The Sanctuary by Feldman Architecture

We’re off to Palo Alto, California, to explore a new-build home, The Sanctuary by Feldman Architecture, that quietly blends in with its landscaping.

Based in San Francisco, Feldman Architecture are known for their ability to create homes that are equal parts bold and simple, designing sustainable forms that react to their surroundings. One of the latest residential builds, The Sanctuary, is a celebration of the firm’s commitment to natural materials and designing homes that respect the community where they exist.

Guests are led up to the lush front walkway.

The kitchen features walnut and Formica cabinetry, basalt countertops and Miele appliances.

The central portion of the home contains the open-concept living, kitchen and dining room.

Radiantly-heated concrete floors help keep the home temperate. The living space features a Flexform Modular Sofa.

Located walking distance from bustling downtown Palo Alto, this elegant home was the perfect solution for empty nesters nearing retirement who were looking to downsize. The site itself once housed a dilapidated shack, hidden behind a wooden fence overgrown with vegetation, but it was the lush bamboo perimeter and historic oak trees that intrigued the couple. “It felt like this urban oasis in the middle of the downtown block,” architect Tai Ikegami says.

Capturing that sense of discovery and secret garden-like essence was one of the team’s main goals, and they worked closely with landscape architects from Ground Studio, planting bamboo, Japanese Maple trees and other greenery so that each room in the home has its own unique outdoor view.

The integrated indoor-outdoor living area features the UF Pot by Atelier Vierkant.

The multi-level floating concrete slabs make the structure seem like its floating off of the ground.

The architectural language was born out of a response to the site, and thus the home was designed to leave plenty of room for the two large oaks on the property. In order to protect the trees and critical root zone, Feldman Architecture yielded a floating footprint; a home on piers that takes evident cues from Japanese design. Two board-formed concrete walls divide the home, the first between the home and the garage, which features an accessory dwelling unit, and the second between the public spaces and master suite.

Alaskan yellow cedar, which patinas to a beautiful silver tone over time, covers the home, while white oak and walnut make an appearance indoors. It’s three pavilions successfully capture the views, from the tranquil meandering view from the street to the front door to the entry garden, outdoor living room, rear fire pit and seating area. Then there’s one of the best views, the garden bridge, which can be seen from the master suite.

The simple palette and subdued volumes allow the home to fit easily into the busy neighbourhood, where it’s a peaceful escape for the homeowners.  “None of this would’ve been possible without the landscape collaboration,” Tai says. “We worked in tandem so the landscape and architecture equally challenge one another, and this is what this project is all about.”

Red cedar didn’t give the look the architects desired, so they went with a more muted Alaskan yellow cedar.

The outdoor area features an intimate gathering area around an outdoor fireplace, complete with upholstered outdoor furniture.

There are two historic oaks on the property, whose canopies overlay the home.

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