SAOTA turns Spanish-style house into Stradella villa in Bel Air

South African firm SAOTA has completed its first project in Los Angeles, which involved converting a 1970s Spanish-style residence into a more minimal dwelling. The Stradella house is situated on a promontory in Bel Air, an affluent LA neighbourhood in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Wrapped in stone, stucco and glass, the residence

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Craig Steely positions Pam and Paul’s House on hillside in Silicon Valley

US studio Craig Steely Architecture has created a two-level home for a sloped site in northern California, with vast stretches of glass that overlook the treetops. Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the residence – called Pam and Paul’s House – is located in Cupertino – the city where Apple has its vast headquarters.

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Edward Ogosta brightens Californian bungalow with Rear Window House extension

Edward Ogosta Architecture has renovated a 1940s house in California with light-filled white interiors and a master bedroom extension overlooking the garden. The house, originally built in 1944, was overhauled with a glazed expansion towards the back of the lot by the local firm. Architect Edward Ogosta and his team sought to breathe new life into

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Butler Armsden’s Valley of the Moon house in California has no front door

American firm Butler Armsden has designed this residence in northern California as a series of cedar-clad volumes, which are each accessed from a large outdoor area at the centre. The project is named Valley of the Moon as a reference to the ancient name given by Native American tribes to Sonoma Valley, which the residence overlooks. The

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High Horse Ranch by Kieran Timberlake overlooks forested valley in northern California

American firm Kieran Timberlake has used prefabricated components to create a mountaintop retreat, composed of a main dwelling wrapped in weathering steel and glass, and two micro cabins for guests. The project, called High Horse Ranch, is located just outside the town of Willits, about three hours north of San Francisco. Situated on 64 wooded acres

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Feldman Architecture completes The Shack nature retreat for creative couple in California

American studio Feldman Architecture has renovated and expanded a cottage just outside of San Francisco, adding a two-storey extension, a pool terrace and a garage blanketed with a green roof. The project, called The Shack, is located on a wooded property in Marin County, which is connected to San Francisco by the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Edmonds + Lee overhauls slender Victorian home in San Francisco

California studio Edmonds + Lee has refurbished and expanded a gabled-roof dwelling in San Francisco, transforming rooms into light-filled spaces with wood flooring and minimalist decor. Encompassing 3,000 square feet (279 square metres), the Gable House occupies a long, narrow parcel in the city’s Noe Valley neighbourhood. The residence, built in 1908, is owned by

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Martin Fenlon completes expansion of his own Los Angeles home and studio

Expanding a remodelled bungalow in Los Angeles and connecting it to an adjacent commercial building has allowed architect Martin Fenlon to create more living spaces for his family and offices for his studio. Completed over the course of almost five years, the architect conceived the Fenlon House in three phases, and built it with a

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Butler Armsden overhauls 1970s coastal home in northern California

Updated interior finishes and a new guest house are among the modifications that US studio Butler Armsden Architects has made to a 44-year-old, wood-clad residence that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The holiday home, called Bluff Reach, is situated on a rocky site overlooking the ocean and dotted with cypress trees. The dwelling is located in

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Feldman Architecture places art and yoga studios on lush California hillside

American studio Feldman Architecture has created a pair of wooden structures that are perched on a steep, forested site in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Mill Valley Cabins take their name from the northern California town where they are located. The forested site is a short distance from Muir Woods National Monument and the

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Whipple Russell creates modern white mansion overlooking Beverly Hills

Rectilinear forms and intersecting planes define this hilltop Californian home by Whipple Russell Architects, designed for a sports professional who wanted a home suitable for entertaining. The project, called Benedict Canyon, was built on a hilltop in Beverly Hills and offers far-reaching vistas of the surrounding hills. A 10-foot-high (three-metre) retaining wall had to be

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Caterpillar House by Feldman Architecture winds across central California terrain

Rammed earth and glass form the walls of this house by US studio Feldman Architecture, which was designed for a hilly property in an eco-friendly residential development near the ocean. The Caterpillar House is located in the Santa Lucia Preserve, a private development near Carmel – a town situated along the Pacific Coast. Only 10

