Just north of San Francisco is a home that's not only smartly designed with the highest in eco-friendly standards -- it's Marin County's first LEED platinum (administered by the U.S. Green Building Council) custom home -- it rocks with style. Tucked into towering oak trees and built into the hillside, the home's architectural design and contents are well-kept secrets to most, as they're largely invisible from even the driveway.
Designed by Scott A. Lee, president of SB Architects, the Mill Valley, Calif., home serves as his personal residence. But the four-story beauty is also a testament to his success as an architect. Light pours through floor-to-ceiling windows and every room has its own terrace. Surfaces are constructed from sleek and neutral materials. Cabinetry is custom designed with beautiful finishes. The lighting evokes midcentury-modern but with some contemporary interpretations. Modern gas fireplaces, and bath and kitchen fixtures, marry practical needs with strong design. McDonald Construction & Development, an Oakland, Calif., firm that has built many custom green homes, constructed the house.
Green-wise, the home has LED lighting, natural insulation, solar-power supplied electricity and hot water, radiant floor heating and a recirculation system that keeps the interior either cool or toasty, depending on the season. Products were chosen for their eco-friendly qualities, including Kohler low-flow plumbing fixtures, Mythic zero-VOC paints, stone veneers from Eldorado Stone that are sustainably produced, Concreteworks high-recycled content interior concrete, sustainably harvested floors and cabinetry from Plantation Hardwoods and New World Millworks.
In looking over the gallery of this place and falling in love with its serene qualities, we quickly saw a few opportunities to adopt the look elsewhere, even if you live in a studio apartment. Besides, it's often the little things that are the heart and soul of a home's design.
Photo Credit: Mariko Reed