I have designed two hillside homes in California’s Topanga canyon that take advantage of ‘passive-solar’ design. These homes provide the best of California’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle living accompanied with spectacular views of the rugged landscape in Topanga canyon.
Both homes are of a passive solar design, meaning that the home have been configured to take energy-saving advantage of the local breezes, sun orientation and heat-storing finish materials. It’s wise to design the homes to naturally take advantage of the local climate and we find that configurations that save energy make the house more comfortable year-round. Design features that reduce air-conditioning also reduce glare and increase the enjoyment of views.
The homes were designed in a generous 4,000 square foot size and feature a kitchen open to the family room, a bright and sunny staircase in the center of the house, four bedrooms, a media room and a three or four-car garage. Interior living spaces are accompanied by shaded outdoor patios that can be used for a large part of the year; Rooms flow to the outdoors to enjoy the California climate.
The exterior materials of the buildings have been selected for their fire resistance and the landscaping around the homes will complement the design features while also increasing fire safety.
The choice of a Mediterranean design brings to mind similar houses dotted in the landscapes of Spain, Italy and the South of France. My frequent travels to those countries result in designs that include old-world comfort and enjoyment of life incorporated with a tasteful use of all modern conveniences. The honest forms of Mediterranean homes go well with a contemporary sensibility of uncluttered interior spaces and a respect for the land.