The Turner family had cherished their previous home—a traditional, yellow Victorian that had a unique personality and was a well-known and admired landmark in Larkspur, California. But when a ridge-top lot came available, the family turned to Jensen Architects to put together a home that was more modern, but would still be a place they could call home.
“The goal was to make the building disappear into the landscape,” notes Jensen Architects. “The site itself is stunning: the ridgeline of an oak-covered hill with views of Mount Tamalpais, the Bay, and beyond. The idea was to make a house that allowed for living on the ridge without diminishing the ridge and its vantage point.” To do that, Jensen designed a home with no perimeter shear walls, which made the house look as though it mimicked the oaks that surrounded it.
Sliding glass windows can completely retract into the core of the home, leaving behind only a pool patio with a shade canopy. The core is clad in mirror panels that further hide the building and help to blend it into the surroundings. To keep from interrupting the flow of the ridgeline, an innovative system of footings and plinths was used. The roof structure consists of steel beams that are covered in a lightweight steel deck
The living room of the home is set above the oaks, providing a stunning view of Mount Tamalpais. The northeast end of the home houses the dining room, kitchen, pool, and the main terrace. With so much oak surrounding the home, it only makes sense that the interior is also dominated by the beautiful wood.
The rich grain of the wood helps to provide a sense of warmth for the home. The entire third floor also makes uses of a layered approach that helps conserve energy by providing natural light and atmosphere. A system of transparent, translucent, and perforated screens with curtains allow for natural airflow to keep the home cool or, when closed, to keep the home warm.
The Turners may have left behind a landmark home that was both beautiful and comfortable, but they did so to move into a new landmark that will be just as comfortable, if not more so.