Tucked away in the Los Altos hills, the aptly named Round House is a geometrically unique structure; one of a few similarly shaped homes built in California in the 60s. The clients fell in love with this quirky circular house and initially had the desire to remodel. Soon after moving in, the pair recognized the inefficiencies of their new home. The low window eaves curiously obstructed the otherwise spectacular views, spurring their desire to revamp and modernize the property. Owner and architect saw the opportunity to further its true design potential and the original remodel evolved into a beautiful enhancement of its sui generis form.
Perched atop a precipitous site, the building has 180 degree views with a deck that runs around its perimeter. The original central courtyard, once open-to-sky, becomes the kitchen – an appropriate gesture for an aspiring baker and a family that sees the kitchen as the heart of the house. A large circular skylight streams daylight into the kitchen with its custom curved casework.
From the main entrance, visitors can effortlessly progress through the living room, kitchen, and spacious deck, before circumnavigating the house via wrap-around walkway. A concentric hallway drapes around the kitchen leading to discrete pie-shaped rooms – carefully arranged; demarcating the private from the public. A cuneate outdoor deck is strategically carved out at the intersection of the Great Room and kitchen – framing unparalleled views of the Bay. Tall pocket doors from both spaces vanish into the walls, asserting a strong indoor-outdoor connection. The more modest perimeter deck allows outdoor access from all the bedrooms, while curved landscape walls radiate outward merging into softscape.
A Japanese style of charred wood siding, called Shou Sugi Ban, and seamless concrete floors in combination with hardwood floors add warmth and richness to an otherwise minimalist interior. Due to the challenges of its circular form, the project team had to look for creative solutions in each aspect of the venture. Most conventional solutions favor straight geometry, which made for a refreshing intervention that is an honest response to the constraints of this unique project.
LOCATION Los Altos Hills, California
General Contractor: Baywest Builders
Landscape Design: Variegated Green
Lighting Designer: Tucci Lighting
Civil Engineer: Lea + Braze Engineering Inc
Structural Engineer: BKG Structural Engineers
Geo-technical Consultant: Romig Engineers