Just south of San Francisco, the Peninsula offers peaceful natural settings, gorgeous views, exclusive suburban living, and is home to some of the world’s top companies. And the quiet towns that make up this area hold some of the most intriguing and beautiful homes in the Bay Area. From Palo Alto to the outrageously expensive Atherton and Woodside, exclusive Menlo Parks, Hillsborough, Burlingame, and throughout the many other quiet towns neighborhoods where Silicon Valley’s visionaries live — the architects on this list have designed some of the area’s best homes.In an area traditionally filled with Craftsman, Spanish, and Tudor style homes, the architects on this list are masters at integrating new, challenging building forms without compromising neighborhood aesthetics. They are among the few architects adding modern and contemporary homes to these areas and are pushing local architectural ideas forward.
The efforts in this region by these architects have been rewarded with countless industry awards and wide publication. Indeed, among the architects on this list are those lucky few who have been picked from the bunch to design for Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Oracle CEO David Elliston, among many other high profile area residents. Below is a list of the ten best residential architects in the Peninsula.
This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning homes but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity.
John Lum Architecture
AIA San Mateo County Award
3246 Seventeenth Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
About John Lum Architecture
Founded in 1994, John Lum Architecture has evolved into a diverse practice that has shown particular expertise in new home design and single-family home remodels. They are known for their striking design, innovative use of materials, and green technologies. Their gorgeous homes are incredible livable and have been recognized with numerous accolades.
John Lum Architecture, based in San Francisco, is a premier design studio run by John Lum. The practice creates custom spaces that are both functional and long-lasting. They have a diverse portfolio of new and renovated single-family homes, multi-family and mixed-use buildings, and commercial interiors. Lum emphasizes livability and vitality within his residential designs. His homes have a reputation for being full of natural light, highly functional, and comfortable and inviting. And almost all of Lum’s residential work incorporates green features. Although most of his work is contemporary in nature, Lum is an advocate of appropriate historic preservation, and many of his projects are in neighborhoods sensitive to those issues.
Prior to founding his own firm in 1994, Lum was an Associate Architect with Reid and Tarics Associates. He is an active board member of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, chairing the building committee for the transformation of the Old Mint into the new San Francisco Museum. He also has been a Commissioner of the Golden Gate Concourse Authority since 2001. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
John Lum’s radical transformation of an Eichler-era Townhouse in Menlo Park has received significant praise, including an AIA San Mateo County award. Dubbed ‘ ‘Mid-Century Reimagined,’ this renovation consisted of completely reworking a confusing floorplan into an open-concept design. He added a new, sky-lit steel staircase that connects all three levels, becoming at once a striking visual element and drenching the formerly dark interior in natural light. The home’s first floor has direct sight lines from the entrance to double-height glass windows and doors on the back, which opens onto an oak-studded backyard. An expanded kitchen and dining room are located half a story up and overlook the modern living room. On the third floor, the staircase connects the new master bedroom suite and two front bedrooms via a dramatic aluminum-grated landing/bridge. The home abounds with interesting geometric shapes and patterns and uses a neutral color palette to emphasize its refined, contemporary architecture.
The firm also designed the ultimate, 21st-century ‘bungalow’ in Hillsborough for a family of five. Set on a 2-acre hillside lot with 180-degree views of the Bay, the 6,000 square foot home’s design was Japanese-inspired and heavily timbered. It was directly influenced by the client’s love of nature and utilizes natural materials that clearly express the structure, while still creating a comfortable and intimate environment. Lum arranged the main rooms along the edge of the slope to capitalize on the views, sunlight, and breeze. A generous front porch creates a welcoming feeling and leads into a double-height great room that serves as the heart and active space of the home. Lum even added a 2,000 square foot partial basement, a once uncommon feature for homes in this area, which contains a media room, wine cellar, gym, and man cave.
And in Millbrae, the firm designed a beautiful home for a young couple on a very modest budget. This project transformed a 1950’s rancher into a modern residence that is dramatic but appropriately scaled for its neighborhood.
