This residence, nestled into a clearing in a lush forested landscape, was designed to immerse the occupants in the full range of environments that the site offers.
A winding drive brings visitors through the forest to arrive at an open hilltop court that is defined by the low, embracing form of the house. The house is built on a steep grade, with the entry on the second level, so as you move inside, the feeling of grounded horizontality becomes one of floating in the treetops. The tree canopy enfolds the interior space and creates a visual perimeter that changes with the seasons.
A staircase tucked behind the free-standing fireplace leads down to the lower level of the house, which is carved into the earth and gives onto the forest floor. The cozy nature of the lower level provides an experiential contrast to the expansive and light-filled level above.
What the completed house doesn't show, however, is its modest beginnings: this is a complete rethinking of an existing 1970s tract house, whose owners originally wanted only a kitchen upgrade.