house of earth & sky

architect: aidlin darling design

builder: ryan associates

landscape designer: lutsko associates

lighting designer: eric johnson associates

photography: matthew millman

Winner: -2017 green good award chicago athenaeum: museum of architecture & design + the european centre for architecture art design & urban studies -2016 aiacc residential awards: merit award

house of earth and sky is the sustainability-forward, forever family home of a hillsborough, ca couple who work in technology. the house is a values-driven expression of the client’s dream to celebrate family time and bay area living with net-zero energy consumption, leed platinum sustainability and nature-driven modernism. the hutton studio worked with frequent collaborator aidlin darling design to create a singularly luxurious vision of off-the-grid living. rammed-earth walls, core-ten steel and sympathetic colors glow in architectural volumes and interior finishes.

this dramatic building is set at the crest of a hillside and organized toward a central courtyard. it integrates necessary sustainability functions like passive air conditioning, solar power and cistern water storage with elegant massing and volumes.

the clients wanted a low maintenance home with a human sense of scale. big, transparent spaces required interiors that are sculptural, family friendly and space-planned to spark relaxed communication.

our approach

this warmer, more natural side of modernism used light and nature as materials to conjure a palpably organic feeling and a stylish sense of place. challenging technical requirements and designing for social interactions in unstructured spaces required simplifying complexity.

we distilled and magnified the sense of nature by using interesting shapes that complemented the architecture and keyed interiors to the surrounding landscape. we repurposed furniture where we could and added original or customized elements where nothing else would do. furniture, carpets and other creative choices visually link life inside to the outside landscape and pool.

The kitchen and game room (with over 500 board games) are primary to how the family lives. the sons leave for college soon, so the house organically transitions into living well with an empty nest.

net-zero living does not mean the family sacrificed anything. the house is private and super comfortable, with a quiet hush from the rammed-earth walls. guilt-free creature comforts like a swimming pool and plush landscaping embrace a unique, california style of indoor-outdoor living.