Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's 1999 Idea House

Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's 1999 Idea House

Article excerpt

We adapted the classic ranch house concept, making it work for today and tomorrow

* Welcome to our 1999 idea house, which occupies an oak-studded knoll above San Francisco Bay in the new Cupertino, California, community of Oak Valley Estates. A joint venture between Sunset and the O'Brien Group, a San Mateo, California, developer, it's the ultimate "home on the range."

An identifiably Western home that's rooted in tradition but reaching toward tomorrow, the house provides inspiration for anyone who plans to remodel or redecorate. We asked Newport Beach, California, architect Frank Stolz (see page 135) to reinterpret the ranch house concept - embodied in the one-story, porch-and-patio-oriented designs of the 1940s and 1950s - using today's materials and finishes. "The key idea is that each major room opens to an exterior space," he says. Team partners included San Francisco interior designer Ann Jones and Walnut Creek, California, landscape architect Jim Ripley.

The design seems both fresh and familiar. The towerlike structure is reminiscent of water towers on old California ranches, but it's actually a high-tech home office. And the shingle siding gives a traditional look with a new nonwood product that's fire-resistant and impervious to weather.

the floor plan

The house is organized as a series of flexible hubs or activity centers linked to multiple courtyards and porches. The kitchen is the largest hub: the dining room, family room, morning room, and living room open to it. Nearby are the dining patio - complete with outdoor kitchen - and the entertaining terrace. The children's den functions as the secondary hub, for games or computer work; it can also serve as an extra bedroom. It's surrounded by two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room, and a porch.

A trellis-covered walkway connects the house with the garage-casita, where there is room for one car in addition to the home office. This space can be adapted as a guest suite. The main two-car garage opens to the mudroom, which doubles as a recycling center and potting area.

You can order a complete set of Sunset 1999 Idea House plans, source code SSIH-99, by calling (800) 820-1283; cost is $714 for the first set of blueprints, $744 for four sets, $789 for eight sets. Shipping and handling costs and applicable taxes are extra.

Key features

* 5,515 square feet of living space (including garages) designed to maximize views and outdoor living

* 2 garages - 1 for two cars; 1 for one car - demarcate a motor court

* Master suite with vestibule, walk-in closet, double-door "shower island," whirlpool tub, 2 sinks

* 2 more bathrooms and 3 powder rooms

* Family room with fireplace and media center

* Veranda off the family room

* Morning room/lanai

* Dining patio with outdoor kitchen

* Formal dining room

* Living room with fireplace and doors opening to entertaining terrace

* Library off the living room

* 2 bedrooms with access to the front porch: either can function as a home office, den, or guest room

* Children's den or extra bedroom

* Linen storage hall

* Casita that can function as a home office or workshop

* Laundry room

* Mudroom/recycling center

Other contributors


Hardware: Ace Hardware (; lighting: Thompson Electric (925/837-5100); lighting control system: Leviton Manufacturing (800/323-8920); painting: Five Star Painting (408/971-2207); skylights: Velux-America (800/283-2831); slate: Agorra Building Supply, Inc. (925/829-2200); windows and sliding doors: Pella (800/847-3552).


* GENERAL. Landscape contractor: Mike McCall Landscape (925/313-8700); plants: Monrovia Nursery (888/752-6848); potting soil and soil conditioner: Supersoil; roofing: Owens Corning (800/438-7465); siding: James Hardie (888/842-7343); stone: Cultured Stone (800/644-4487); tools and hardware: Ace Hardware (www. …

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