Sausalito, California

This hillside residence sits on a very steep, constrained, and visually sensitive lot at the edge of the open space at the Marin headlands just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Summer fog is common, but on clear days there are panoramic views of Tiburon to the north, the entire expanse of San Francisco Bay to the east, and the city to the south. Substantial retaining and support walls were necessary for vehicle access and fire engine turn around requirements, and largely determined the location and footprint of the house.

The three levels of the 4000 SF house/770 SF garage step down the hillside approximating the natural slope. The garage, living areas, and master bedroom are on the entry level with kids’ bedrooms and family room on the lower level and a pair of offices on the upper most level. Predominant glazing is easterly thus suggesting the need for a strategy for prolonging the amount of direct sunlight reaching the interior. Accordingly, most of the glazing slopes back overhead to allow noon and early afternoon direct sunlight into the house. The resulting chamfered forms help the house visually connect with the site as do its flat earth covered roofs. In addition, living/dining/kitchen backlighting is provided via a long narrow skylight above a westerly light reflecting wall of corrugated sheet metal. Excess heat build-up is mitigated with a combination of roll-up shades and ventilation chimneys which exhaust heat from the highest part of the interior.