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Field Architecture designs gabled house overlooking California vineyard

Gabled buildings wrapped in aged wood form this vineyard home, which Field Architecture designed to make the most of its setting above Napa Valley. The project, Sentinel Ridge, is located on Howell Mountain, which rises above the famed California wine valley. The residence was designed for a couple wanting a serene refuge from their home

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WOJR envisions highly sculptural House of Horns for northern California

American studio WOJR has conceived a distinctive dwelling that aims to “undermine the faux formalities” of a Spanish-style residence that was intended for the site in Silicon Valley. The House of Horns is envisioned for a hillside property in the city of Los Altos, and would be built atop the existing foundations of a Mission-style

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Creek House by Faulkner Architects preserves boulders on steep site in California

“Don’t hurt the boulders” was the request from the client who asked Faulkner Architects to design this remote getaway on a rocky site in California. The AIDS research scientist lives in New York City but desired a place to escape to. After finding a site on rough terrain leading down to a ravine in Truckee, near

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William F Cody designed Abernathy House for poolside parties in Palm Springs

Our series profiling the mid-century marvels of Palm Springs during the city’s Modernism Week concludes with the Abernathy House by American architect William F Cody, which was designed to maximise outdoor living. Cody designed the house in 1962 for James Logan Abernathy, a wealthy socialite in Palm Springs and the son of a pioneering furniture

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A-frame roofs form Charles DuBois’ Swiss Miss houses in Palm Springs

As we near the end of our series celebrating Palm Springs’ mid-century architecture, coinciding with the city’s Modernism Week, here’s a look at the chalet-esque houses that Charles DuBois designed to stand out from their neighbours. The Swiss Miss Houses were built in the Vista Las Palmas neighbourhood of Palm Springs, which was undergoing development in

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Donald Wexler pioneered prefab living in Palm Springs with Steel Houses

The seven experimental steel-framed houses that architect Donald Wexler built in Palm Springs are early examples of customisable prefab homes, and are next in our series celebrating the city’s mid-century architecture for this year’s Modernism Week. Palm Springs-based Wexler and his partner Richard Harrison designed the seven Steel Development Houses to provide a housing model

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John Lautner’s concrete domed Elrod House overlooks Coachella Valley

We’re continuing our series on modernist buildings in Palm Springs with American architect John Lautner’s Arthur Elrod House, which has a dome-shaped concrete roof and a half-moon swimming pool that featured in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. The residence sits on an elevated site in Palm Springs’ Araby Cove neighbourhood, facing north to

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Oak trees inform design of northern California home by Field Architecture

American studio Field Architecture has created a spacious house for a wooded site near San Francisco, where preserving conditions for local flora and fauna was a guiding concern for the architects. Called Forty-One Oaks, the residence is named after the precise number of oak trees found on the property – a hilly site in Portola

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Kate Ballis’ infrared photography displays California modernism in vivid hues

Australian photographer Kate Ballis has toured Palm Springs with an infrared camera and coloured filters to produce these images, which show the muted desert city in lucid purple, pink and red tones. Melbourne-based Ballis created the Infra Realism series to offer alternative views of Palm Springs’ famed mid-20th century architecture, having captured its vistas many times

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Twin Palms by E Stewart Williams provided a private retreat for Frank Sinatra

Our series covering the best mid-century architecture in Palm Springs, to coincide with the California city’s Modernism Week, continues with the sprawling estate created for music and film legend Frank Sinatra. Twin Palms was designed by E Stewart Williams, one of several architects that have become synonymous with Palm Springs’ unique brand of “desert modernism”.