Joseph Bellomo Architects
AIA Merit Award,
AIA Santa Clara Valley Design Awards,
Santa Clara Valley 2014 Birge Clark Award,
NSAPACA Distinguished Leadership Award
102 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
About Joseph Bellomo Architects
Joseph Bellomo Architects has been providing high-end architecture and design services throughout the Peninsula since 1986. Run by Peninsula-native Joseph Bellomo, the firm has earned a reputation for their modern designs and for pushing the boundaries on contemporary and green design in the area. The Palo Alto firm has won numerous industry awards, including from the AIA.
Bellomo Architects has offices in Palo Alto, California, and Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In addition to their award-winning homes, contemporary architecture and interior design practice has built an impressive portfolio of mixed-use developments, transit projects, commercial buildings, urban planning, and institutional projects. The firm has also taken an innovative approach to modular housing. Joseph Bellomo Architects are experts in innovative and sustainable architecture that “heats itself, cools itself, powers itself, expresses itself, and protects itself.” Bellomo’s modernist designs are inspired by nature and landscaping is integral to each project’s design.
Bellomo Architects was recognized with the AIA Santa Clara Valley 2014 Birge Clark Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in architectural design as expressed in a body of work produced by an individual architect over a period of at least 10 years. The firm also received a 2008 NSAPACA Distinguished Leadership Award.
Bellomo is a Peninsula native who is familiar with the design trends of the area. He started as a carpenter before studying with both expert builders and architects in Europe and the United States.
Bellomo cleverly updated and added onto a Palo Alto home with a historically protected street-front. The goal of the house was to maximize available natural light and to create a sense of seamlessness between indoors and outdoors. His design created a contemporary home – named the Seneca House – with a courtyard that was used to merge the old and new sections of the home nearly seamlessly. The old pavilion holds a library and artists’ studio. Throughout the design, there is a blending of traditional and modern methodologies. Its street front was restored and the roof was restructured to include a rooftop garden. The home’s material palette – wood, various types of glass, and concrete – appear different during the day depending on the light. This home was recognized with an AIA Design Award.
And the firm acted as owner, architect, and builder for the modernist Kipling House, which won an AIA Commendation Award. For his home, Bellomo created a concrete structure with a small footprint and, importantly, a design that would preserve a huge oak on the site. Landscaped courtyards form a set piece of open and structured space around the house. The two-story home has an open floor plan. Floor to ceiling windows create the feeling of living amongst the oak’s large canopy.
And Bellomo Architects designed an award-winning remodel and addition to a 1960’s Eichler home in Palo Alto. Influenced by the complementary relationship between interior and exterior often seen in Japanese garden design, the remodeled home introduces a new architectural language to the district. The result won an AIA Santa Clara Valley Merit Award. Bellomo gave the home an entirely new material palette of redwood, aluminum panels, steel, polycarbonate, and high-performance glass and cohesive color palette. This helped the home to engage with its surroundings and created a sustainable and inventive design vernacular.
Fergus Garber Young Architects
Catharine Fergus Garber & Daniel Garber
81 Encina Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301
About Fergus Garber Young Architects
Fergus Garber Young Architects (FGY Architects) of Palo Alto focused on high-end residential design. Although they have demonstrated the ability to excel at a range of architectural styles, a common characteristic of all of their homes is their beautiful architecture, sustainable design, and high level of functionality. They are leaders in green design, with two of their recent homes achieving LEED Platinum certification.
FGY Architects was founded by Catharine Fergus Garber in Chicago in 1987 and relocated to Palo Alto in 1997. She was joined in the practice by her husband Daniel Garber, FAIA, in 2002 and the firm changed to its current name in 2011 with the addition of partner Heather Young, who heads up FGY’s commercial projects. They excel in many architectural styles, reflective of their goal to embrace individual clients’ interests and goals. FGY Architects are also leaders in green design. They designed one of Northern California’s first LEED Platinum homes based in 2011 and will be among the first in the nation to have performed an embodied energy analysis of a portfolio of their single-family houses to establish targeted embodied energy thresholds for their design practice.
