Williams Residence – Revised Scheme

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Mill Valley, California

williams1 williams2 williamsplan1 williamsplan2


DESIGN CONCEPT
The owners of this house wanted a house to take full advantage of the expansive views of Mount Tamalpais to the west.  They also wanted a house that would not only accommodate the busy, somewhat messy, lifestyle of a family that includes two children, but also that would be amenable to entertaining family and friends.  Diagrammatically, the house is a rectangle bent to follow the contour of the steeply-sloped site.  A retaining wall in the front of the house creates a level, grassy terrace facing the view where otherwise a spacious yard would not be possible.  The second level steps back into the hill and away from the front of the lower level, creating outdoor living spaces off the rooms.  The first floor is separated from the terrace by an accent wall that extends upward and becomes the railing for terraces on the second level.  With the use of abutting windows, this accent wall appears separated from the rooms, as if it is running along, but in front of, the front of the house.  The entry is a taller cubic form that straddles, or is cut in half by, the accent wall.  The main living space is the great room that consists of a kitchen, dining and living room.  Because the great room is the signature room of the house, it serves, for the most part, as the “breakfast” and “family” rooms – more informal than one might imagine “dining” and “living.”  There is also a small media/family room at the far end of the house, where the television would be relegated, rather than the its attempting to compete with the great room’s fireplace and views.  The upper level consists of the bedrooms, an office and the laundry/service rooms.  These rooms have vaulted ceilings, supported by large exposed beams, sloping upward from the back of the house towards large window-walls and terraces in the front.

 

 

Williams Residence – Original Scheme

Mill Valley, California

williams1 williams2 williamsplan1 williamsplan2


DESIGN CONCEPT
The owners of this house wanted a house to take full advantage of the expansive views of Mount Tamalpais to the west.  They also wanted a house that would not only accommodate the busy, somewhat messy, lifestyle of a family that includes two children, but also that would be amenable to entertaining family and friends.  The main plan requirement is the great room, located on the first level, which consists of a kitchen, dining and living space.  Because this room is the signature room of the house, it serves, for the most part, as the “breakfast” and “family” rooms – more informal than one might imagine “dining” and “living.”  The primary room on the upper level is the family room, where the television would be relegated, rather than its attempting to compete with the great room’s fireplace and views.  There is a large roof terrace off the family room, with an outdoor fireplace as well as views of the mountain.  This level also contains the two children’s bedrooms as well as the master suite with its deck, held up by large brackets.  One flight up, at the top of the tower, is a small office, with even more large view windows. The massing of the house consists of a great room/family room “wing” (the more public areas) connected at a slight angle to the bedroom “wing” (the more private areas) by a square, stained wood-clad tower, the vertical circulation of the house being represented by the its verticality.  The tower punches through both levels of the house, intersecting the main rooms slightly, its finish and its slight angle providing a contrasting focal point throughout the house.  On the exterior, the tower acts as a visual anchor, linking the house to the site.  Most of the main rooms of the house have vaulted ceilings, supported by large exposed beams, sloping upward towards large window-walls.  Large sliding glass panels or French doors in these window-walls allow the rooms to be opened up to the exterior terraces, blurring the line between indoors and outdoors.