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John Lautner punctured Hope Residence’s giant roof with a crater-like hole

Continuing our series celebrating Palm Springs Modernism Week, we’re examining Hope Residence, the home that American architect John Lautner designed for comedian Bob Hope to resemble a volcano. Located in Palm Springs’ Southridge community, Hope Residence was completed in 1980 as the second home of the comedian – a popular film and television star at the

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Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House epitomises desert modernism in Palm Springs

The second in our series highlighting the best buildings in Palm Springs during the city’s Modernism Week is Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House, one of the most revered examples of residential architecture in the style. Built in 1946, the boxy two-storey residence has many defining elements of modern architecture – a flat roof, pale exterior and

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Tree lichen influences design of California house by Schwartz and Architecture

Dappling shading created by Sonoma Valley’s local flora has informed elements of this T-shaped residence by American studio Schwartz and Architecture. The Lichen House is situated in the hills of the winemaking region in northern California. The residence is named after Ramalina lichen, a lacy, greenish plant that hangs from the branches of the mature

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Butterfly roofs top rural house in Carmel by Feldman Architecture

V-shaped roofs cover each of the three pavilions that make up this Californian residence by US studio Feldman Architecture, which was constructed in an environmentally sensitive private community. The Butterfly House is located in the Santa Lucia Preserve, a private development near the seaside town of Carmel. Only 10 per cent of the 20,000-acre (8,094-hectare)

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Californian ski chalet by Strawn+Sierralta draws inspiration from the slopes

Dramatic cantilevers form ski-on terraces in this slope-side retreat in Squaw Valley, California, that was recently completed by Chicago-based architects Strawn+Sierralta. The three-storey property is nestled into the terrain so that every level is accessible directly from Squaw Valley’s main run. “The home is utilized by a large extended family and a constellation of friends

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Klopf Architecture updates mid-century modern Eichler home in Silicon Valley

San Francisco studio Klopf Architecture has renovated and expanded a mid-century modern home in northern California that was built by pioneering post-war real-estate developer Joseph Eichler. The 2,285-square-foot (212-square-metre) dwelling is located in the San Mateo Highlands neighbourhood, which features numerous modern homes built by Eichler in the 1950s and 1960s. Eichler, who died in

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Burlesque act informs Welcome Projects and Boyd Design’s design for Shed House

A pair of long volumes with pitched roofs form a T-shaped plan in this Malibu home by Welcome Projects, which combines two different characters in one building. The low-slung Shed House was built and designed collaboratively by Laurel Consuelo Broughton of Welcome Projects and Michael Boyd of Boyd Design, for a client seeking to store

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Stacked volumes form Los Angeles hilltop home by Aaron Neubert Architects

Three black boxes stacked on a steep lot in Los Angeles form this residence by Aaron Neubert Architects, and create outdoor living spaces without needing to use any additional land. The Tilt-Shift House has a floor area of 2,100 square feet (195 square metres) and includes three bedrooms. It sits on a dramatic incline and

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Stripy rammed-earth walls curve through holiday home on Californian walnut farm

Red and grey tones run through the rammed earth walls that US firm Feldman Architecture has used to build this retreat on a farm in California’s Central Valley. The San Francisco-based practice designed Spring Ranch within the grounds of a walnut farm to provide a rural vacation home for a family. Three main walls follow

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Productora adds steel-frame extension to pink bungalow in Los Angeles

Mexican architecture studio Productora has attached a two-storey steel unit onto the back of a bungalow in California to add more living space. Fleischmann House is located in Echo Park, Los Angeles, on a sloped lot that was previously underused. The entire project, which measures 2370 square feet (500 square metres), included a complete remodel

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Faulkner Architects wraps Northern California home in weathering steel

For a site just outside of San Francisco, American studio Faulkner Architects has created a family residence clad in Corten steel panels and shaded by large oak trees. The residence, called Miner Road, is located in the town of Orinda, on a gently sloping site at the base of the Oakland Hills. The property encompasses

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Feldman Architecture incorporates garage-door windows into California home

Glazed garage doors surround this wood-clad residence by US firm Feldman Architecture in California’s Sonoma Valley, an area that was recently devastated by wild fires. The home is situated on a 40-acre (16-hectare) property in Healdsburg, a small town on the Russian River, in the heart of the state’s winemaking region. The area suffered major

