IF THE BES T-LAID plans of mice and men often go awry — to echo Steinbeck — the same can be said of even the most well-conceived bachelor pads. It was a con firmed bachelor who approached architect Miles Berger in 2006, asking for help replacing his hillside teardown in Tiburon’s Lyford Cove. Though
the owner (who prefers anonymity) had a serious girlfriend,
his list of must-haves leaned considerably more toward poker
nights than Better Homes and Gardens. He wanted a workout
room, a garage big enough for his car collection, and a game
room for his pool table and card table, where he held a weekly
poker game. Oh — and he wanted to maximize the view.
It’s impossible to talk about this site without mentioning
the view. The elegantly modern home that now sits here is
practically swallowed by it. Think of watching Ayala Cove,
Angel Island and Raccoon Straits on an IMAX screen all day,
and you start to get a feel for why the owner held on to this
property for more than 20 years, even with the “dump” —
Berger’s word — that stood here before. It was a clapboard
triplex, built in the ’40s or ’50s when Tiburon was a funky
railroad town, and it was literally falling down the hill.
So Berger was commissioned to create an entirely new
home, and from the beginning he understood that everything needed to be about the view. At the owner’s request,
he perched the top floor — a loftlike great room — where it
could best encompass the view of the straits. Then he made
sure that every water-facing wall was constructed of glass. In
the living/dining area, sliding glass doors stretch the entire
length and height of the room, opening onto a limestone deck.
In the master bedroom below, windows are the main attrac-
tion. And in the game room beneath that, an assemblage of
windows reaches 17 feet high.
Berger also solved a dilemma. “One of the problems with
many sites in Tiburon and Belvedere is that they orient
toward Angel Island,” he says. “But the most important
view is the Golden Gate Bridge.” To rectify this, Berger
designed west-facing corner windows that contain no mullions (the metal trim that usually holds the glass in place).
Instead, there are seamless right angles of glass, opening
to a bay and bridge view.
It was a clapboard triplex, built in
the ’40s or ’50s when Tiburon was
a funky railroad town, and it was
literally falling down the hill.