Founding partner Catharine Fergus Garber has extensive experience designing new primary and vacation homes nationwide. She is a member of the AIA and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). She earned a degree is in Art History from Middlebury College and her Masters in Architecture from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Prior to joining FGY Architects, Daniel Garber was a Partner at Relign Consulting and vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle. Garber is a NCARB member and was recognized as an AIA Fellow in 2014. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Previously, he served as Chair and Commissioner of the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission. He is a member of the SF Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture + Design Accessions Committee and serves as Co-Chair of the City of Palo Alto Citizens Advisory Committee on the Comprehensive Plan Update.
FGY Architects designed a stunning new Farmhouse in Atherton. The project consisted of designing a new 5,000+ square foot residence and a separate pool house. This modern farmhouse has a modern facade with classic features. Its vertical white siding contrasts perfectly the many, large black framed windows, and visitors are greeted to the home via a large covered front porch. The home was designed to be opened to light and incorporate indoor/outdoor living. Large glass doors from the kitchen slide open to reveal a massive covered back patio that extends to a serene pool and private pool house.
And in Woodside, the firm designed a new custom home to match the clients’ differing tastes: he wanted contemporary, she wanted a rustic French farmhouse. The result is a stone and stucco estate with a Mediterranean feel and contemporary detailing and programming. This 7,200 square foot estate consists of a main house, pool house, art studio, and detached garage. It abounds with rustic detailing throughout, including with large interior stone walls and exposed wood beams, a generously sized central courtyard, and arched doorways. A light and natural color and material palette is complemented by the abundance of natural light that flood in the home’s oversized windows. And modern technology is expertly hidden amongst the historic detailing.
William Duff Architects
William S. Duff Jr.
1531 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
About William Duff Architects
William Duff Architects (WDA) is a San Francisco-based design studio that has developed an impressive portfolio of work spanning from the wine country in the north, across the city, and down throughout the many towns of the Peninsula. Founded in 1998 by William S. Duff, Jr. the innovative practice has a diverse set of clients and commissions and is nationally recognized for creating responsible, sustainable architecture. Their residential work, in particular, demonstrates the ability to design simple and elegant spaces with a sophisticated use of materials, light, and warmth – resulting innovative modern spaces.
The firm works on a wide range of projects spanning from residential to commercial, and from new builds to extensive renovations. They have designed flagship stores, retail concept designs, cafes, wineries, art galleries, and multi-family housing. The practice is committed to sustainability and are experts at incorporating green technology and building techniques into their designs. Underlying Duff’s strategic vision for WDA is the belief that architecture can shape environments and improve communities.
Before founding WDA, Duff was an Associate at Kanner Architects in Los Angeles, where he managed the firm’s retail practice. His experience extends to mixed-use, commercial, academic and laboratory buildings, urban master planning, and health-care design. Duff received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and his Master in Construction Management from Colorado State University. He has NCARB and LEED certifications and holds architecture licenses in five states (CA, CO, AZ, OR, WI). Duff is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Green Building Council, and has served on the Marina Del Rey Design Control Board. He is the past President of the Board of Directors of Young Audiences of Northern California and the current President of the Board of Directors of Napa’s diRosa Center for Contemporary Art.
In Menlo Park, WDA designed a modern home that combines high-end design and green building techniques. The luxurious residence demonstrates the firm’s and client’s shared commitment to sustainability. The new structure made use of an existing foundation. The material palette includes COR-TEN steel, stained concrete mixed with fly-ash, and Fin-Ply panels. Energy use is reduced through passive ventilation, radiant floors, solar hot water, and photovoltaic power. The home’s layout creates varied, dynamic living spaces that flow outside into the landscape. Collapsible doors in the open living room and kitchen open on two walls, around a corner, to open the home’s main living space directly onto a large patio and sheltered backyard.
Also in Menlo Park, the firm’s ‘Wheeler Residence’ expertly integrates high-end, modern design with a commitment to sustainability and green practices. Duff’s design made use of an existing foundation upon which to build a new structure. The home offers dramatic living spaces that flow seamlessly into the landscape. The material palette includes COR-TEN steel, stained concrete mixed with fly-ash, and Fin-Ply panels. Green elements of the home include passive ventilation, radiant floors, solar hot water, and photovoltaic power. The Wheeler Residence was featured in INHABIT.