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Tino Schaedler takes cues from movie sets for his LA family home

Large windows provide framed views of Los Angeles from this hilltop house, which German art director Tino Schaedler has designed for his family. Prior to establishing himself as a well-known art director and digital set designer, Tino Schaedler studied architecture and had a stint of time working for architect Daniel Libeskind. He and his wife artist Pia

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Andrea Lenardin Madden adds cantilevering extension to midcentury LA residence

For a 1950s home in Los Angeles’ elite Bel Air neighbourhood, architect Andrea Lenardin Madden has added an angular volume with floor-to-ceiling glass that extends over the landscape. The project entailed restoring and expanding the Ward House, a landmarked residence designed by Rodney Walker, a notable midcentury-modern architect who conceived several Case Study Houses. Built

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Splayed shipping containers form Joshua Tree Residence conceived by James Whitaker

An office comprising a cluster of angled shipping containers, proposed for a site in Germany by James Whitaker but never realised, is now being built as a home in the California desert. Photo-realistic renderings of the proposed home by the London-based designer show a cluster of white cargo containers emerging like a starburst from a

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Jensen Architects adds contemporary rear facade and pared-down interiors to historic San Francisco house

US firm Jensen Architects has revamped a Victorian home in San Francisco with perforated aluminium panels across the back and minimalist interiors to match. The local firm was awarded 2017 AIA San Francisco Historic Preservation Commendation Award for Alamo Square Residence, which features a blend of original and contemporary elements. Victorian houses are a hallmark of San Francisco’s architecture, characterised by

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Materials meet seamlessly “like an iPhone” at northern California home by Natoma Architects

San Francisco studio Natoma Architects has completed a family residence that consists of intersecting volumes, with connections between its planes of concrete and glass designed to look as minimal as possible. The Oz House is perched on a hilltop in Atherton, California, and is accessed via a winding road. In addition to the main dwelling,

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Bestor Architecture creates Malibu beach home for Beastie Boys rapper

US firm Bestor Architecture has overhauled rundown buildings in an exclusive southern California neighbourhood to create a spacious, beach-style residence for musician Mike D from the Beastie Boys. The Malibu Beach House is located in Point Dume, a promontory that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. Known for its scenic beaches and rocky coves, the

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Studio Schicketanz creates California home with glass and textured stone walls

Large expanses of glazing contrast heavy masonry portions of this residence on California’s Central Coast, designed by US firm Studio Schicketanz. The Tehama One house is located in Carmel, a scenic beach town about two hours south of San Francisco. The residence is situated within the exclusive Tehama development owned by actor Clint Eastwood, featuring a

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Venice Beach house by Electric Bowery features askew pitched roof and outdoor lounge

An off-centre pitched roof tops this house in Los Angeles’ Venice Beach, which was designed by local studio Electric Bowery to include outdoor kitchen, living and dining areas. Architecture studio Electric Bowery designed the Amoroso Residence for a secluded enclave in Venice Beach, a coastal city in the Los Angeles metro area. It is located on one of the historic pedestrian-only streets, known

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Studio William Hefner completes modernist Beverly Hills house for an art collector

Los Angeles-based Studio William Hefner has taken cues from Californian modernism to complete this house for an art collector that overlooks Beverly Hills. Studio William Hefner was tasked to design the residence in Beverly Hills’ Trousdale Estate, following the client’s unsuccessful search for a mid-century modern home with a large enough wall space to hang the larger artworks in

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Edmonds + Lee breaks tradition for gallery-like Remember House in San Francisco

US studio Edmonds + Lee Architects has used voids, large windows and white-washed interiors to open up this San Francisco property, breaking away from the tightly packed “pancake-style” layout of its neighbours. The Remember House is located on sloped road in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. The team at Edmonds + Lee Architects describes the regular layout of the neighbourhood’s four-storey

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Schwartz and Architecture overhauls San Francisco home with three-level extension

