Our client, who is from the sports world, wanted an open-plan house for entertaining but also a photography studio and a gallery space suitable for hanging his large art projects. Working with Barry Chase of CMF Homebuilders and Linda Dahan of Highfire Interior Design, the project began with an empty hilltop lot but required a 10-foot high retaining wall to create a sturdy level pad for building. A spiral driveway leads to the property, which then opens to the car park and entrance walkway. On the left, is the upstairs studio space, accessible via stairs that rise up over the first reflecting pool. Wide horizontal pavers guide the eye up to the house where water surrounds the entrance, flowing between the steps, and meeting a chiseled marble ledger stone wall. The large center-pivot front door opens to reveal the dramatic foyer, capped by a double-height box, accented with ribbon windows to the north and south, and skylights overhead. Look straight ahead out beyond the patio for a perfectly framed view of the California hills. Large earth-toned porcelain tiles flow smoothly down three steps and into the living area, lined with a series of wall-sized glass pocket doors. When all are open the feeling of bringing the outside, inside, is breezily apparent. An olive tree lives in the foyer, with the help of grow lights, and a small Zen garden at the bottom of the steps adds greenery to the space.
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