The three-bedroom home was designed for a couple with two young sons, who wanted a distinctive home imbued with an environmental ethic. “They wanted to construct a house that was deeply ecologically site-specific, energy-efficient, and had a strong design identity,” said Faulkner Architects, a studio based in Truckee, California. The project began as a remodel of a 1954 ranch house at the foot of a hill next to a seasonal creek, in Orinda, California. After finding the existing structure and soil to be unsuitable, the direction settled on reusing the existing footprint under the shade of a Valley Oak that had grown up close to the original house.
The surviving portion of the original house is the fireplace which was wrapped in concrete and utilized for structural support. The family desired an open living layout that connected directly to the landscape . A mezzanine plan evolved with a double height family space nested with a master bedroom and study stacked above the kitchen and nook. A screened pacing deck for long phone calls shades the upper level from afternoon summer sun. A 14-gauge Corten rain screen provides a no-maintenance skin. High levels of insulation and glazing efficiency reduce heating and cooling. The house presents a relaxed and quiet built environment that allows the senses to focus on the natural environment.