San Francisco firm Schwartz and Architecture has overhauled a single-family home on a steep and narrow site, lifting the existing building to add a storey beneath it, and creating an extension at the back over three levels. The lots that form the Californian city’s urban fabric are defined by a 25-foot (7.6-metre) grid that is “conducive

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Dan Brunn renovates Frank Gehry-designed LA house for an illustrator

A Japanese-style reading nook and a sculptural wooden staircase feature in this 1970s Los Angeles house, which has been overhauled by local studio Dan Brunn Architecture to “pay homage” to its original architect Frank Gehry. Gehry was commissioned to design the residence in the 1970s for art collectors Edwin and Ann Janss, but the couple slightly modified the plans during construction

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Edmonds + Lee creates white Switchback House for sloped street in San Francisco

The founders of US firm Edmonds + Lee Architects designed this urban dwelling for themselves, including a bright white facade, a slanted roof and retractable glass walls. Located in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighbourhood, the Switchback House sits on a steep road lined with low-scale dwellings. The site was formerly occupied by a modest, one-storey

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Glazing in jagged roof brightens Los Angeles home by Studio William Hefner

Los Angeles-based Studio William Hefner has built a local home that features abundant clerestory windows and an overhanging upper floor that shades terraces below. Situated in a residential neighbourhood in west Los Angeles, the Toulon Drive House was commissioned by a couple who wanted “an emphasis on natural light and the surrounding landscape”. A path

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Studio Bergtraun perches black cabin on steep slope in the Sierra Nevada mountains

California-based Studio Bergtraun has completed a holiday home in Tahoe, nestling a simple black volume clad in corrugated metal into the steep landscape. Alpine Meadows Cabin was completed for a family of outdoor sports enthusiasts in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. “The clients desired to create a fun-filled, cozy and informal cabin for family and

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Northern California home by Arcanum Architecture sprawls along verdant lot

San Francisco firm Arcanum Architecture has organised the massing of this large home around trees overhanging a broad lawn. The residence is situated in the Northern California town of Atherton, where the site takes up the corner of a broad avenue and a side street. The long home, named Atherton Avenue, bisects the two-acre (0.8-hectare) property

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IwamotoScott organises San Francisco home around light-filled stairwell

This house in San Francisco by local firm IwamotoScott has an angular facade made up of wooden elements, and a layout organised around a central staircase illuminated by a light well. The project is located in Noe Valley, a well-to-do area of the city. The architects were able to develop the property after a dilapidated dwelling on

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SAW inserts variation of old San Francisco home into its roof

San Francisco architecture firm Spiegel Aihara Workshop has extended a 1930s hillside residence by duplicating its layout and stacking it over the original structure, raising the home so it looks over the city’s landmarks. The A-to-Z House sits against an incline that slopes down towards the bay. Despite its ideal location, the residence was previously

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Northern California home by Klopf Architecture designed to keep a low-profile

This single-storey dwelling was designed by US studio Klopf Architecture to have a quiet presence, out of respect for neighbouring buildings and the natural context. Built for a married couple with grown children, the Sacramento Modern Residence is located in Orangevale, a sunny community near Sacramento in Northern California. The dwelling replaces a ranch home that

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Jagged roof tops video studio in Venice Beach by Modal Design

American firm Modal Design has created a studio building for a video art collector in California, which features an angular roof and multi-tonal zinc cladding. The Amoroso Video Studio sits behind a Craftsman-style home in Venice Beach, a coastal city in the Los Angeles metro area. Situated next to an alley and a public parking lot, the studio building replaced

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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson creates Silicon Valley residence with pool and meditation garden

Low-slung volumes stretch along either side of central outdoor spaces at this family home in Northern California, by American firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. The project’s name, the Los Altos Residence, refers to the Silicon Valley city where the home is located. The family dwelling – which consists of a main home and guest house – is

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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson adds ski-in, ski-out homes to California mountain resort

A set of piste-side residences by US firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson step down a portion of the Northstar mountain resort in California, allowing residents to ski in and out of their homes. The development, dubbed Stellar Residences and Townhomes, was designed to provide residents full access to the resort’s slopes. “Conceived to be efficient and

