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Modern on the Waterfront

The client’s brief was simple: design a minimalist, sophisticated yet unpretentious, home on the water for him and his family. The design process began by studying the site context with an eye to the client’s Scandinavian heritage. The property had an aging 1960s ranch house tear-down, located on a flat waterfront lot, with unobstructed bay and mountain views beyond, but was constrained on two sides and by a busy street at the front. The design concept emphasizes horizontal lines and blurs the boundary between inside and outside to create a voluminous and expansive feeling. Simple geometries are cantilevered and extended to create sculptural outdoor rooms and courtyards that take advantage of the Bay Area climate while still providing relief from wind and sun.

The home is clad in Thermory, a cedar-like material enhanced to withstand extreme weather, and Portuguese limestone that seamlessly moves from inside to out. Côte d’Azur limestone floors continue through the property from the entrance, through the courtyard, house and beyond to the waterfront patio.

The three modestly sized bedrooms upstairs evoke the feeling of smart cabin rooms on a cruise ship with floor to ceiling water-facing windows that stretch the width of the home. The children's bedrooms have a hidden sliding door between them, allowing them to maximize play space when desired, but also provide privacy when needed.

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Federico Engel



Jason O'Rear

General Contractor

Fontana Construction

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