And WDA designed an extensive renovation and addition to a prominent Atherton residence. Their design seamlessly incorporated a large, 2-story addition and basement to the home that met the client’s aspirations for doubling the size of the original home. Their design also modernized the home’s interior and improved its functionality. WDA’s design took aesthetic cues from the existing home and cleanly blends the old and new to create a harmonious environment.
House + House Architects
Steven and Cathi House
Best of the Bay Best Architecture Firm 1st Place Award,
Custom Home Design Award,
Golden Nugget Grand Award,
AIA Housing Award,
Diffa Design Achievement Award
1499 Washington Street, San Francisco, CA
About House + House Architects
In 1989, House + House was named by Architecture Magazine as an emerging talent to keep an eye out for – and it seems that they were spot on. Run by Steven and Cathi House, the firm is focused on designing creative, sustainable and modern homes. The duo has risen to the top of the area’s architectural scene, designing homes across the city and Peninsula. They have won over 50 awards and their work has been featured in national and international publications.
The principals and founders, Steven and Cathi House, cite their vast travel experiences as inspiration for their work, having traveled and worked in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. As a result, they have a keen ability to incorporate traditional elements into nuanced, contemporary designs. They are also known for designing homes with a strong connection to nature and the outdoors. Both principals are committed to sustainability and incorporate green design elements throughout each home and landscape.
Outside of their practice, Cathi and Steven House are dedicated to educating and contributing to the development of architectural theory and practice. They have lectured across the United States and Mexico and both served on the Dean’s Advisory Board and the Advisory Council for the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech. Additionally, they established The Center for Architecture, Sustainability + Art (CASA), a study abroad program in the UNESCO World Heritage Site San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
House + House Architects designed an award-winning Hillsborough home that focuses on indoor-outdoor living. Taking elements of a classic modern villa which draws its proportions and stylistic references from northern Italy, the home’s design is all about symmetry, axiality, and progression. Rooms spill out onto sun-drenched terraces, a gorgeous pool and spa, and gardens enclosed by stands of mature trees. The firm’s design plays on light and shadow, giving the home a sculptural quality, which is enhanced by varying ceiling heights, limestone details, and hand rubbed plaster. This home won a Golden Nugget Grand Award, AIA Housing Award, and the Diffa Design Achievement Award.
And the firm designed a 5,400 square foot renovation which transformed a 50-year-old Tudor house in Hillsborough into a bold, contemporary home. This project, named ‘Shamash,’ is unique in form and constructed with archetypal building forms: “cylinder, cube, wedge and cone and new walls formed along abstract lines—swinging arcs and piercing planes—sculpt volume into meaningful space and form.” The light-filled home is designed around a sunny interior courtyard. Shamash won an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Grand Award, a Renaissance Design Award, a Diffa Design Achievement Award, and a Remodeling Design Award.
And they designed ‘Poon’ – a Hillsborough home that won a Remodeling Design Award, Builder’s Choice Design Award, Renaissance Design Award, and an ASID Design Excellence Award. Their portfolio also includes the Drucker-Brownstein Residence in Santa Rosa, which won a Bay Area Computer Graphics Award.
Timothy C. Chappelle
AIA San Mateo County Award
501 Third Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94107
About Arcanum Architecture
Arcanum Architecture is known among clients as “the best-kept secret in the Bay Area design world.” The San Francisco-based design firm has earned a reputation for their high-quality residential designs, stemming from the tremendous talent, skill and experience their staff bring to the table. Their home designs demonstrate a truly creative combination of the personalities of their clients and the uniqueness of the community where it is located. The firm has been recognized with numerous awards for their stunning residential designs.
Arcanum Architecture was founded in 1996 and quickly gained a strong following and client base. The firm is run by three principals: Timothy C. Chappelle, Anthony Fish, and Kurt Simrock. In addition to their residential designs, Arcanum Architecture also specializes in commercial projects and their portfolio ranges a large spectrum of project size, scale, and type. But regardless of the specific nature of a project, the firm believes that each project should complement and contribute to the neighborhood or region. They invest time to thoroughly research each building site and community to discover its unique qualities and characteristics. They combine this knowledge with the use of natural materials and unique colors to produce a highly desirable space.
