It seems that mid-century modern homes never go out of style, and are especially suited to laid back California living. The home owners of this Los Altos Residence are minimalists who love the look of mid-century modern housing; this plot of land started off with an old ranch which they bought up with the intention to replace it with something more suitable. They reached out to Klopf Architecture to provide designs for a clean, modern take with an open plan decluttered style and build their dream home.
Completely clearing the land gave the architects a blank slate for this new building. The house feels spacious thanks to its big open plan layout, and large doors that connect the indoors to outdoors. Created on a grid, the space is designed with one great room and other spaces for different activities to move around it. Inside, the kitchen and dining table are at the heart of the home. This was perfect for the home owners who wanted that connection for easy flow — offshoots include a family room and children’s play area, as well as a small TV room.
Design inspirations for the 3,000 square foot house come from a series of Eichler homes built between 1949 and 1966, specifically ones with a gable in the middle, a flat roof on the sides, and an atrium. The low-sloping gable roof makes the space feel grand and provides plenty of opportunity for light.
Looking sleek and hiding away clutter, many of the doors in the Los Altos Residence slide away into pockets between the walls. This makes it much smoother to see the transition between rooms, or even indoors and outdoors as the walls seem to vanish!
“A somewhat unique aspect of the project is how the pocketing sliders allow sight lines through the house,” describes John Klopf. “This is especially true at the line from the front enclosed play yard through the play room through the great room, past the piano, and out to the rear yard.” An atrium brings the outdoors right into the center of the house, creating a relaxing visual relief in the great room and living areas.
The atrium is a perfect resting spot in the center of the large great room, providing light and a spot of nature. But there’s always one thing in a project that you would like to try again, and for Klopf it was this.
“One thing I might change is the paint color around the atrium on the interior. We tried to match the window frames to make the structure “disappear” but given the amount of structure we probably should’ve painted that to match the walls.”
Personally, I quite like it in a cool gray. There are a few other strong elements in the house such as the chairs and bench by the front door that are matched in a similar hue!
The home owners were absolutely thrilled with their new space, and excited to move in. “Klopf Architecture took great care to evaluate all of our needs and fit that into the design of the home. Their design aesthetics are fresh and sharp. The finished home is beautiful and suits our lifestyle perfectly.”
Considering that the whole house is designed as a series of spaces that flow into one, it’s hard to pick a favorite room! John Klopf recognizes this, saying “we are most pleased by the holistic overall experience of the house and lot.”
In the rear part of the house, everything opens up to a deck overlooking a pool.
From the Architect
“Wood siding travels from exterior to interior, accentuating the indoor-outdoor nature of the house. Where the exterior siding doesn’t come inside, a palette of white oak floors, white walls, walnut cabinetry, and dark window frames ties all the spaces together to create a uniform feeling and flow throughout the house. The custom cabinetry matches the minimal joinery of the rest of the house, a trim-less, minimal appearance. Wood siding was mitered in the corners, including where siding meets the interior drywall. Wall materials were held up off the floor with a minimal reveal. This tight detailing gives a sense of cleanliness to the house.”
You see the way that the wood siding exteriors stretch their way indoors, too. It’s just like that with the garage doors. Sitting flush with the garage wall, it makes the street view of the home neat and sleek.
A modern home built using mid-century modern principles of flow, the Los Altos Residence ticks all the right boxes; light and airy spaces for a family to live and play together, quiet zones for privacy, and a freedom of indoor to outdoor movement with a great view over the garden. This family found their dream home!
Interested in seeing more from Klopf Architecture? Check out this Eichler home renovation in San Mateo or this three-bedroom Sacramento house designed with California modern aesthetics.