A Hillsborough Home Offers More Than Meets the Eye


modern living room orange sofa...

Architects Joshua Aidlin and Peter Larsen designed a LEED Platinum-certified house in Hillsborough with rammed-earth walls and light-filled spaces. For the living area, designer Gary Hutton chose back-to-back sofas by Living Divani from Dzine with a custom limestone-and-bronze coffee table. Leather-covered armchairs by Matteograssi and velvet-upholstered tub chairs by B&B Italia display a rich earthy palette. The painting is by Charley Brown, and the custom rug is by Tai Ping.

modern kitchen sculptural counter walnut...

Cherner Chair Company bar chairs from Zinc Details pull up to a sculptural counter made with a live-edge elm slab from Arborica in the kitchen. Cabinetry crafted from quarter-sawn walnut complements the coffee-colored stain on the engineered-walnut floors by First, Last & Always.

modern dining room red chairs...

In the dining area, a Lindsey Adelman Studio chandelier from The Future Perfect suspends above a black-stained-ash table by Living Divani from Dzine and chairs by Poltrona Frau from Arkitektura. An oil on canvas by Tom Lieber from Dolby Chadwick Gallery hangs on a wall treated with a technique similar to Shou Sugi Ban.

modern living room brown accents...

Hutton anchored the family room with a custom rug by Tai Ping and a sofa by B&B Italia; two Cassina chairs and the clients' existing ottoman complete the setting. Artwork by Peter Alexander hangs from a rammed-earth wall, and sliding glass doors by Vitrocsa lead outside.

modern game room multi-color

In the game room, Hutton chose colorful chairs by Zanotta and paired them with the clients' existing table. A playful rug by Tai Ping grounds the space, while a Studio Italia Design pendant hovers above. Chris French Metal fabricated the cabinets.

modern outdoor pool blue accents...

Landscape architect Ron Lutsko Jr. and landscape designer Andrea Kovol lined the swimming pool, built by Lifetime Pools, with purple three-awn grasses and devised a network of stone pavers and benches to connect the pool and the house. Hutton placed a coffee table by Ego Paris along with blue furnishings by Paola Lenti from Dzine around the alfresco space. The steel sculpture is by Ivan McLean.

modern staircase concrete wall wood...

A cast-in-place concrete wall lines one side of an interior staircase, which rises from the below-grade arrival foyer. The architects juxtaposed the imposing wall with a sculptural wood screen to create layers of texture.

modern bathroom green pendants concrete...

In the powder room, pendants by Bocci lend an ethereal quality to the space and play off a rammed-earth wall--made using soil excavated from the site. The architects designed a concrete counter with an integrated sink, executed by Concreteworks, and paired it with a Brizo faucet.

modern bedroom red accents

For one of the son's bedrooms, Hutton selected a geometric Axolight ceiling fixture and a Blu Dot bed, which rests on the owners' colorful rug. The rammed-earth walls here and throughout the structure were executed by Rammed Earth Works.

modern bedroom red bet round...

In the master bedroom, Hutton dressed a B&B Italia bed with a custom cover made with an Armani/Casa fabric. The table lamps are by Flos from Dzine, and Hutton customized the silk-and-wool rug by Tai Ping to match the patchwork drapery fabric by Creation Baumann. The acrylic on canvas above the bed is by Robert Kingston from Dolby Chadwick Gallery.

The house that architects Joshua Aidlin and Peter Larsen devised in Hillsborough, California, appears as an enormous glass pavilion. It incorporates rammed earth walls in addition to glass ones, and it’s topped with a kite-like asymmetrical butterfly roof.

“Contemporary design practices are too driven by optics and making a great image for the Internet,” says Larsen. “A house is not a purely visual object. We’re much more interested in creating an embodied human experience.”

The rammed earth walls supply sustainability and texture for the building, while the glass walls allow sunlight to pour into the rooms and offer the residents a connection to the landscape.

Designer Gary Hutton arranged modernist low-profile furnishings with an earthy palette that speak to the clients’ preferences and blend with the landscape.

“I did a custom rug with greens and amber,” says Hutton, who selected Living Divani sofas covered with pale pumpkin-colored chenille and leather.

Hutton brought brighter hues into the nearby dining area by surrounding the geometric wood dining table with chairs that showcase coral-colored leather.

“The Creation Baumann drapery fabric has been cut and sewn back together with bright orange thread, giving it this very sophisticated patchwork design,” the designer says. “The cotton was grown in the United States and processed in a zero-waste factory in Switzerland.”

In the end, the residence offers sustainable spaces the owners and their visitors can enjoy for years to come.

“This house is a LEED Platinum-certified home with net-zero energy,” Aidlin says. “We wanted the building to be as sculpturally dynamic as it is practical.”