THIS NEW HOUSE IN SAUSAL­ITO MIGHT BE CALLED “GREENE & GREEN”: IT’S A CAL­I­FOR­NIA ARTS & CRAFTS RE­VIVAL DE­SIGN IN­COR­PO­RAT­ING THE PRAC­TICES OF SUS­TAIN­ABLE AR­CHI­TEC­TURE AND UNIVER­SAL DE­SIGN.

ASIAN DE­SIGN ELE­MENTS TIE INTO AN ARTS & CRAFTS AES­THETIC. THE WOOD-FRAMED GREAT ROOM IS A FLOAT­ING PAVIL­ION WITH A STONE BASE.

Arts and Crafts Homes - - NEW YORK -

T he cou­ple’s early 20th-cen­tury house in Sausal­ito came with an empty lot in the rear, which they rec­og­nized as the ideal spot to build their re­tire­ment home. Amy Tan, a well-known nov­el­ist, and her hus­band, Lou DeMat­tei, a tax lawyer, worked with Michael Mat­suura of Michael Rex Ar­chi­tects to imag­ine a light-filled re­treat. All of them were in­spired by Arts & Crafts-era Cal­i­for­nia ar­chi­tects Greene & Greene, who de­signed Asian-in­flected homes in har­mony with na­ture. This lot has a syl­van set­ting, with cen­tury-old live oaks and spec­tac­u­lar views of Richard­son Bay.

The house would in­cor­po­rate the ac­ces­si­bil­ity con­cepts of univer­sal (or in­clu­sive) de­sign to make later years eas­ier to nav­i­gate. Clients and ar­chi­tect also cham­pi­oned sus­tain­abil­ity for the con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of the new house, which is built with re­cy­cled and “green” ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing bam­boo. The roof is over­planted with drought-tol­er­ant suc­cu­lents. A “live roof” is nat­u­rally fire-re­sis­tant, re­duces noise, and pre­vents runoff—and it cre­ates a more at­trac­tive view from higher ground.

The site was steep and small, so con­struc­tion be­gan with ex­ca­va­tion to keep the build­ing height low, which avoided im­pact on neigh­bors’ views and sat­is­fied strict lo­cal or­di­nances. Main liv­ing spa­ces—liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas, the kitchen— would be on the high­est level to take ad­van­tage of the views and light. Bed­rooms and of­fices would oc­cupy the mid­dle level, over­look­ing the bay, while the garage and stor­age spa­ces would be on the low­est level.

The over­all de­sign mar­ries Asian ele­ments to an Arts & Crafts aes­thetic. The wood-framed great room is a pavil­ion float­ing above an or­ganic stone base. Ex­te­rior col­umns of Western red cedar have a soft, el­e­gant ta­per.

A great room was de­signed as the cen­ter of the house, with wide bands of glass al­low­ing views of the bay to the east, a live-oak canopy to the north, and an in­ti­mate gar­den pa­tio to the south. Low­er­ing the ceil­ing on ei­ther side cre­ated al­coves for mu­sic and din­ing; the large space thus gained com­fort­able

An open, pavil­ion-like great room with walls of glass sug­gests Ja­panese ar­chi­tec­ture. The li­brary hall’s book­cases fea­ture softly rounded, re­mov­able rail­ings that se­cure books in case of earth­quake (left). Bam­boo reed­ing be­tween ceil­ing beams adds warmth and acous­ti­cal in­su­la­tion; the ceil­ing lights have hand­made Ja­panese pa­per shades by Sue John­son (above). 7KH ƬUHSODFH VXUURXQG RI matte-glazed tile fea­tures re­lief tiles de­pict­ing a KHURQ ƬVKLQJ LQ D PDUVK (Hand­made tiles are by Pratt & Lar­son.)

ABOVE The en­try gate hints at the AsianLQƮXHQFHG $UWV &UDIWV UHYLYDO KRXVH LQVLGH OP­PO­SITE 7KH ƬUHSODFH FHQWHUV WKH ZHVW HQG of the great room where bronze sculp­tures IURP p&DWoV LQ WKH &UDGOHq E\ 'DUOLV /DPE VLW on the man­tel. The front en­try is just be­yond.

ABOVE A stone foun­da­tion sup­ports two up­per lev­els con­structed of clear Western red cedar. RIGHT Amy Tan and her hus­band, Lou DeMat­tei, en­joy the ter­race with Bobo and Tux.

The great room is en­closed by win­dows and glass fold­ing doors pat­terned af­ter ori­en­tal screens. Views come in­side; sim­ple fur­nish­ings ca­su­ally ac­com­mo­date guests, and the dogs.

The writer’s of­fice is hid­den be­hind f’ld­ing, translu­cent Chi­nese screens; when they all are closed, their carv­ings are a Chi­nese poem. The ’wner had the elm-wood screens carved in Shang­hai.

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