Portola Valley Prairie

While developing this beautiful, undeveloped site that lies in a prominent view shed, the architect was inspired to create a design that digs into the site with low massing.  The home’s L-shaped layout lies low on the brow of a grassy knoll, sunken into the site and depressed into the contours of the hill.  The form’s longer wing houses a spacious joint kitchen, dining room, and living area whose floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows open onto a private patio.  They both open the home to the surrounding landscape and invite views of the prairie into the house, seamlessly merging interior and exterior spaces.  Splayed concrete walls, diminishing in height as they approach the house, guide the eye towards Windy Hill on the horizon.

The site moves through and over the home; a green roof over the garage acts as an extension of the prairie, and visually permeable rooms allow the meadow to continuously flow across the site.  The house’s cedar siding, stained a warm grey and complimented by the crisp horizontal lines of the black roofs, further embeds the house in its natural surroundings and strikes a balance between rural and modern aesthetics.


Contractor: Art of Construction
Landscape Architect: Lutsko & Associates
Structural Engineer: Strandberg Engineering
Civil Engineer: BKF Engineers
Lighting Designer: Kim Cladas Lighting Design
Interior Designer: Stephanie Zaharias Design