Project: Peninsula House
Architecture: Richard Beard Architects
Interior Design: Kelly Hohla Interiors
Home Builder: Peninsula Custom Homes (PCH)
Landscape Architecture: Lutsko Associates
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California
Photography: Paul Dyer
The peninsula south of San Francisco is dotted with suburban towns and villages in the hills and valleys along the west side of the bay. Nestled amidst the hilly neighborhoods is a rare 2-acre site. Seeking a sun-filled property that afforded privacy and the opportunity to spread out, the clients jumped at the chance to secure the property. The abundance of flat land meant that the site would be able to accommodate a house and support structures with plenty of space leftover for the development of both active and passive landscapes.
“The program for the Peninsula house was quite complicated,” notes Richard Beard, lead architect for the project and founder of Richard Beard Architects. “It required clever compositional moves to accommodate everything the clients wanted. While designed for easy and casual living on a day-to-day basis, it had to provide a generous entertaining space, office, fitness room, and guest quarters—all while maintaining privacy for everyone.” The Peninsula house needed to be elegant yet functional, a family-friendly home that simultaneously conveyed permanence, comfort, luxury, tradition, and modernity. The challenge was how to weave these seemingly disparate notions together as a holistic solution. The answer was to create a house that functioned as a strong yet neutral armature and that relied upon traditional proportions and materials. The interiors could then serve as an elegant counterpoint, animating the spaces as desired.
A series of stone-clad, linked structures and walls define the property, helping to break down the overall scale of the roughly 12,000-square-foot house. Spaces between structures become a suite of exterior courtyards. The stone, dry-stacked and featuring a raw cleft face, provides a sense of permanence and privacy to the property. The house unfolds as a series of layers, which physically and metaphorically signals the journey from public to private life. The path is marked by a series of walls and courtyards, beginning at the street, that lead to the autocourt and entry structure, and finally the interiors of the house itself. Leaving the autocourt and crossing a water feature, guests pass through a portal into a loggia adjoining a courtyard and reflecting pool. On axis is the front door, offering the first glimpse of the home’s interiors. The steel and glass entry reveals the interior of the home, where a grand, curving staircase rises in front of another reflecting pool and the rear yard.
Inside the home, classical proportions were pushed, pulled, and stretched to create a unique language of profiles. The exterior stone walls slip inside the house and into the entry before transitioning into a mix of limestone (walls and floors), wood, and plaster. Subtle differences in the limestone finish (honed for interior, brushed for exterior) help unify interior and exterior spaces. Large steel-framed windows and western red cedar beams add scale to the interior spaces. The simple approach to major interior finishes provides a sense of calm and scale to the house while furnishings provide touches of comfort. “The homeowners’ main concern was always about going too modern and mine was about staying too traditional,” interior designer Kelly Hohla shares. “I wanted them to have an updated home that feels timeless and that they can grow in—I think we were able to strike the perfect balance.”
Shared gathering spaces dominate the first floor (living room, dining room, kitchen, and so on), each providing access to the exterior. The second floor includes a zone that’s exclusively for kids. It’s distinct and apart from the parents, but not so far as to prove inconvenient. There’s also a generous and light-filled playroom just off the back stair that becomes a world apart, containing a proscenium and stage.
Outside, the grounds offer a mix of formal and informal spaces, including a putting green, water features, and a separate, free-standing 1,000-square-foot pool house. The pool house, clad entirely in cedar, serves double duty as a guest house. The Peninsula house defies simple definition; rather, its eclecticism provides an aesthetic that’s neither too formal nor too casual—the perfect solution for contemporary family living.
Limestone floors and walls are from Maidenstone
Engineered white oak flooring by First, Last and Always
Metal railing by Handcrafted Metals, Inc.
Steel windows and doors are by CoorItalia
Living room: cocktail tables by Tuell + Reynolds from DeSousa Hughes; pendant light by Henge from NIDO Living; sofa by A. Rudin; chairs by Holly Hunt and Paul Frankl.
Dining room: distressed-oak dining table; dining armchairs by Gregorius Pineo from Kneedler Fauchere are upholstered in a floral Roma material; side chairs are by Roman Thomas; antique rug is from Tony Kitz Gallery; pendant lights are vintage.
Kitchen: pendant lights are by Urban Electric; bar stools are by The Bright Group.
Breakfast room: chairs by Rose Tarlow Melrose House from Shears & Windows, upholstered in fabric by Sloane Miyasato; rock crystal pendant light is by Venfield; white oak table is from Therien Studio Workshop.
Game room: sofa is by Joseph Jeup; club chair is by Studio Van den Akker; cocktail table is by Skram; custom rug is by Mark Nelson Designs; pool table is by Blatt Billiards.
Master bedroom: hand-painted lacquer wall are by William Racke Studio; settee and bed are custom ; club chairs are by Patrick Naggar from Ralph Pucci, covered in fabric by Manuel Canovas from Cowtan & Tout; ottoman is custom; bronze pendant light is by Hervé Van der Straeten.
Bathroom: white-glass pendants by John Pomp Studios; bronze ottoman with Mongolian lamb seat is by Kimberly Denman; marble floor times are by Waterworks.
Poolhouse: sofa is from West Elm; side chair is by Gloster; cocktail table is from Anthem Home.