Arcanum Architecture designed a magnificent new 19,751 square foot home in Atherton. Named Tuscaloosa, this expansive, long home is located on the corner of a broad avenue and a side street. This unique and large parcel allowed Arcanum Architecture to shift the traditional positioning of the home, providing enhanced privacy. The home consists of four volumes staggered along the centerline. The separate spaces are connected by a passageway, that begins in the atrium and extends northward to accommodate a pair of bedrooms and bathrooms. A private lounge and two additional bedrooms are positioned up a staircase. The second volume extends to the south and holds an entertainment space. The hallway ends in the third section, with a light-filled kitchen and living room. Off a hidden door is a 2-level private work area. The use of material and layout creates a fluid transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces. The same stucco used on the external facade can be found on internal surfaces, and the mid-toned woods used outside line the interior ceilings and floors. Concrete elements can be found both inside and out. And large, pocket glass doors in the living room disappear to open the space up entirely to a large covered patio.
Arcanum Architecture also created a stunning, modern Woodside residence. This modern home was designed in perfect harmony with nature, with its clever integration of outdoor living and entertaining space and its extensive glazing and disappearing glass walls. The design emphasizes natural light and visual symmetry and seeks to engage the home directly with the landscape. The home features an open floor plan, clean lines, and a distinctly modern design.
And in Menlo Park, the firm designed ‘Allied Arts’ residence, a new 3,000 square foot home that was recognized with an AIA San Mateo County award.
Aidlin Darling Design
Joshua Aidlin and David Darling
James Beard Award,
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum National Design Award,
Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards
500 Third Street, Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94107
About Aidlin Darling Design
San Francisco-based Aidlin Darling Design has over 200 regional, national, and international awards, including a James Beard. Their portfolio includes everything from custom homes, to the area’s best restaurants, and large public and commercial projects. Their residential designs, in particular, stand out and have received significant recognition. Their designs are as artistic as they are practical, and also have a heavy dose of sustainability.
Principals Joshua Aidlin and David Darling founded Aidlin Darling Design in 1998. The firm designs a wide range of buildings, including institutional, academic, commercial and residential. They also produce furniture, design landscapes, and do interior design work. The firm offers a collaborative and unconventional design approach and creates truly unique spaces. The firm’s philosophy is to “bridge the demands of artistic endeavor, environmental responsibility, functional pragmatics, and financial considerations.” Their approach has turned their studio into a sort of creative hub for their large network of designers, engineers, builders, artists, and chefs.
The firm has won more than 100 regional, national, and international awards, including the 2013 National Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for their body of work, 2 AIA COTE Top Ten Awards for sustainable design, and 4 American Architecture Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum.
Before founding his own firm, David Darling was the Vice President at BraytonHughes Design Studios and a project architect at the prestigious Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects. Darling and Aidlin both earned their degrees at the University of Cincinnati.
Aidlin Darling Design created a sustainable home in Hillsborough that earned LEED-Platinum certification and is designed to be Net Zero Energy. Named the House of Earth and Sky, this home celebrates the intersection of the two. The home’s entrance is set below grade, and as one enters, they ascend vertically through the ground to arrive in a series of glass pavilions, anchored by rammed earth walls and sheltered under kite-like floating roofs. Inside, the home is filled with wood floors, ceilings, and cabinetry, providing a “sensual layer within the rough walls and surrounding gardens.” This project was recognized with an AIA California Merit Award.
And in Palo Alto, they designed a modest, suburban home that offers expansive living spaces that extend into a landscape of monumental coastal live oaks and several majestic redwoods. The existing trees inform a spatial arrangement of framed views, outdoor rooms, and cover for privacy. From the second floor, the home’s residents engage directly with the trees canopies. A concrete plinth, steel and glass armature, and zinc skin respond to the site’s high water table and resonate with its natural splendor.
