The original home in the Lindenwood neighborhood of Atherton, California, was a Mid-Century Modern designed in the late 1950’s. The client loved the “bones” of the home and planned an extensive upgrade, but a 125’ tall pine tree on the property changed everything. Without warning, it fell across the bedroom wing of the house and crushed it.

The owner requested that the replacement house evoke the classic mid-century modernist style of the original – a single story home with sweeping horizontal lines and a seamless connection with the outdoors – without slavishly mimicking it. Our task was to amplify authentic modernist roots and expand on them.

We designed a roof with generous 7’ eaves to float as a canopy over the main living, dining and kitchen footprint. A band of continuous clerestory glass lets indirect light into the space. Two extensive garden lightwells were dug out adjacent to the below-grade basement space. They flood the interior with light so that it feels as though one were on the ground floor and not 12’ underground.

Throughout the house, specialized, high-performance white concrete was designed for the perimeter structural walls – some were board-formed, some cast against hyper-smooth, glossy, laminated plywood forms, and some were cast into our proprietary abstract art molds to accentuate sculptural relief. Concrete sculptural furniture, countertops, sinks and floors compliment and reinforce the all-white aesthetic. A majority of the interior wood framed walls were paneled with Japanese Ash with flush doors that blend seamlessly with the walls.

Time will tell if our adaptations and details make a subtle contribution to the evolution of this timeless vernacular.