San Marino Residence

San Marino, California, US

Square Feet: 5,000

To live across from the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, California is the ultimate in adjacency and landscape.  It is like living across from Central Park in Manhattan with much better weather.  Because of the Huntington property, the views from within this home are extended

The site planning of the home is clearly organized with the public and street façade to one side and the private and garden expanse to the other. Partly because of the adjacency of the Huntington Gardens there is an extensive landscape of pre existing Redwoods, Oaks, Camellias and Azaleas blended with substantial new gardens of Nandinas, Lavenders, Plum trees, Rosemary, Wistrengia, Bermuda Grass and a Koi pond.  By orienting the two story home to the required set back lines of the property on the north, west and south, it provided for a stunning family garden that runs the full length of the property from north to south.  It is over 200 feet from a tree canopied seating group to the wood deck surrounding the serene infinity pool.  This vista also includes two magnificent Oak trees that emanate from the wood deck. 

This home is unique in San Marino in that it is designed to achieve the dignity of the surrounding neighborhood homes built during various periods of history. This is achieved through the overall massing of the building which is very similar to the George Washington Smith home at the corner of Lombardy and Allen.  It also utilizes the colors and roof lines of the popular “Andulsian Revival” period of the 1920’s made famous by Wallace Neff, whose own residence is two doors to the east.  The design has accomplished this without mimicry or false pastiche of historical forms and materials. Built in the highest quality of construction techniques including the finest of modern technologies, this home is a thoroughbred and not just a façade. 

The detailing and materials are museum quality and the building systems are not only state of the art, but organized at a commercial level for access, maintenance and life safety.

The design is organized around the simple idea of family living enjoying both inside and outside spaces that can be made to seem as one by taking advantage of our benign weather.   Accordingly the central family room and kitchen which is more than 50 feet in length is made to be completely opened to the garden by means of oversized sliding glass doors that disappear into the adjacent walls.  This room is always the show stopper for visiting guests who marvel at the concept and the effect. The kitchen which is integral to the family room is all Bulthaup which is the finest kitchen system in the world.  Made from light German Oak, Stainless Steel and aluminum, this kitchen and its complementary cabinets making up the pantry and the dish storage is featured in all the ultimate high end housing and architectural magazines from Asia to Europe.  Within the cabinetry is not only a subzero refrigerator, but also an additional set of freezer drawers, and two sets of vegetable and soft drink refrigerator drawers.  There is also a wine cooler and an aluminum roll top slider behind which is stored the coffee machines, toasters and rice makers.  The nearby family breakfast area is within a glass enclosed two story atrium that looks directly out to the swimming pool. 

As the doors slide away there is also an exterior dining table that sits on the travertine floor that extends inside and outside the house.

The formal living room and dining room is surrounded on three sides by glass extending views out to the adjacent garden. This room also features two sides of glass doors that disappear into the walls. The feature wall is expansive glass from ceiling to floor, as well as a full wall and hearth of Travertine surrounding a fireplace.  The visual effect is that  the floor of this room passes right through the glass and incorporates the garden plane of dwarf Nandinas beyond.

The entry is dominated by a back painted glass wall with 20 flower vases set in a grid. Each of these are available for either stems in water or holiday decorations and is a very unusual take on the customary flower vase at the front door.