Tucked away in 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 planned a modest remodel. Soon after moving in, the pair recognized the inefficiencies of their new home – low roof eaves curiously obstructed the otherwise spectacular views, spurring their desire to open and modernize the design. Our team set out to craft a respectful enrichment of the home’s original form, focusing in on a site-sensitive response to the steep, challenging plot.
Perched atop a precipitous site, the structure has 180-degree views with a deck that runs around its perimeter. The original central courtyard, once open-to-sky, transformed into the kitchen – an appropriate gesture for an aspiring baker and a family of food enthusiasts. A large circular skylight streams daylight into the kitchen, creating a makeshift sundial that illuminates different sections of custom curved casework throughout the day. An outdoor deck is strategically carved out at the intersection of the living room and kitchen – framing sprawling views of the South Bay. A Japanese style of charred wood siding, called Shou Sugi Ban, seamless concrete floors, crisp curved white walls, and minimalist interiors let the colorful and dramatic views speak first.
Beyond the imaginative design and technically skilled execution, the home, at its core, is a vessel for experiencing the ethereal beauty of the surroundings. “I just love the way the building opens up to the land, how it interacts with the site. The views and just the experience — what it really feels like from inside out—that, to me, is maybe the biggest success of the project” Steven Stept, AIA, Partner in Charge for Dwell Magazine.
LOCATION Los Altos Hills, California
Landscape Architect: Variegated Green
General Contractor: Baywest Builders
Lighting Design: Tucci Lighting
Structural Engineer: BKG Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer: Lea & Braze Engineering, Inc.
Geotechnical Consultant: Romig Engineers Inc
Arborist: Urban Tree Management
Photography: Adam Rouse
Process Case Study: Round House