Overlook Guest House by Schwartz and Architecture is located in Los Gatos, California, on an extremely steep slope covered in trees. The cantilevered guesthouse was designed as an in-law suite for an aging family member with mobility challenges that would allow them to continue living within their own private space while keeping them close to other family members.
A 2-bedroom, 775sqft dwelling, Overlook Guest House is a creative and unique design that boasts a large round oculus in the covered terrace between the garage and the living space.
The oculus serves several purposes, its beautiful, it lets sun and starlight enter the terrace, and it also allows heat to rise and disperse without getting trapped by the continuous roof-line above.
The wooded site required an efficient and sensitive footprint that would affect the surrounding flora and fauna as little as possible.
The foundation is a low impact drilled pier system that supports the structure as it cantilevers over the steep slope, balancing cut and fill while maximizing the surrounding views.
A double volume space consisting of a garage on the right and the living quarters on the left, a continuous roof and floor line connects the two zones while at the same time creating a sheltered terrace under that amazing oculus.
The terrace has a built in seating area to enjoy the views through the tempered glass rail system with the main entrance to the living area just off to the side.
Across from the main entrance is the garage door; both doors are located next to the glass railing to maximize the enjoyment of the view as one travels from car to living space.
The main entrance is a wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and opens to the living room, with the dining room next to it and the kitchen on the far side.
A large travel corridor is kept clear of furniture to allow for easy maneuvering of a wheelchair.
A small energy efficient fireplace is tucked into the corner between the two sofas, keeping the sitting area warm and cozy during the winter and cool summer evenings.
Doors on either side of a feature wall with a bold yellow abstract on it lead to the second half of the structure which holds the two bedrooms and bathroom.
Schwartz and Architecture.
Photography by Mathew Millman.
Some of the most amazing homes are being built on cliffs whether cantilevered like Overlook Guest House is or perched on a boulder that protrudes over the cliff face. One reason is these sites prior to the most recent advances in building technologies have not been suitable for building and now that they are, architects are taking note and designing unique and beautiful houses. This is not the first steep slope or cliff house that Schwartz and Architecture has built, one of their more unique designs is on a steep slope covered in multiple rows of misshapen wood slats.