Alan Ohashi and Philip Liang of Emeryville, California-based ODS Architecture have been designing stunning contemporary houses in the Bay Area for years. This time, they may have topped themselves with their new Monterey Terrace residence in Orinda, near Berkeley.
An impressive cedar ceiling and large expanses of glass highlight this stunning hillside home.
On a previously undeveloped hillside one-acre lot, the two have created a beautiful 5,000-square-foot structure highlighted by a cedar ceiling, a monolithic cement fireplace column, and vast expanses of glass that provide the homeowner with unimpeded views and bathe the open floor plan with California sunlight.
“The goal was to capture views from any vantage point in the house,” says Ohashi, the firm’s principal. “The project was more challenging because of the hilly site, but we did our best to work with the contours of the land.”
From the outside, the first thing one notices is the striking butterfly roof, which seems to capture the energy of the site’s topography. It also allowed Ohashi and Liang the opportunity for bigger pieces of glass where the roof is at its highest point.
This 9-foot bi-parting sliding glass door opens the great room to a wraparound deck.
“Being on the hillside, the roof let us arch the facades on the uphill and downhill sides higher than we might normally be able to do,” says Ohashi. “So functionally, as well as aesthetically, it gives the house a lot of advantages in terms of more glass area, which means more view and more sunlight.”
In terms of view and sunlight, the highlight comes in the form of a south-facing, second-floor wall of glass that opens the great room to a wrap-around deck. Complete with a 9-foo,t bi-parting sliding glass door mulled with a bank of large clerestory panels of glass, this expanse seamlessly blurs the transition from the great room, dining room, and kitchen inside to the deck. A large west-facing slider opens directly from the dining space to largest portion of the deck, which features a swimming pool.
The striking concrete fireplace provides the focal point of the great room. Poured in place from the foundation all the way to the roof, this concrete behemoth, in juxtaposition with the handsome cedar ceiling and a steel I-beam running the width of home, shows the architects’ love for eye-catching design elements.
“We and the owners share a love of ornamental materials,” says Liang, the firm’s design director. “We like to expose them and showcase them – concrete, steel, aluminum. Western Window Systems played a big role in helping that happen.”
The owner of the home, completed in 2017 with the intent of being a place for him and his wife to retire in, has a passion for woodworking, Liang and Ohashi say. Hence, the woodworking studio next to the garage. He also built his own dining room table and bed.
A bank of windows bathes the stairwell with lots of Bay Area natural light.
The master suite becomes one with the outdoors, thanks to an array of Western Window Systems doors and windows.
Speaking of the bed, it appears in the master suite on the other end of the home. It, too, features its own poured-in-place concrete fireplace as a well as a private wrap-around deck overlooking the surrounding valley. On the east side of the room, a giant sliding glass door opens the room to the deck, while adjacent to the fireplace is a hinged door.
A gloriously modern kitchen faces up the hillside with views courtesy of a bank of Western Window Systems clerestory windows running the width of the space. A large set of fixed windows illuminate the wide staircase leading from the ground floor to the main living space upstairs.