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California country home by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop features an outdoor living room

This solar-powered retreat in Northern California’s Sonoma wine region was designed by US firm Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects to include outdoor living areas and framed views of the landscape. The Sonoma Residence is situated on a lush meadow dotted with large oak trees. The site gently slopes down toward a spring-fed pond. The owners requested

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Modernist desert homes by o2 Architecture and Al Beadle complete in Palm Springs

Lance O’Donnell of o2 Architecture has overseen the completion of two dwellings in Palm Springs – a contemporary home he designed, and a never-built residence by famed mid-century modernist architect Al Beadle. The homes are referred to as the Miele Chino Canyon Project — a reference to their location within the Southern California city. The dwellings

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Minimal Hollywood house by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos juts out from steep hillside

Spanish firm Fran Silvestre Arquitectos designed the off-white angular form of this house so it would “hang from the topography” of the Hollywood Hills. Located high up in the exclusive Los Angeles neighbourhood, the yet-to-be-built minimal home was based around the client’s wishes to make the most of the site’s sweeping views. “A monolithic piece,

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Cedar-clad home in Silicon Valley enables Californian outdoor lifestyle

Providing ample outdoor living spaces was a guiding factor in the design of this Northern California dwelling by American studio Malcolm Davis Architecture. The residence in Silicon Valley – best known as California’s tech hub – is located on a gently sloping and wooded site in the San Francisco Bay area. The design team sought

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Klopf Architecture revamps mid-century modern Eichler home in California

San Francisco-based Klopf Architecture has remodelled a house built by Joseph Eichler, the post-war real estate developer who helped introduce modern housing estates to America. Built in the 1960s, the updated mid-century modern residence is located in the Silicon Valley town of Mountain View. It’s one of thousands of middle-class dwellings built by Eichler between 1949

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America’s most expensive home boasts $250 million price tag

This mansion designed for the “ultimate billionaire” in Bel Air, Los Angeles, has set the record for the priciest home ever listed for sale in the USA. For $250 million (£198 million), a proud owner can live among 12 bedroom suites, 21 bathrooms, three kitchens, five bars and a 40-seat theatre – all within a

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Sagan Piechota creates hillside California home surrounded by oak trees

A grand, open-air staircase cuts through the centre of this spacious dwelling by US firm Sagan Piechota Architecture, which was designed to blend with the natural terrain. The Santa Lucia Preserve Residence is located in Carmel Valley, a hilly region in central California dotted with wineries and golf courses. The home is set within a clearing

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Malcolm Davis creates off-grid retreat in California wine valley

This weekend retreat by American firm Malcolm Davis Architecture consists of rectilinear volumes clad in weathering steel and topped with sloped metal roofs. Called Camp Baird, the dwelling is located in Healdsburg, a small town in a popular Northern California wine region known as Sonoma Valley. It sits on a 165-acre (67 hectares) property in

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Prefabricated weathering-steel boxes form California retreat by Alchemy Architects

Minnesota-based firm Alchemy Architects has completed a home in California’s Sonoma Valley, which comprises two separate modules that were almost entirely prefabricated before being brought to site. The two modules that make up the home were the result of a cross-country collaboration between the architects and client, who is also a designer. “The home was

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Malcolm Davis creates redwood-clad Meadow House in northern California

This holiday dwelling by Malcolm Davis Architecture consists of angled wooden volumes with giant windows that provide sweeping ocean views. The Meadow House is situated at Sea Ranch, a planned community in California’s Sonoma County first set up in 1965. A popular vacation spot, the coastal village is located about 160 kilometres north of San

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Coastal California home by Hu Mn Lab+ can accommodate 200 party guests

American studio Hu Mn Lab+ has created a spacious family home in Los Angeles that appears to jut out from a hillside like dresser drawers. Called Middle House, the family residence is located in Pacific Palisades, a coastal community. The hillside dwelling sits within close proximity to the ocean and the neighbourhood’s central business district. It

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