A CRAFTSMAN IN SILICON VALLEY

The clients of this home had fallen in love with a neighborhood of modest Craftsman style houses in Silicon Valley. They purchased two undistinguished, non-Craftsman homes on adjacent lots and asked me to combine the lots and replace the homes with a new 14,000 s.f. home. 

 

This was quite a challenge. How could a such a large house work in a neighborhood of modest Craftsman Style homes. The neighborhood was already beset with at least one very large house per block, usually set behind tall walls and gates that concealing their bulk, excluded the neighborhood.  

 

My clients loved this area’s wood shingled, deeply roofed, shaded front porch Craftsman homes set behind lawns and low picket fences. I was told the new house should have only be a low picket fence between itself and the sidewalk. The neighborhood had a tradition of its homeowners presenting interesting interiors for passersby to see when on after dinner or holiday strolls. I was told my clients wanted to do the same, with several large rooms to be seen through windows facing the street. 

 

Though immense, the bulk of the house is carefully hidden from view. A narrow, two story element winds around several large, interior and exterior courtyards set behind the front of the house. Parts of the house are below ground. The front of the house sets up a sense of a smaller house that had been added onto over time. Multiple gabled elements populate the front upper roofscape, breaking up the roof profile. And below these roofs, the house has rambling exterior elements that overlap and taper off in the distance. 

 

There is a central front door set on a front porch. Yet, like most Silicon Valley residents, they enter their home by car. They were collectors of old cars, but their cars were not to be part of the public focus of the home. The nearest neighboring home was a classic, well detailed, modest, wide porch Craftsman home. The only way I could think of how this large new home could co-exist with its neighbor was to break apart my clients’ multi-car garage, creating an intimate, wide gabled, single car garage to sit next to it. Walking by, next comes a small driveway that passes under the beginning of the home’s second story. This conceals the open air court for cars with access to the garages, and a sunny outlook for the family kitchen and the neighbor's side windows. The informal house entry is set in the corner of the court, sheltered by the overhead second floor. 

© 2020 by Glenn Robert Lym