A retired couple hired Swatt Miers Architects to design a rural retreat in Sunol, California after spending many years in a city condominium. Longing for more outdoor time, they bought 5.3 acres of land that had unique views in three directions.
The house boasts hillside and canyon ridge views so patios and terraces were installed on the east and west sides of the house.
On the entry side, a tall stucco-clad, vertical element houses the bathroom and spot for the future elevator. Large overhangs provide sun protection for the outdoor spaces and the interior.
The interior features varied ceiling heights from a low entry to the two-story ceiling in the dining room.
Large windows frame the picturesque views of the rural countryside.
An open staircase doesn’t block the daylight coming in through the massive windows and it takes up very little visual space.
Sustainability played a role in the design with low VOC paints and adhesives, dye-free wool carpets, formaldehyde-free insulation and casework, roof mounted photovoltaic array and solar hot water collectors, cool-membrane roofing, hydronic in-floor radiant heating, and provisions for a future in-ground water collection system.
Photos by Russell Abraham.