Inside a Stunning Contemporary Bay Area Home That Encapsulates California Living

Nestled on a quiet street in the Bay Area, behind a tree-lined perimeter, lies an unsuspecting architectural marvel. A rolling lawn and shaggy, tall grasses beckon to the main house, a structure composed of volumes of concrete, steel, and glass. A shimmering Olympic-length pool extends through the backyard. An elevated steel footbridge leads to the front door.

It took an all-star team to devise this dream family home from the ground up. The clients tapped Tom Kundig of Seattle-based AD100 firm Olson Kundig to execute the architecture, while San Francisco–based AD100 designer Nicole Hollis conceived the elevated yet cozy interiors.

“This is a forever home for them,” Kundig says. “They see it as multigenerational.”

The clients, who have four children, wanted to build a contemporary home promoting indoor-outdoor living, including sport courts to support their active lifestyle. They had already worked with Tom on a home in Hawaii, and wanted to continue the collaboration.

Built from board-formed concrete, steel panels, and glass with support from Dowbuilt, the home’s exterior is designed to complement the rolling landscape—masterminded by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects—and encourage a seamless transition between inside and out. The floor-to-ceiling windows aren’t just for show—many of the walls open onto the lawn on alfresco seating areas. Kundig also added three small reflecting pools around the home’s perimeter, both to bounce sunlight onto the walls and surrounding vegetation and cool the air.

“I think the most interesting part of a house is how it reacts to the exterior,” Kundig says. “So the materials are intentionally simple.”

It can be a challenge to accommodate large-scale art in a house with so many windows, but Kundig designed the layout to highlight the client’s art collection by strategically placing large walls in spaces where they wouldn’t interrupt the flow of the floor plan.

“It’s not a whole bunch of little walls. It’s about balancing the big window views with the big wall views,” Kundig explains. In the kitchen, for example, across from the marble island, a painting by Oscar Murillo has space to shine.

Nicole Hollis brought her elevated eye to the interiors, dreaming up sophisticated living spaces with subtle pops of color. Amidst the home’s soothing, neutral palette, there were moments where the clients requested “a little more whimsy,” as Hollis explains.

In the formal living room, a curving teal velvet sofa joins a topaz-colored wingback chair next to the fireplace, while in the formal dining room, chairs in multi-colored velvets surround the blackened oak table.

Hollis, who is known for forging relationships between her clients and artists, commissioned some site-specific works, including a bronze screen by Los Angeles–based sculptor David Wiseman dappled with whimsical animal motifs. Separating the formal dining room from the formal living room, the piece, which is operable, is Wiseman’s first ever double-sided screen. “Where we didn’t have walls for art, there was an opportunity for three-dimensional sculpture,” Hollis says.

The home was also designed with kids in mind, Hollis explains. “It was important to have multiple areas for kids to hang out,” she says, from their bedrooms to the downstairs game room to an alcove off of the kitchen where they can do their homework.

Although intentionally small to encourage socializing in the common areas, the children’s rooms were designed with an exacting attention to detail. “We spent a lot of time on the kids’ rooms and adding their personal aesthetics to each room, which was so fun,” Hollis adds.

The primary bedroom is a serene space away from it all, with a neutral color palette and custom bed and nightstands by Hollis. Curtains pull aside to reveal a sweeping view of the pool.

The home has no shortage of such picture-perfect vistas, but Kundig notes that the aesthetic is only one part of what makes this project sing. “There’s this easy transparency between inside and outside,” he says. “It’s a California house; it’s what California is supposed to be about.”

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