Simplicity Of Line
Award-winning architects Swatt | Miers conjure a private Silicon Valley residence that embodies effortless elegance.
They have done it again. The team from Swatt | Miers has been on a veritable roll for the past 20 years crafting homes and commercial buildings that express a crisp, contemporary point of view that places the utmost value on beauty, sustainability, and user responsiveness. The wonderful private home on these pages is a prime example of what this firm does so well.
Notes Bob Swatt, “Our clients discovered this property in Atherton with marvelous mature trees and brought us in to rethink the site and create a forever home. They are young, with children, and wanted an informal space that would suit their lifestyle and maximize indoor/outdoor flow.” To that end, the architects designed an L shaped structure with the short leg of the L facing west and the long side of the L running east to west. The shape of the structure and its placement on the property allows for spectacular green space that can be accessed from every room on the ground floor. The grounds were beautifully designed by landscape architect Bernard Trainor of Ground Studio and include a pool, sport court, and planting beds. “The patio areas have these incredibly long horizontal extensions that are topped with sleek aluminum trellises,” says Swatt. “The interplay of shadow and dappled light from them throughout the day is marvelous.” A peaceful water feature leads to the home’s front door. Once inside, a dramatic wall of INAX ceramic tile from Japan offers striking texture.“The home’s single vertical element,” shares Swatt, “is the striking stairwell that features a stack of windows along the far corner and elegant glass railings to maximize light.” The top floor includes a series of bedrooms with en-suite Jack-and-Jill baths with garden views, while the lower level features a wine cellar and gym.
An extraordinary highly polished concrete floor that more closely resembles stone was expertly poured to run the length of the main level through the living room, office, kitchen, and dining room. “At first,” notes Swatt, “the home owner did not want a formal dining room—keeping everything casual was key to them. But as the design process continued, they realized that in the future, it might be something they would consider, so we created a very flexible space with 15-and-a-half-foot ceilings that is now tasked as a play room/homework/ piano area.” The kitchen features double islands with waterfall stone countertops that contrast with striking quarter-sawn eucalyptus cabinetry by Arclinea. Top-of-the-line appliances from Gaggeneau, Miele, and Sub-Zero ensure that cooking is a dream. Interior designer Connie Wong from the Swatt | Miers team selected contemporary furnishings that emphasize the home’s clean lines; for instance, the sculptural “Big Bang” pendant by Foscarini makes an impressive statement over a large dining table, and the slim-back leather chairs are from B&B Italia. In the living room, a low-slung sectional sofa by Minotti sourced from Akitektura in San Francisco provides plenty of room for entertaining. The INAX ceramic tile from the foyer is repeated on the massive hearth that includes a fireplace by Ortal. “The garden was key to this design,” says Wong, “so we purposefully selected a restrained color palette, allowing the seasonal colors of the garden to play their pivotal role.” When asked about his favorite aspect of this finished project, architect Robert Swatt reflects, “I think it lives well. I like the simplicity—it’s quiet and elegant, working in harmony with the site.”