A fully rebuilt and modernized 1960s-era circular home with 180-degree views

Tucked away in Los Altos Hills (California, US), the aptly named Round House is a geometrically unique structure; one of a few similarly shaped circular homes in the area that were built in the 1960s. The clients fell in love with the quirky house and initially planned a modest remodel. Soon after moving in, the pair recognized more serious inadequacies; in particular, the low window eaves which curiously obstructed the otherwise spectacular views. With views as the driving force, the owners took the opportunity to modernize the entire house and open it up for a more contemporary feel.

Perched atop a precipitous site, the 5,103-square-foot structure has 180-degree views with a deck that runs around its perimeter. The original central courtyard, once open-to-sky, has been transformed by Feldman Architecture into the kitchen, an appropriate gesture for an aspiring baker and a family of food enthusiasts where cooking and gathering take center stage. A large, circular skylight streams daylight into the kitchen, creating a makeshift sundial that illuminates different sections of custom curved casework throughout the day. 

From the main entrance, visitors can effortlessly move through the open plan living room, kitchen, and spacious deck before circumnavigating the house via a wrap-around walkway. A concentric hallway traces the kitchen, leading to discrete pie-shaped rooms carefully arranged to demarcate private spaces from common areas. An outdoor deck is strategically carved out at the intersection of the living room and kitchen—framing sprawling views of South Bay. Tall, curved pocket doors vanish into the walls, asserting a seamless indoor-outdoor connection. The modest perimeter deck allows outdoor access from all the bedrooms, while curved landscape walls radiate outward and into thoughtful softscape. 

Shou Sugi Ban (charred wood) siding, seamless concrete floors, crisp curved white walls, and minimalist interior furnishings let the colorful and dramatic views take first position. Due to the challenges of its circular form, the project team had to look for creative solutions in each aspect of the venture. Most conventional solutions favor straight geometry, which made for a refreshing intervention that is an honest response to the constraints of this unique project. Respectful of the home’s original form, the updated residence now fully embraces its location through a site-sensitive response to the steep, challenging plot. 

Design and info © Feldman Architecture

Images © Adam Rouse

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