An artist and an avid gardener/yoga enthusiast, the residents were looking to situate their growing retirement pursuits in spaces that would capture the imagination.
The steeply sloping site that had long been their home offered seclusion and inspirational views within forests of impressive pines and redwoods. Dividing their programmatic needs into separate cabins allowed the two small structures to be placed lightly between existing trees with minimal re-grading of the site and gave each a different view of the woods.
The planted roof of the lower building provides a quilt-like garden for the artist to look down upon. The green roofs blend with the hillside and provide a canvas for the client’s love of gardening. The simple and modern interiors of the studios offer spaces for quiet reflection among the trees.
Says architect Jonathan Feldman: ‘In order to delicately create the needed extra space in the densely wooded hillside, we separated the art and yoga studio from the guest suite into small, removed structures and dug them into the steep hillside. The upper cabin overlooks the lower, which is largely hidden behind its artfully planted garden roof.’
Best known as the home base of Muir Woods National Monument, one of the most beautiful redwood forests near San Francisco, Mill Valley is a charming village oasis full of cute galleries and shops, tasty restaurants, gorgeous walks, and its fair share of hidden gems.
The Coast Redwood is the tallest living thing in the world, and these giants serve as a reminder to how young humanity is. The oldest tree in the park is at least 1,200 years old. There are three main loops that take visitors around the forest, all of which are flat and paved, but the park also connects with various trails on Mount Tamalpais.
The Mill Valley town, located just north of San Francisco on the flank of the towering Mount Tamalpais, has long been known as a cultural hub. The Mill Valley Film Festival is an internationally recognised festival that has attracted leading filmmakers and movie aficionados for the past 40-something years.
Mill Valley is one of the most affluent and highly educated cities in the United States. But it is also renowned for its arts scene – from local comedy to theatre, the town prides itself on a history filled with icons like Robin Williams and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir.
location: Mill Valley, CA, USA | project team – architecture: Feldman Architecture | contractor: JP Builders | green roof + landscape design: Jori Hook | structural engineer: Yu Strandberg Engineering | geotechnical engineer: Miller Pacific Engineering Group | photography: Joe Fletcher