This former summer cottage had been worked on over the years to create a year round residence. Because much of this work had been performed without an overall vision, there were many opportunities to correct and unify the overall plan and appearance of the house. The site is a heavily wooded one above the Mill Valley golf course with a unique sense of privacy. The existing house had three levels of living that stepped back up the hillside. The program was to develop the lowest level as the master suite, the middle level as the public realm of the house and the upper level as bedrooms for the children. The challenge with the development of the master suite was to create a space that would not feel dark and compressed under the large deck that extends on the main level above. This was achieved through thoughtful place and sizing of widows to create visual relief and to allow natural daylight into these spaces. On the main level, a new kitchen is located between the existing living room and a new dining room addition. The kitchen is open to both spaces and also has a direct pass through connection to the large deck off the living room. To create these levels, the site was terraced at the main and lower levels. As a result, there are some intimate outdoor spaces that are created. One space is a small court off the kitchen where a gas fire bowl provides visual interested and the opportunity to make s’mores.


  • Contractor: Pennypacker Drake

  • Photographer: Doug Peck

Circle House, Mill Valley, CA