Innovative 21st century design with a unique “Z” shaped floor plan and dramatic gable roof

Monte Sereno Modern Addition/Remodel

Our clients Karen and Louis came to us with a beautiful 1 acre lot in the exclusive hillside community of Monte Sereno, CA. On this property was a dark and somewhat dreary ranch style, tenant-occupied home that had been built in several phases over its 50+ year lifespan. Our charge was to design an extensive remodel + addition that would not only leverage the value of the existing structure and foundation in a very “green” design, but also bring the architecture firmly into the 21st century.

The entire foundation of the main house, and wall/roof framing over the existing family room and bedroom wing were retained in an effort to reuse the good work of the original homebuilders and minimize construction waste.

Though the house was designed and permitted through the Town of Monte Sereno Planning Commission as a two-story, Karen and Louis really wanted a single story floor plan, with a couple of bonus rooms on the 2nd floor to programmatically isolate these rooms from the rest of the house. With only a relatively small meditation room and a media room to work with on the second floor, the architectural challenge for us was how to integrate this relatively small second floor with the much larger ground floor.

Our solution involved a “Z” shaped floor plan which hid some of the first floor mass behind the front elevation, as well as a swooping gable roof form which ties the modest 2nd floor mass and ground floor garage roof under one roofline. This dramatic gesture brought the whole house together in one coherent massing approach. We suggested cutting a portion of this roofline out to create an outdoor media room which sits over the garage, and is adjacent to the “indoor” media room on the 2nd floor.

The family room, bedroom wing, and poolhouse create three sides of an outdoor room centered on a generous pool deck and rectangular lap pool. The fourth side of this outdoor room is a hedgerow of 50 year old redwoods.
Ample windows and multiple upper level balconies allow the family to enjoy intimate views of the oak and redwood trees that surround the home.


  • Scope of Work: Demolition of existing 2 BR, 1BA accessory structure of 925.1 s.f. Remodel and addition to an existing one story, 4 BR, 2 BA house of 2,360.5 s.f. living area and 411.0 s.f. garage area.A 1,339.7 s.f. first and second story addition creating a total of 3,700.2 s.f. living area with 4 BR and 3.5 BA. A 984.8 s.f. garage addition creates a 4-car garage + workshop with a total area of 1,395.8 s.f. and brings the total main residence area to 5,096 s.f.The project also features a 1BR, 1 BA detached second dwelling unit (pool house) of 699.8 s.f. that can be used as both a cabana and a guesthouse depending on the situation.
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Project Cost: $1,000,001 – $1,500,000
  • Location: Monte Sereno, CA


Photography by Mark Pinkerton, VI360 Photography


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