Blending into the natural ridgeline overlooking Mount Tamalpais and the San Francisco Bay, this contemporary Californian home designed by Jensen Architects has been built to connect both the home, and its owners to the natural landscape of the Marin hillside.
The trick to designing this home to become at one with nature it would seem was to build into the hill rather than on top of it. Here private spaces are protected within the half buried lower levels, while the more open and public areas of the home are left wide-open to the landscape.
Surrounded by thick oak trees, the lower levels of the building have been cut partially into the slope forming a grounded plinth for the upper levels to rest on. With the garage sitting on the ground floors along with the bedrooms and bathrooms, the upper level has been designed to house a pavilion complete with kitchen, dining and living areas that overlook the pool.
Our favourite part of the design is the fact that the whole top floor can be completely opened up to allow the outdoors in. This in turn allows for natural ventilation with no need for air conditioning, while the windows have been designed to hold the heat when the climate turns cool. With rain gardens that collect and manage stormwater runoff and 99% of the existing house being built with recycled or reused materials, this cleverly designed home proves that eco-friendly and beautiful design need not be mutually exclusive terms to one another.
The team at Nicole Hollis Interior Design worked closely with the client to select the neutral colour palette and varying textural finishes, all of which allow the outdoors to integrate with the interior while also providing warm, cozy comfort when closed off.
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Mariko Reed + Laure Joilet