Typically, when you see a sleek, contemporary home, you don’t imagine a scene with young children running throughout the space. But don’t be fooled by the crisp, minimalistic style of this 8,000-square-foot Indian Hill home. It was very much designed with family living in mind.
“I wish it looked as good right now as it does in these photos,” the homeowner says. With a four-year-old son, a seven-year-old daughter and a dog, this home sees plenty of occasions of clutter and chaos, but the design and selections were carefully planned to accommodate all the residents, as well as the family and friends who visit them.
After living in the San Francisco Bay area for 14 years, the owner and his wife, whom he met and married while living there, decided to raise their family back in his hometown.
“We lived in a contemporary home and wanted a similar set up here, but couldn’t find the style we wanted,” he says. “We ended up building in Mt. Adams. We loved it there but once our oldest was ready for school, we wanted her to go to the same school I went to. Plus, we wanted our children to have plenty of space to run around and play.” So, a little over two years ago, they chose to build again.
A logical launch point
While often the initial contact in building a home of this scope might be the architect, this process actually began with a phone call to builder Andy Hueber. Andy’s father, builder John Hueber, and the homeowner’s father were long-time friends. “We knew the Huebers would be fantastic to work with,” the owner says.
Andy and his brother Marc, joined their father’s business in 2002 and their team builds homes that run the gamut between traditional and contemporary. “One common misperception is that people perceive builders in a similar manner as they do actors,” Hueber says. “They typecast us as having a certain style,” But in reality, we read the blueprints and build the house our clients want.”
To provide those blueprints, the couple asked Hueber to recommend an architect. Luke Field with Platte Architecture and Design made that short list. “We worked with Luke in the past and liked what he brought to the table,” says Hueber. “He was a really good fit for this project.”
The couple met with the Platte team and said work they had done— residential and even some of their commercial projects—fit their style. After giving them a few ideas to get the ball rolling, the Platte team took it from there.
The architect says the five-acre site inspired the placement of the home. “The owner chose a very nice lot. With its topography, it just seemed natural to orient the house so that it opened up to the valley on the south side.”
To design the home’s physical structure, the Platte architects used the 3D software SketchUp. “That allowed us to quickly iterate designs and visualize them to keep the surprise factor down,” Field says. The owners could see a virtual rendition of the home on a screen in the Platte office.
“It’s amazing how close the renderings were to the actual outcome,” the owner says.
Bridging the gap
The house was designed in a modified “V” shape, with the front door being at the point of the V and wings of the home running off to the left and right. The left wing houses the master suite on the first floor and his and her offices on the second. The second-floor children’s wing is reached via a bridge with a glass inset. Hueber says the initial plans allowed for glass railings for the bridge and that the idea for the glass floor came from the homeowners.
“That bridge was my wife’s idea,” the owner says. “She wanted to spice things up a bit.” The original concept called for the bridge’s floor to be totally made of glass, but “it was a bit scary with the kids.”
The team compromised with a glass panel inset that allows for a bit of adventure and a view of the great room below. “That glass is 1-1/2 inches thick,” Hueber says. “It’s virtually bulletproof.”
In between both wings is an open-concept, living, dining, kitchen area all with wide-open views of the surrounding landscape. There are plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows that afford a sweeping view of the valley and the woods beyond.
More space for fun
In addition to a dedicated toy room on the lower level and a second-floor media room, dubbed the “Netflix” room by the family, the kids and the dog have full run of the site, which happens to be surrounded by a greenbelt.
But there are plenty of options regardless of age. One of the owner’s favorite spaces for relaxing is the expansive outdoor living area that is sheltered beneath a warm cedar ceiling. A series of electric radiant heaters installed flush in ceiling are controlled remotely through a Lutron app on their phones.
“We can be out here in the dead of winter and it feels like we are watching TV inside,” the owner says.
“As we were designing that space, I could see a lot of life happening out there,” Field says. In addition to that 25 by 25-foot covered space there are multiple layers of outdoor gathering spots. “We wanted to create different zones that corresponded to different functions.” There’s a 40 by 18-foot open patio, a balcony off the homeowner’s office and a 35 by 25-foot pool deck.
The heated pool is another family favorite that stretches its season of use from spring to fall. “We open it as early as possible and keep it open as late as possible,” the owner says.
The view from beyond
The view of the home from beyond the pool showcases cedar soffits that add layers of warmth to what might have otherwise been a rather stark stone and zinc exterior. “We looked at a variety of products for those soffits,” says Hueber. “We wanted something in natural earthy tones to create a visual balance. After the homeowner sent me a photo of a home she’d seen with a similar treatment, we chose to use a select grade cedar that has a smooth texture—without a lot of knots.”
It’s this view of the home, from the top of the “V” so to speak, that is a particular favorite of the homeowner.
Not too long ago, the builder needed to drop something off at this home and was greeted—very warmly and politely—at the front door by the homeowners’ young son. “It was great to see this sign of a life going on in a structure we helped create,” he says. “That’s the most rewarding part of this process.”
Builder: Hueber Homes
Architect: Platte Architecture + Design
Interior design: Homeowners and Renan Menninger, RM Interiors
Kitchen and bath design and custom cabinetry: Dan Becker, Innerwood & Company
Lighting: Drew Dearwester, Switch Lighting
Flooring: Oak hardwood and Porcelanosa Tile
Fireplace surround: XLIGHT Premium
Fireplace tile from Porcelanosa Tile
Sinks and faucets: Kohler
Bosch dishwasher, Wolf range, Thermador refrigerator, Marvel beverage fridge, Scotsman ice machine, Miele coffee maker, from Custom Distributors Inc.