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… but small-feeling structures and spaces do not have to have negative connotations. For some of us: a little-looking house feels more like home than a huge-seeming mansion. Skip for a moment the key close-to-San-Fransisco location, scenic forest surroundings, ideal hilltop 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 physically gigantic domicile feel inside and out.

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.

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.

Aside from the appearance, there are also the aforementioned environmental design strategies – details include energy-efficient applies, 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.