1958. Instead of tearing down home, a strategic addition of 500 s.f. kept the home discreet while providing more entertainment space. Reusing the existing structure was a primary sustainability strategy and extended the life of the existing building for another 65 -70 years. The 440 s.f  guesthouse is designed with efficiency & flexibility in mind; a tiny, boat-scaled kitchen and a hidden murphy bed that folds out for guests to allow the owner’s east coast family to come visit for a week at a time, but also regularly functions as a family room. Intentionally “under-built” for the site this residence naturally has a smaller carbon footprint.
Measure 6: Design for Energy
This project uses hydrolic radient heat which only needs to opperate for 2hrs per day, 3 months out of the year. There is no AC at all for the project and natural ventilation is used entirely for ventilation. 
Measure 7: Design for Well-Being
Measure 8: Design for Resources
A 35 foot bridge connects the terrace of a new guesthouse to a new roof deck on top of the renovated existing house. 
Measure 9: Design for Change
The house is a hybrid construction of steel and type 5 construction. A strategic renovation and addition to a 1958 residence. The new renovation upgraded the earthquake resistance of the existing structure and extended the life of the existing building for another 65 -70 years.

The landscape is primarily drought tolerant, while promoting an ecology of bees, butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds and a large variety of other bird species. The roof deck extends the yard over the house and provides a connection to the mountains and sea beyond. The building is designed to resist earthquake damage.
Measure 10: Design for Discovery
The residence is an extremely livable house that engages nature and the site. The clients say it transformed how they live and entertain, and the flexibility of the design allows this small house to meet all of their needs while feeling expansive. The economy of means deployed in the design also meant that the house was extremely cost effective to build. The owners love being a part all of the wild life promoted by the garden. They also love that the guesthouse provides flexibility for extended family & Friend visits and for entertaining. The owners also reported that the numerous and varied outside gathering spaces made their house a nexus for friends and family to gather safely during Covid.
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