Hilltop House Marin Residence SB front

Small-feeling structures and spaces do not have to have negative connotations. For some of us, a compact house feels more like home than a huge mansion. Skip for a moment the key close-to-San-Francisco location, scenic forest surroundings, ideal positioning and even the fact that the home has received a rare LEED Platinum certification … and simply look instead at how comfortable in scale and style the designers managed to make this massive hilltop home feel inside and out.

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Hilltop House Marin Residence SB

Balconies and terraces were used by SB Architects (images by Mariko Reed) not only to provide views out but also manage to make the whole house feel like a series of small and organic structures, like the classic kind of European castle built up slowly by hand over time.

Hilltop House Marin Residence SB balconies

Small windows, thin metal railing and cedar siding further keep the scale of the structure in check and add a certain warmth to offset the limited use of concrete in retaining and core-house walls. These exterior strategies are mimicked on the inside as well, which in turn feels small, cozy and comfortable without sacrificing spacious open plans and window-filled white walls.

Hilltop House Marin Residence SB living room
Hilltop House Marin Residence SB fireplace

Aside from the appearance, there are also the aforementioned environmental design strategies – details include energy-efficient appliances, low-flow plumbing, non-harmful paints, recycled interior concrete and roofing metal, local and sustainable wood sources. On top of all of these green material choices, the home itself was sited as much as possible around existing trees on the lot.

Hilltop House Marin Residence SB dining
Hilltop House Marin Residence SB view

About SB Architects

A successful company is built on a solid foundation. At SB Architects, this foundation has always been the down-to-earth collaborative strength of our team, which is led by five dynamic principals, each with an international reputation for creating forward-thinking and inspiring hospitality, mixed-use, and residential spaces around the world. Above all, we strive to champion creativity and innovation, with a team structure that empowers our people, enhances talent, and encourages the free flow of ideas.”