For almost as long as they’ve known each other, Scott and Tracy Lee have been designing and building the Hillside Residence, a sustainable gem in the Marin Hills. The house represents their personal merger — or marriage — as much as that of their professional talents. Scott is the principal at SB Architects and Tracy is vice president of spa development for Auberge Resorts. Their house, which was featured in the AIA San Francisco‘s Marin homes tour, blends modern and green architectural influences with a spa’s love affair with wood.
Built into a hillside, as the name implies, the house consists of four small stories, totaling just 2,116 square feet. There’s a basement, a floor with a guest bedroom, a child’s bedroom, and a tiny nursery. The master bedroom gets its own level, and capping it all off is the living area, whose height earns it an exquisite view of woods and the San Francisco Bay.
Then again, it’s hard to say where the house’s square footage ends, because it moves so seamlessly between airy indoor spaces and partially enclosed outdoor spaces — which include a patio, a couple of outdoor showers, and an almost entirely enclosed porch, complete with a fireplace for weathering Marin County’s cool foggy nights.
Did I mention the wood? If you’ve ever doubted that recycled wood can be lush, and even alluring, the Hillside Residence will banish that thought. All of the home’s abundant interior exposed wood is Douglas Fir, salvaged from a single seed plant in Idaho. It’s the DNA of the house’s character, and links it to its surroundings, connecting it visually with the redwood porch swing in the portico to suggest Mill Valley’s logging past. The house’s exterior is sustainable Western red cedar.