Inside a spectacular Palo Alto house with a cool green roof deck

modern house exterior

Cathy Schwabe Architecture in collaboration with John Lum Architecture has designed this GreenPoint Rated house located in downtown Palo Alto, California. The cutting-edge design merges seamlessly with comfort and efficiency in this 5,500-square-foot innovative healthy home.

With more than 35 green building strategies, highlights include a Hydronic cooling system integrated into the ceilings, refreshing planted living walls, and a rooftop patio garden oasis. Additionally, an irrigation system that utilizes recycled gray water promotes a health-conscious lifestyle for its inhabitants.

PROJECT DETAILS: INTERIOR ARCHITECT John Lum Architecture AOR/EXTERIOR ARCHITECT Cathy Schwabe Architecture CONTRACTOR Drew Maran Construction LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Arterra Landscape Architects LIGHTING DESIGNER Illuminosa

modern house exterior

For this family of four, their commitment to environmental responsibility started when they began the arduous task of deconstructing the original structure. Salvaging materials for reuse was just the beginning; their dedication to sustainable choices extended to the use of Flyash concrete, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood, low and/or zero VOC content finishes, and recycled content insulation.

entry garden with an exterior view of the house

The use of these sustainable materials in the design of this home contributed to an impressive 260 points score on the GreenPoint Rating system (a third-party verification of green homes and an independent seal of approval that reassures homeowners that a home is healthier, more comfortable, durable, and resource-efficient).

modern house exterior with a water feature

Positioned on a double lot, this sustainably designed house showcases radiant cooling in the ceiling and computer-controlled windows that provide natural ventilation. Its exterior is entirely clad in unstained redwood, specifically designed for extensive outdoor living, featuring an elaborate roof deck retreat for the master suite.

modern kitchen

Inside this elegant home, you will find an airy great room with an open kitchen, a private study, a mudroom, and a powder room on the main level. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a master bedroom suite, while the basement level encompasses a recreation room and guest suite. There is an additional separate guesthouse attached at the rear of this home.

view into kitchen

What We Love: This Palo Alto house provides its occupants with an eco-friendly living environment in its unique design. There are so many cool features in this home, especially the roof deck retreat with its outdoor shower and tub that has an operable shade screen for the elements. The vertical garden wall and built-in planters in the backyard are also a fabulous design element, perfect for an urban house to make you feel like you are living in the countryside.

Tell Us: What design features do you like best in this home and what would you change? Please share your thoughts in the Comments, we love reading your feedback!

Note: Be sure to check out a couple of other amazing home tours that we have highlighted here on One Kindesign in the state of California: Massive oak tree defines this incredible modern sanctuary in Northern California and Fresh modern update to an Eichler house in the San Francisco Bay Area.

view of the indoor-outdoor porch opens to the kitchen with sliding glass doors that pocket into the wall

home office with a built-in desk and daybed

modern home office with a daybed

modern home library with a bookshelf

modern bathroom

bent steel plate and bamboo stair

Above: A bent steel plate and bamboo staircase that joins all three levels — basement, main and upper level.

loft access ladder/bookcase adjacent to built-in storage, kid's bedroom

loft access ladder/bookcase adjacent to built-in storage, kid's bedroom

tile detail in the shower

ladder loft access in kid's bedroom

detail of loft access in the kid's bedroom, steel ladder, and steel guard rail

detail of guard rail and handrails from ladder coming up into kid's loft in bedroom

detail of guard rail and handrails from ladder coming up into kid's loft in bedroom

small bathroom with a skylight

bathroom with a corner window with clear and translucent glass

Above: The owner’s bathroom has a corner window with clear and translucent glass. The concrete countertop has an integral sink.

walk through the shower to an outdoor deck with an outdoor shower and tub

Above: A walk-through shower to the outdoor deck with an outdoor shower and tub.

second-floor deck garden, with a built-in outdoor tub

second-floor deck garden, with a built-in outdoor tub, planters, and operable shade screen

Above: This second-floor deck garden features a built-in outdoor tub, planters, and an operable shade screen. 

outdoor tub with folding cover on the second floor garden deck

Above: This outdoor tub on the second-floor garden deck has a folding cover.

second-floor deck with outdoor shower + tub, living roof, and built-in bench

Above: This second-floor deck features an outdoor shower and tub, a living roof, and a built-in bench.

glass bridge over lightwell connecting entry to rear garden with the interior stair beyond

Above: A glass and steel bridge over a light well connects the entry to the rear garden. 

glass and steel bridge over a lightwell connects the entry to the rear garden

exterior stair to below-grade patio and garden with planted green walls and built-in planters

Above: This exterior staircase leads to a below-grade patio/garden. A planted green wall and built-in planters create an intimate outdoor oasis in the city.

stepped, painted, concrete planters, a planted green wall + glass rail at concrete steps

planted vertical green wall behind and under stainless steel stair

garden terrace with a green wall, steel stairs and a view into the basement exercise space

rear garden view with the second-floor deck visible along with the rear porch

Above: A rear garden view with the second-floor deck visible through an opening at the upper left. The rear porch is in the center. The guest house is a one-story wing on the right side.


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