Five Marin County Moderns on Tour

People / Places / April 6, 2012

It’s all about connecting inside to outside.

And five architects in Marin County, Calif., their work on tour on Saturday, May 12, are striving mightily to show us how to achieve openness along the way.

“There are few places where we’re able to do that, and Marin County is one,” says Helen Wong, director of communications at AIA San Francisco (AIASF).  “There’s something about that that people want to see.”

Three residences in Sausalito, one in Mill Valley and another in San Rafael will be on the third annual Marin Living: Home Tours, sponsored by AIASF.  Architects and design teams will be at each of the homes, so that visitors can learn more about the design process, explore housing trends and discover innovative design solutions.  Between 700 and 800 people are expected.

Sustainability is a hot topic.  Rainwater collection systems and repurposed materials are of particular interest, Wong says.

Among the projects are:

The Conrad Katz Residence by Swatt/Miers Architects, a home built over the footprint of a 1950s residence, by noted Bay Area modernist Roger Lee.  The new design doubles the area of the house while maintaining the original emphasis on the expressive use of wood and the distribution of public and private spaces. All major rooms are situated on the northern side of the residence to take advantage of panoramic views of San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tamalpais.

The San Rafael Residence, by Ohashi Design Studio, designed to improve the curb appeal of the exterior and open up interior spaces to the surrounding landscape. The new façade features a shimmering standing seam metal roof and aluminum and sandblasted glass garage door, while walnut and sandblasted glass french doors and subtle lighting highlight new planting areas. An interior stairwell was filled with windows and playful lighting to frame a spectacular view.

Sausalito Residence, by Jay Behr Design  and Ewald Tajbaksh Architecture, a 3,400 square foot home located in a dense Sausalito neighborhood.  It carefully integrates with the hillside to maximize views of Alcatraz and the bay, while preserving surrounding view corridors. Upon entry, clerestory windows frame views across the canyon. Each floor is joined vertically by three fireplaces, including one view-through hearth that connects the living room, dining room, kitchen and den.

Mill Valley Residence, by YamaMar Design, both home and workplace to a filmmaker and artist and their two small children. The couple wanted a home that combined casual, functional, and organic sensibilities within a modern expression. The owners were highly involved in the design process, sourcing many of the interior finishes and systems. Opposing shed roofs define public and private zones in the house, playing on the Glenn Murcutt notion of a good house having both ‘prospect and refuge.’ Outbuildings include a stand-alone office and separate painting studio.

Bridgeway Cliff House, Michael Rex Associates, perched on a cliff in the heart of Sausalito, across from Richardson’s Bay.  This glass and steel home opens out to sweeping views of San Francisco, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Raccoon Strait. With its first level starting 20 feet above grade, the 2,100 square foot, three-bedroom residence rises to a height of 50 feet. Above a two-story living room, the master suite occupies the entire top floor, with a master bedroom and terrace, coffee bar, office, dressing room, and master bathroom with an accompanying private terrace.

Hours for the self-guided tour are 10 AM to 4 PM.

To purchase tickets, go to

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Mike Welton

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