Aidlin Darling Design also designed a home in Stanford that is situated in a 1960’s suburban neighborhood. The home was designed to respond to the adjacent houses and sloped topography. Its modest design operates as a dynamic middle ground between the immediate domestic landscape and the surrounding Bay Area foothills. It cradles an existing majestic ash tree, creating a protected read garden for private outdoor living. And parallel running walls organize space, bridging the interior space to the exterior and directing one’s vision through the house to the view beyond. The home’s interior design is simple and dominated by straight lines and geometric shapes, with a heavy use of light wood and soft white tones.
AIA Monterey Bay Design Awards,
Remodeling Magazine Design Awards
1648-B Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109
About Feldman Architecture
Jonathan Feldman is an award-winning architect behind some of the most beautiful and environmentally responsible new residential projects in the Peninsula. Set in San Francisco, Feldman’s projects can be found throughout the Bay Area and beyond. His firm set a new standard for contemporary and sustainable design and he is responsible for at least 7 LEED Platinum buildings. Feldman Architecture has received numerous industry awards for their excellent residential and commercial designs.
Jonathan Feldman founded Feldman Architecture in 2003, which quickly grew to be one of the area’s premier design studios. They are especially known for being leaders in sustainable and energy-efficient homes. Feldman began his architectural career by renovating old Victorians. This work gave him valuable experience in learning how to incorporate contemporary designs alongside traditional Bay Area styles. Feldman is dedicated to sustainable design and is LEED accredited. A member of the American Institute of Architects, Feldman has served on competition juries including the AIA Monterey Bay Design Awards and Remodeling Magazine Design Awards. Feldman’s designs have been recognized with many awards, including Best of the Year by Interior Design, the Citation Award by American Institute of Architects Monterey Bay, and an Honor Award from International Interior Design Association.
Feldman designed a family home – named the Grange – in Palo Alto that applies contemporary ideals to a traditional aesthetic. The home has a classical layout, giving structure to the distinct spaces. It is organized into two wings with a connecting bar. Informal areas intended for daily use are joined to formal entertaining areas by a central dining room. Expansive glass doors from the dining area lead to a patio nestled between the house’s two wings. The patio is centered on a fire pit, fluidly joining the home’s communal indoor and outdoor spaces. Above, a bridge connects the master suite to the children’s rooms, each with a loft that adds a playful twist to the traditional layout. Throughout the Grange’s interior, Feldman designed ‘pockets of intimacy – a piano alcove in the living room, a sunny breakfast nook, a lofted reading room whose windows peer out over the yard. Wide-plank grey floors and white wood paneling on the home’s interior and exterior create a warm, livable environment for the active family.
And Feldman’s Lantern House in Palo Alto adds a new vision of modern living to the eclectic styles of its surrounding suburban neighbors. An open main level floor plan integrates all public spaces, connected by a floating cedar ceiling that extends into the outdoor space. Feldman’s use of light and geometric shapes is immediately apparent in this home. Once outside, the cedar ceiling has a playful circular opening that offers a view of the sky and casts shifting geometric patterns of light across the property throughout the day. A slender vertical window with a cedar rainscreen runs the height of the front stairwell. During the day, it casts rays of sunlight into the home, and at night, it emits horizontal strips of light from the inside. Feldman’s design also blurs the connection between the inside and out, with large glass doors to the yard, a stair tower that vertically links the orthogonal forms of the house’s façade and interior spaces, and views from each bedroom display the surrounding canopy of gingko trees and green roofs on the living and dining spaces below.
Butler Armsden Architects
1420 Sutter Street, First Floor, San Francisco, CA 94109
About Butler Armsden Architects
Butler Armsden Architects is one of the Bay Area’s best design studios. For over 30 years, principal Lewis Butler has lent his diverse talents in home design to properties throughout the city and across the Peninsula. His practice has been trusted to remodel at least one home for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and to extensively renovated a Mission District home owned by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The practice has been recognized with many industry awards for their work.
