In Northern California, a spectacular modern home embraces nature in more ways than one. Palo Alto-based Field Architecture designed the spacious residence, named Forty-One Oaks after the property’s oak trees that served as the inspirational spark behind the design. The home was envisioned as an extension of the tree-studded landscape – an effect achieved through full-height glazing, a natural materials palette, and the preservation of an on-site wildlife corridor through which deer, bobcats, and mountain lions traverse.
Located in Portola Valley south of San Francisco, Forty-One Oaks comprises a series of rectilinear volumes built with great expanses of glass to blur the indoor-outdoor boundary, concrete walls that echo the verticality of tree trunks, and deep steel roof overhangs for solar shading. “41 Oaks produces an architecture that is in conversation with nature,” wrote the architects. “The house is centered around the idea of creating porosity, connecting with the forty-one oaks that dot the site. Instead of creating a massive block of living space, [we] created a series of pavilions that jut into the landscape.”
The contemporary interior is awash in natural light and the mostly neutral palette keeps attention on the outdoors. Forty-One Oaks’ best example of indoor-outdoor connection can be seen in the dining room, housed in a cantilevered window box with floor-to-ceiling views of the canopy for a treehouse-like feel. Outdoor terraces are reached through sliding glass doors from the main living space, while the master bedroom opens up to a Japanese rock garden.
Exterior photography by Steve Goldband, interior photography by John Merkl