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HOUSE 9: Ascension House

A secluded hillside forest shelter with an expansive view of the bay

Perched above a private driveway, hidden from the street below, the tree-like structural canopy of this hillside house merges into the natural contours of the site. Board-formed concrete walls and planters flank the entry staircase. Traversing underneath an overhead passageway, the stairs wind up at the head of a bridge that leads to the entry door. The bridge spans a lightwell garden 12 feet below. It is flanked on both sides by two 20’ spiraling steel ‘tree trunks’. Once inside the front door, the entire living room roof, supported by the ‘branches’, floats overhead with a clerestory of glass above and sliding window doors below. A panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay and the distant hills stretches across the length of the house.

As with many Cheng Design residential projects, the interior is replete with a site cast sculptural concrete kitchen island, cast bathroom sinks, and custom designed cabinetry throughout. The polished concrete floors are embedded with semi-precious stone and abstract medallions of sea shells and machined auto parts.

The wood siding is reclaimed virgin redwood sourced from trees felled nearly a century ago and pulled out of previously intractable locations. Some cabinet fronts are made of salvaged street elm and reclaimed railroad ties. Natural artisan plaster adds depth and texture to walls.

Projects like this inspire us to continue the exploration of the universal pattern language of timeless design–for our clients and for ourselves. Attention to detail and craftsmanship is our modest tribute to the sublime architecture of Nature, where infinite beauty is replicated at every scale.