Step Inside a Nature-Inspired Modern Stanford Home



Aidlin Darling Design was inspired by the landscape when they created this Stanford home.A stately ash tree anchors the yard of this Stanford property,” explains Joshua Aidlin, cofounder of San Francisco–based architecture firm Aidlin Darling Design, “and, in fact, it became the focus for the entire project.” Taking inspiration from the Eames House, the Pacific Palisades home of iconic designers Charles and Ray Eames, Aidlin conceived an L-shaped home that wraps around the expansive tree and is “not your typical suburban house,” he notes.

The building was a 1950s ramshackle bungalow when the clients acquired it, but has been transformed into a minimalist masterpiece. It all began with extensive client meetings followed by a campout, “to get a feel for the nuances of the site at all times of the day,” says Aidlin. “The clients have a very sophisticated eye and are also very private people.” The intent was to build an informal, light-filled home with a modest street presence—and one that would capitalize on the southerly views of the Stanford hills beyond. Using a series of strong north-south anchor walls, and combinations of natural, cost-effective materials—plaster with planes of cedar wood, concrete, bamboo flooring—the firm achieved a streamlined, utilitarian space with a decidedly midcentury modern feel.

On approach, the property is a naturalist’s dream: The landscape design is by Monterey-based Bernard Trainor, whose aesthetic isn’t overly groomed, and the grounds feature indigenous plants and drought-resistant wild grasses throughout its Zen gardens and walkways. Because of the shade afforded by the signature ash tree, the architects were also able to create a two-story glass façade “that makes you feel as if you’re living in a tree house,” says Aidlin.

The transition from inside to outside is made seamless through decks—particularly the sweeping one off the living room that features a sitting area protected by a cantilevered roof. Iconic Butterfly chairs and a simple Vitra cork stool invite lingering, while the ash tree once again figures prominently by providing ample southern shade during the warm summer months.

As in many family homes, the combined kitchen/living room/dining area is the nexus of daily life: A sophisticated yet practical mix of brushed stainless surfaces, custom cherry cabinetry, and a Corian island designed to withstand spills and homework sessions are key to the family-friendly space. Durable bamboo flooring connects these rooms and adds a rich, textural element to the bedrooms and bathrooms as well. The study overlooking the backyard and an understated media room both have a pared-down aesthetic.

While most of the materials and colors employed are soothing neutrals, there are occasional vibrant pops including a deep blue central staircase “that was inspired by the saturated blues and greens of Sol LeWitt’s work,” explains Aidlin. Bathrooms feature grass-green tiles with translucent Bendheim etched glass, and window treatments are virtually absent from the entire house. “The master bedroom has custom wooden louvers. But for the most part, we just relied heavily on the shade from the surrounding trees,” says Aidlin. “This project was about building an effortless, spare suburban home to a specific site.”

A version of this article appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Nature Study.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Designer Spotlight

Edit Module
Karen Wells Design
Karen Wells Design creates professionally finished, uniquely beautiful interiors. Interior design, furniture design, interior architecture, project management, space planning, and curating collections are our specialty. Each project brings a fresh aesthetic based on the clients tastes, idiosyncrasies, and how they want to live. Interpreting each space for its functionality, refining it through the use of color, texture ,light, art, and furniture proportions allows KWD to create environments called home.

Karen Wells Design

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Builder Spotlight

M&M Custom Homes
M&M Custom Homes is recognized as one of the premier home builders in the Hamptons and throughout Nassau County. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, we provide a superior client experience—creating exceptional value with state-of-the-art construction and unsurpassed design.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

Gardeneering
For thirty three years, every design we create stems from our holistic approach to landscape gardening. Beginning with developing the best possible soil, our attention branches out to address all facets of a project with similar focus. Whether it's hardscape or quality of plant material, the installations are of the highest order -- as is the quality of our estate maintenance services. Every effort is made to blend the client's vision with the aesthetic aspects of the house and property -- ultimately, to create an organic realization.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

Kathryn’s Flower Gardens
Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is committed to providing exquisite cutting gardens, container plantings and unique and heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs, all grown right outside your door. Inspired by the agricultural heritage of the east end, Kathryn’s was created as a sentimental tribute to the owner’s young daughter. Led by a team of experienced horticulturalists, the firm’s sole focus is on providing boutique and personalized containers, flower and vegetable gardens. Located in Sag Harbor, Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is a subsidiary of Summerhill Landscapes.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

HARMONIA INC Creative Landscapes and Fine Stonework
HARMONIA INC was founded out of a profound passion for creating complete landscapes and gardens that co-exist in harmony, with the natural settings that grace each property. Harmonia will design and install a customized landscape complimentary to your visual desires, and your personal lifestyle. “ Our work is a reflection of how you will want to enjoy your property for years to come.” Harmonia Inc is a full service design, installation and maintenance company, beautifying the Hamptons every day. 631-537-9672

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags