Bayview Residence

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San Rafael, California

For Tardy and Associates Architects

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The house is anchored to its steep, wooded slope by a thick stone accent wall that forms an “L” shape on the site. The living spaces on both levels are separated from the circulation by this wall, which is punctured in various locations to allow one to either pass through or to catch a glimpse of the rooms beyond.  The wall is seen “passing through” the ends of the house and onward into the landscape by the use of glass butting up to it, blurring somewhat the transition from indoor to outdoor space. 

The main rooms are generous in size.  The kitchen/breakfast/family room combination is separated from the dining room and adjacent living room with it’s huge stone fireplace, by a large butler’s pantry which has steps down to a wine cellar.  The main level is terminated by a guest suite. The library, clad in the same thick stone that forms the accent wall, is located in the bend of the “L” and acts as a knuckle, connecting the two wings while separating the formal spaces from the more informal ones.  Ceilings on the main level are vaulted, supported by heavy wood beams which appear to vanish into the stone wall.  The accent wall also extends down to the lower level separating the bedrooms from the circulation and support spaces, such as the bathrooms and the laundry area.

The garage, one level up from the rest of the house, forms a courtyard with the “L” of the main house.  This courtyard serves as both an entry courtyard as well as an extension of the informal family spaces; the playroom below the garage and the sunroom off the great room both open to it.  Decks off the major rooms also serve to bring the outdoors closer to the interior spaces.

Tardy and Associates Architects