A Craftsman style design with an uncovered outdoor courtyard

Los Gatos Contemporary Ranch >> Craftsman

Our physician clients were big fans of contemporary design, and requested a light-filled home to replace their gloomy brick bungalow, but were concerned about neighborhood opposition to a design that was “not in character” with the traditional context. The house sits on relatively high ground overlooking the neighborhood.

Our solution was to unify the varying ceiling heights of the Owners’ complicated program under a simple, single hipped roof form that recalled the traditional ranch style homes for which Los Gatos is known. The simplicity of the roofline facilitated a standing seam roof, which allows the profile of the house to crisply meet the sky. Several frameless corner windows allow for expansive views of the surrounding hills and an 8 panel folding door system creates a seamless connection between the great room and backyard.

The design was met with unanimous favor from the many interested neighbors, as well as the City’s consulting architect. Much to our surprise and chagrin, this carried zero weight with Town’s Planning Commission, who unanimously rejected our code-compliant design on the grounds of it being “the largest home in the neighborhood” and therefore incompatible with its surroundings.

We advised our clients to both reduce the floor area of the home and revert to a more conservative design. This effort yielded a Craftsman style home with largely the identical program, save for judicious room size reductions and the addition of a gracious corner wrap-around porch. To help reduce floor area, we introduced an uncovered outdoor “courtyard” opposite the entry door, to bring light and landscaping deep into the heart of the house. Interestingly due to this courtyard as well as the corner porch (neither of which count against floor area limits), the overall bulk and mass of the building was largely unchanged from the “incompatible” design we offered up earlier!

Fortunately for us, our clients liked the new design even more than the original, and fortunately for them the City Council saw fit to overrule the Planning Commission’s rejection by approving their new design with a unanimous vote.



  • Scope of Work: Demolish an existing single-story residence and build a one-story, 5 BR and 4.5 BA single-family residence with 3,112.2 new living s.f. on a 13,478 s.f. lot with a new garage of 533 s.f.
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Project Cost: $1,000,001 – $1,500,000
  • Location: Los Gatos, CA



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