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Arbol House

I’m excited to share that our Palo Alto Contemporary project has been selected for the AIA Silicon Valley Home Tour on May 4. Congratulations Stephen Verner Architects on the stunning Arbol House! Like all great projects, this was a true collaboration between client, architect, designers, landscape architect and contractor. What shines through is a unified vision, a home that shines with the clarity of how a fun, young family in California really lives today.  Livable. Adaptable. Durable. Personalized.  These ideas where combined in a way, seemingly effortlessly, to create a stunning home fit for the AIA tour.

Here are a few of my recollections on how the design materialized.

Entry connects front and backyard.

Inside Out.The home is designed to be lived from the inside out, with main rooms all opening visually to the large backyard, with pool and vegetable garden. The first connection to the house is through materials and colors, which flow between the spaces inside and out. The entry limestone path leads into the house and entry, and reconnects at the exterior patio and pool

View from the pool, with doors wide open.

Seat with a View.Where the windows do not open, or slide away, comfortable seating is added, often built-in. This allows a place for an individual to sit at any time of the day to read an e-book or take a nap, or for a parent and child to sit and read a book, while bringing the individual right to the edge of the view.

Window seat, just visible next to the fireplace, is a welcome place to perch on a lazy day, or for friends to gather.
A view of the modern Juliette balcony…all glass, metal with cushions to soften the perch.

Color Palette.A defined yet variable color palette allowed us to create a sense of rhythm, a bit of poetry, as the colors of white, blue and grey combine with oak and teak in different combinations throughout the house, while unique materials and textures add exclamations points – high points – throughout the house.  Blue plaster in living room…check! Textured blue Heath Tile in the kitchen…check! White and grey marble in the master bathroom…check!

Blue plaster, teak cabinets, an oak table, four Roche Bobois chairs, a custom carpet and John Pomp fixture combine here to create an intimately scaled space.
Blue “Crease In, Crease Out” dimensional Heath Tile animate the backsplash.
Kreo tile adds pattern and interest to the master bathroom, along with a custom vanity and sink.

Adaptable architecture and furniture. Flexibility, to accommodate shifting use of space, was a main driver in the architectural design, along with the furniture design. In this home, walls move to help define space at different times, windows open for seamless transitions in-out, and stacked curtains can be moved to transform a downstairs play-space into a home theater. Many pieces of furniture are also designed to move, to adjust to use and view. A consequence of flexibility is that some furniture moved away from walls, providing opportunities to adjust and move. Even lighting in the kitchen is designed toadjust, to adapt and move with mood and use.

A teak wall conceals the office.
View to office, and corridor to mud room and powder room are revealed.

Personalized.This home shines with elements reflecting the client’s personality and family life stories. The metal screen at the stairwell provides a visually stunning element in the restrained design, while incorporating all four of the zodiac signs of parent and children. In the kid’s bedrooms, each child was allowed to select and help with creating a custom design for their bedroom carpet, using inexpensive Flor Tile,anda great installer.

Custom color-blocked fabrics quiet but add interest to this Roche Bobois sofa.

Built-ins add space.Select pieces of furniture when judiciously built-in also adds to the calm feeling of the space, extends and personalizes function, and can help to enlarge the spirit and size of a room. In this custom headboard and nightstands, charging stations are integrated into the drawers, and platform bed edges are rounded to soften the blow to shins during nocturnal wanderings.

Not everything is precious in this home, including this affordable, durable and extremely comfortable master bedroom carpet.

Exterior Rooms. California’s beautiful weather calls for exterior living spaces as comfortable as interior spaces. Here, color and fabrics combine to unify different pieces from Janus Et Cie , Paola Lenti and Concrete Works. A custom designed platform allowed us to raise the Paolo Lenti day bed to be the appropriate height with the other pieces. 

If you’re in Palo Alto Saturday May 4th, please stop by, as I’ll be on-site from 1-4 and would be happy to answer questions on finishes, lighting and furniture that make this home a star!

As always, I am grateful for introductions to friends and colleagues looking for a great collaboration on a personalized home.

David Bjørngaard, April 2019

Check out our latest work, or more on this project, on our website at Bjørn Design.

All photos:  Interior Design by David Bjørngaard, completed while working at ScavulloDesign Interiors. ©Aaron Leitz Photography.

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