Menlo Park

Interior Design: Stephanie Zaharias Design
Contractor: Art of Construction
Photography: Paul Dyer

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2018 AIA San Mateo Merit Award, Residential Architecture

Courtyard Residence
A desire to live in a garden gave way to four pavilions in the woods.

This modern house was designed to be in dialogue with its environs. Nestled among a heritage redwood and mature oaks in upscale suburban Menlo Park, this home was conceptualized as four pavilions in a garden. Connected by glass walkways, the pavilions form a three-sided outdoor courtyard that places the garden at the center. Large, floor-to-ceiling glazed walls and sliding doors blur the lines between indoors and out, affording outdoor access year-round.

The 6,922-sf, two-story space balances quietude and family togetherness with each pavilion marrying form and function. A covered walkway guides you to the first pavilion — a grand, double-height “living” space that spills onto an expansive backyard, complete with raised pool and lounge areas; perfect for entertaining. The adjacent “eating” pavilion provides opportunity to gather round the kitchen island while overlooking the great room. Opposite, the semi-private, his and her “study” pavilion is connected to the “sleeping” pavilion which houses the master suite and kids’ bedrooms.

Passive strategies drove the design. Skylights provide stack-effect ventilation and work in concert with the operable windows and doors to pull in daylight and air. Photovoltaics, radiant heating and a whole house fan reduce energy loads. A durable, low-maintenance material palette of cedar, steel, and glass, not only withstand the daily wear-and-tear of two teenagers (one a soccer aficionado), but also creates a restrained modern vision in a neighborhood that is typically known for its faux historical styles.

The result is a highly functioning house that combines a woodsy, rural sensibility with Miesian precision.