The project, California Meadow House, is located in Woodside – an affluent town near Silicon Valley. Designed by architect Jim Olson of the Seattle firm Olson Kundig, the residence was created for a client who loves entertaining and social connectedness.
The house sits on a 3.5-acre (1.4-hectare) property that is divided into two parts: one suggests a human touch upon the landscape, while the other is meant to be wilder in character.
The home is approached via a curved driveway that passes by old-growth olive trees, a small vineyard and a garden.
Encompassing 17,000 square feet (1,579 square metres), the home consists of low-lying, rectilinear pavilions arranged in an L-shaped formation around outdoor spaces.
“Envisioned as a singular continuous, flowing expression, this family estate designed by Jim Olson links architecture, interior design, art and landscape into an integrated whole,” the team said.
Exterior walls are sheathed in stucco and aluminium panels. Trellis-style roof overhangs help shade patios, walkways and large stretches of glass.
“Trellises weave over these spaces, providing shade from the California sun and further blending the home into the landscape,” the team said.
At the core of the house is the public zone, including the main living and dining area.
“Unified around the central ‘home base’ living area, views radiate from this core in four directions across several reflecting pools to vistas into gardens and the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains,” the team said.
To the east of the public area is the private portion of the residence, including a main suite, office and three children’s bedrooms. This part of the dwelling opens toward a wild meadow.
South of the public zone are three auxiliary buildings. One serves as a two-bedroom guesthouse, while the others hold an outdoor living pavilion and a dining pavilion with an underground pub.
The auxiliary buildings are arranged in a staggered formation and echo the organisation of the adjacent vineyard.
Throughout the residence, the team incorporated ample glazing to provide a seamless connection to the outdoors. A U-shaped window in the dining pavilion lowers completely into the ground.
In the subterranean pub, countertops are made of a repurposed wooden telephone pole. Similarly, a salvaged redwood slab was used to clad a bar in the outdoor living pavilion.
Olson designed numerous pieces of decor for the residence, including the dining and living room furniture, exterior lounge furniture, the main suite’s bed and nightstands, and several lighting fixtures. Steel, nickel, teak and leather are among the materials used to fabricate the pieces.
“Olson also helped to curate an international contemporary art collection for the owners of the home, complementing its architectural expression,” the team added.
The residence is designed to produce as much energy as it uses. The team incorporated geothermal and hydronic systems for heating and cooling, along with solar panels that cover over half the roof area.
“The result is a home integrated with nature, not only philosophically and visually, but from a practical perspective as well,” the architect said.
Founded in 1967, Olson Kundig is known for creating distinctive, modern-style homes in natural settings. Other projects by the firm include the Hale Lana residence in Hawaii, which is lifted above a lava bed, and the Wasatch House in Utah, which consists of pavilions connected by glazed walkways.
The photography is by Matthew Millman.
Architect: Olson Kundig
Project team: Jim Olson (design principal), Olivier Landa (project manager), Alivia Owens (project architect), Blair Payson (project architect), Christine Burkland (interior design), Angus MacGregor, Laura Bartunek, Daichi Yamaguchi, and architectural staff
General contractor: Barnett Company
Civil engineer: MacLeod and Associates
Landscape architect: Surface Design
Structural engineer: PCS, Structural Engineer
Mechanical engineer: WSP Group
Electrical engineer: Susanna Van Leuven
Lighting design: BHLD
Audio visual: Barker Company
Wine storage: Phil Finer Refrigeration & Air Conditioning