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Sustainable Home Wraps Around Man Made Pond and Lush Landscaping


The Atherton House is located on a peninsula south of San Francisco, California – on a lot that previously held a 1950s home. The original home needed removing but the man made pond and the mature landscaping that surrounded it was a gold mine. The homeowners approached Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects to design a new home for them that worked with the landscape and turned it into a feature item of their residence, maximizing its drama and creating an atmosphere of their own personal and private retreat.


Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects created a design that divided the home into four distinct volumes: the main living area, a separate office building, the garage (which is joined to the main building with a covered walkway) and a separate pool house with pool on the far side of the pond. All four volumes face toward the pond creating a private oasis exposed to the interior zones via large walls of glazings.


The main living areas are wrapped on the outside with a terrace that extends over the edge of the pond and large sliding glass doors that open wide to create that sought after indoor/outdoor experience. The layout of this structure starts with the Master Suite on one end, then the living room, dining area and finally a family room on the other end with the kitchen behind it.


The master suite faces not to the pond, but to the landscaping just beyond it. The pond actually dips into a void on the facade, creating a natural separation between the private and social zones.


Behind the master bedroom is a large walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom, which faces out to the front and side of the home. Large glass sliders open from the ensuite to a private garden terrace surrounded on two sides with privacy fencing.


A hallway leads from the master suite to the living room where a large wood burning fireplace competes with the landscaping for attention.


Next to the living room is the dining area. Large and spacious there is enough room for a 10-seater table. There is also a floating wall that has dining storage on one side and the family room’s media center on the other. Just outside the stand-alone office building is visible at the end of the pond.


The family room is a cozy light filled space with sliding glass doors on both the window walls that open up to a large outdoor lounge and dining area.


Behind the family room is the kitchen. Positioned at the front of the home the views are not to the pond, but to the equally private front yard and while windows are everywhere – there is also a skylight above the island to ensure plenty of natural daylight.


Aside from the two sections of large glass sliders in the family room, there is also a door next to the kitchen that opens up to the terrace. This is also the door used to access the building from the garage which creates a nice backdrop to the outdoor lounge area.


Just behind the outdoor sitting area is an al fresco dining zone and beside that is the stand alone office.


As amazing as the main building is, I think I would spend all my time in the office. What a space to be creative – what a space to think – what a space to dive into projects. It really is a private retreat, but of the working kind.


While the main building, garage and office create an “L” shape around the pond, a little further into the backyard is where the pool and pool house are located.


The lap pool, Jacuzzi and pool house are a private sanctuary amidst a much larger oasis and feature their own outdoor lounge and dining areas as well as a large outdoor kitchen.


Aside from the lush landscaping, water features and relaxing interior zones, Alberton House also features hidden photovoltaic and solar hot water panels on the roof, a radiant heating system in the stone floors and passive cooling via the large roof overhangs, shades and operable windows. Additional green features are the high fly-ash concrete, formaldehyde free trim work and denim insulation.
Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects


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