Palo Alto 3 House (11)

Palo Alto 3 House

Palo Alto Green Point Rated House

My design process follows the one I learned from Joe Esherick — welcoming the client at one’s shoulder as a participant in the process. One begins with a blank sheet of paper and draws in front of the client, shaping ideas; back in the studio, the ideas are refined — brought back to the meeting table, overlaid with more paper as ideas are tested. The design gradually takes form.

Designed with a three-part focus of private, public, and family, this 5,500 SF Certified Green Point Rated two-story house + guest unit, set over a partial basement, sits midblock on a small street in Palo Alto. The house massing is broken into smaller traditional forms clad in natural-wood siding to respond to the pattern, scale, and spirit of the neighborhood and local vernacular. The modern, light-filled interior is organized loosely into two wings, linked by an entry and stair element, to which are added or subtracted a play of one- and two-story forms. These offer shade, capture light, create views, provide garden spaces, and/or extend and enrich the spaces within. The desire to interweave the gardens and the house so as to create and invite opportunities for a visual and physical connection guided the design process. The materials and details, the largely edible landscape, the spaces and elements — inside and out — invite play, discovery, humor, and delight; and, at the same time, have a calm, quiet simplicity that allows for comfortable living that restores.

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