The steep site was the most significant challenge. The access point on to the property sits approximately 25’ above the desired auto court level. In addition, the existing driveway was not up to code, which required it to be wider and less steep. The other challenge that further complicated the grading was the desire for the great room to walk out on to natural grade and not be suspended in the air with a deck. This greatly impacted the house’s entry sequence. The design team approached the entry sequence by setting the great room floor level 5’-6” below the auto court level, which opened the opportunity to create a dynamic and experiential entry through a sunken rock garden. Rather than immediately stepping into the home from the auto court, guest now leave the car behind and journey down over large natural rock outcroppings and over a stone bridge leading to the front door.
The sustainability efforts included a 16kW photovoltaic array, continuous wrapped insulation, and advanced mechanical systems. Passive solar strategies were also used to create less dependency on mechanical controls. The exterior materials were carefully researched for their durability, low-maintenance and were sourced locally, when possible.
An indoor/outdoor experience was a critical design objective. The house was situated so that it is unmistakably nestled and deeply rooted to the land. The native grasses from the pasture below were intentionally introduced into the property to honor and respect the context as if the house has always been there.