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California Idyll: A Pitched-Roof Midcentury Revival with Dramatic Valley Views


California Idyll: A Pitched-Roof Midcentury Revival with Dramatic Valley Views

August 21, 2017

In wooded Portola Valley, California, just south of San Francisco, architect Malcolm Davis resuscitated a dysfunctional 1960s house, whose original design had long been lost to a series of unfortunate remodels. By the time he arrived, “it was cut up in a funny way,” said the architect. “There wasn’t a thread of logic to it.”

For starters, the design didn’t take advantage of the hillside site and the striking valley views it afforded. The living room and master bedroom had only eight-foot ceilings and were tucked on the ground floor next to the pool. It was also too small for the clients, a young couple just starting a family.

Davis, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, retained the structure’s good qualities, including “a nice, midcentury modern, pitched roof shape and beautiful exposed beam ceilings.” Capitalizing on the hillside site, he dropped the ground level about six feet to give generously tall ceilings to a new family room and guest suite. And he added a new master wing with wraparound deck and floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the dramatic views.

N.B.: Today on Gardenista we’re featuring the exterior of the house.

Photography by Joe Fletcher, courtesy of Malcolm Davis Architect.

kitchen malcolm david wood floor island stools lofted ceiling
Above: The kitchen island is faced in reclaimed Douglas fir with white granite countertops. At the back, countertops are black flamed granite.
malcolm davis white tile backsplash pantry kitchen wood floors
Above: The stove backsplash is dual-glazed white tile from Heath. A door on each side of the stove leads to a walk-through pantry with white laminated glass doors and a window inside.
malcolm davis california living room lofted ceilings wood floors
Above: The view from the kitchen over the living room toward the dining room. The beamed ceilings are original to the house.
malcolm davis california white ceilings dining room round table
Above: Davis is especially taken with the dining room, which offers the best views through its new wraparound balcony. It’s enclosed on three sides by full-height retractable glass doors outfitted with screens and wood-and-steel shutters. As a result, “the dining room can be three different rooms,” said Davis. “The homeowners can dine inside a glass box, a shuttered pavilion, or a screened-in porch.”
living room malcolm davis shades drawn
Above: When the shutters are drawn, said Davis, the room looks “almost like a lantern. On a hot day, it creates this beautiful filtered light.”
study shades drawn malcolm davis portola
Above: Directly beneath the dining room is a small study with windows on three sides, each with automatic translucent shades to keep the hot valley sun at bay.
exterior window malcolm davis california study
Above: A view into the study. The furniture was chosen by interior designer Lori Yeomans.
master bedroom wood floors forest windows ceiling fan malcolm davis
Above: The view from the master bedroom. The new porch wraps around the entire top floor of the house.
white bathroom shiplap black tile floors malcolm davis
Above: The master bathroom has a slate tile floor and white ceramic tile from Fireclay in the shower surround.
master bathroom slate floors private garden white bathtub malcolm davis
Above: A private garden just outside the master bathroom is for the couple to enjoy just for themselves.
malcolm davis wood ceiling study couch office
Above: In a separate guest wing adjacent to the pool: an art studio for one of the homeowners, who was trained in graphic design.
bedroom malcolm davis sconce floating side table white walls
Above: The ground-floor guest bedroom. Interior walls are painted in Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore. (It’s one of our professional directory members’ 10 Paint Colors with Cult Followings.)
malcolm davis master bathroom wood ceiling walk in shower window
Above: The guest bathroom. A full-height window in the shower gives guests the feeling of bathing in the tree canopy.
beamed ceilings family room malcolm davis portola
Above: An open-air “lanai” on the ground floor opens onto the outdoor dining patio and pool and serves as indoor/outdoor lounge space for entertaining or as an informal living room when guests are in town.
malcolm davis california indoor outdoor living deck pool tree 2   1
Above: The property feels secluded in the valley; the closest neighboring house is 500 feet away.

See the rest of exterior today on Gardenista.

For more from the architect, see:

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Frequently asked questions

Who is Malcom Davis?

Malcom Davis is an architect and designer based in San Francisco.

What is the Portola House?

The Portola House is a residential project designed and built by Malcom Davis in San Francisco.

What is the design approach of Malcom Davis?

Malcom Davis believes in creating functional and inspiring spaces that reflect the unique needs and personalities of his clients while also ensuring sustainability and sensitivity to the environment.

What is unique about the Portola House?

The Portola House combines a contemporary design with the use of natural materials and sustainable practices, resulting in a beautiful and eco-friendly home.

What materials were used in the Portola House?

The Portola House uses a combination of natural materials such as wood, stone and glass, as well as metal and concrete.

What are the sustainable features of the Portola House?

The Portola House uses solar panels for energy, a green roof for insulation, and rainwater collection for irrigation and greywater reuse.

Can I commission Malcom Davis for my own project?

Yes, Malcom Davis is available for residential and commercial projects. You can contact him through his website.

Is the Portola House open for public viewing?

No, the Portola House is a private residence and is not open to the public.

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