The Butler Armsden Studio is a team-based design environment with a staff of 23, comprised of principals, associates and support personnel. The firm specializes in new builds and renovations. Lewis Butler is the president of Butler Armsden, a San Francisco architectural practice he co-founded in 1985 with his wife, Catherine Armsden. He leads each small project team and is known for his intimate involvement of each project the firm handles. He works directly with clients, city officials and, importantly, neighbors of the project to ensure each project’s designs will be approved. Butler is a member of the AIA. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and a Masters of Architecture at Harvard University.
In Menlo Park, Butler Armsden designed their second LEED-Platinum home. The house reflects the variety of architectural styles found in the California suburbs. Although it recalls the original Spanish heritage of the region, it also references the mid-century tradition of the Eichler subdivision houses and includes a subtle wink to Frank Lloyd Wright. The house is a composed of a collection of three pavilions situated quite closely to one another. The master bedroom and library pavilion are accessed from a bridge on the second floor, which floats through a two-story space that captures light from the east.
Butler Armsden also created a contemporary courtyard home that captures commanding views of the surrounding hills in Atherton. Located on a gently sloped 1.75-acre lot, the home has the look and feel of a structure that has evolved over time with its pleasantly varied massing and simple wood siding. The natural feel is enhanced by board-formed concrete lower walls and a metal standing seam. And yet the design remains contemporary and fresh. Indoor/outdoor entertaining space is enhanced by 40-foot wide doors that open the spacious living and dining areas into the courtyard.
And in Woodside, the firm collaborated closely with an architect homeowner to renovates a midcentury home rumored to have been designed by Clifford May. Presiding over a horse ranch, the architecture of this home was designed to fit the collections assembled over the years by the owners. The interior spaces were turned to better related to one another and the outdoors. The result is a dressed down style that speaks comfortably to both old and new.
Walker Warner Architects
Greg Warner and Brooks Walker
353 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
About Walker Warner Architects
Greg Warner and Brooks Walker operate the award-winning San Francisco architectural practice Walker Warner Architects. For over 30 years, Walker Warner Architects has taken a forward-thinking approach to residential design and has created some of the most stunning homes in the Peninsula. They describe their style as ‘warm modernism’ with a touch of vernacular references. A testament to their excellence, the firm is currently working with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his home in Palo Alto.
Greg Warner and Brooks Walker founded Walker Warner Architects in 1989. The 25-person firm has now completed more than 200 projects in California, Hawaii, and across the Western United States. Walker Warner Architects specializes in custom residential architecture but has also excelled at a range of commercial projects. Each project demonstrates their versatility and ability to adapt to the unique needs of each client and space.
Prior to founding their own practice, Warner worked on commercial and residential projects in the Bay Area with several firms, while Walker gained experience as a sole practitioner, including work in construction, real estate development, and landscape architecture. The influence of Warner’s youth growing up on the Hawaiian Islands is evident in the impact climate and nature have on his designs. He is particularly focused on creating contextually appropriate designs that consider the unique environment of each project. Both Walker and Warner earned their Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon, and are LEED AP certified.
Walker Warner Architects designed a family home in Atherton for a technology entrepreneur from New England. This residence weaves together east coast sensibility with a west coast experience. It is a traditional cedar-clapboard house, modernized by a charcoal colored standing-seam metal roof and trim. The home’s design takes advantage of its large corner lot by capturing plenty of natural light. It connects the indoors and outdoors with a large porch on the rear facade that opens into the main living areas. Interior siding made of bleached poplar paneling is used on much of the first level, a perfect contrast for the pops of color used by New York interior designer Rebecca Ascher.
And in Woodside, the practice designed The Mountain Wood residence, a composition of separate buildings arranged to create complementary indoor-outdoor spaces accommodating varied living experiences. The buildings are reminiscent of regional agrarian compounds in form and function, defined by their strong asymmetrical lines. A material palette of stone and western red cedar is contrasted by contemporary elements of exposed steel, and large expanses of glass. And a barn frames the stone entry of the residence beyond. Inside, its soft natural material palette creates a sophisticated and refined, yet cozy, environment. The home was recognized with an ASLA Honor Award and was featured in LUXE, the Contemporist Online, and in the book ‘Rural Modern by Russell Abraham.