An entire downstairs, however, is exactly what they got.
After hiring Ron Sutton of Sutton Suzuki Architects, Goldman
and Love realized that the lower level had been poorly laid out.
“My first reaction,” says Sutton, “was to try to organize the
space better in relation to the grid of the house. It needed to be
more straightforward.” To that end, he — and the construction
firm of Ireland-Robinson and Hadley, Inc. — gutted the lower
level, reconfiguring the walls and rooms completely.
But Sutton also had another design challenge. Goldman is
a fan of modern homes (their house in Florida is a minimalist
showcase) but this home, at least from the outside, is a shin-
gled Craftsman. Love, who prefers a more traditional house,
was happy with the home’s upstairs, with its Mediterranean-
style stucco walls and wood-beamed ceilings. “My challenge
was to create something that felt contemporary in design yet
felt like it fit in with the rest of the house,” says Sutton, “so
there wasn’t a stark difference between the two floors when
you walked down.”
He solved this problem by using natural materials, such
as rough stone, limestone and mahogany, which echoed the
warmth of the upstairs. He also created a neutral beige paint
color scheme to tie the t wo levels together. You don’t get the feel-
ing, as you descend the steps, that these are t wo different homes.
What you feel, instead, is a showstopping awe as you enter
the master bedroom, which is dominated by a nearly seamless window 11 feet high and 32 feet long. It’s a nonstop reel
of nature, reminiscent of the David Hockney “nature” movies
that were on view at the 2013 de Young exhibit. Goldman and
Love intended it that way, and they’ve chosen not to include
any two-dimensional art in the home. “Mount Tam and the
redwoods are more spectacular than anything we could ever
hang on the walls,” Goldman says.
In order to achieve this stunning effect, Sutton had to lower
the floor of the bedroom by 18 inches and design a window with
the smallest mullions (a vertical or horizontal element that
forms a division between units of a window) possible. “We
probably had a dozen meetings where I’d say, ‘can’t you make
those mullions any smaller?’ ” says Goldman. “And Ron would
go back and find a way to get another quarter inch out.”
Because Goldman spent 25 years of his career getting
engineers to do things that seemed impossible, he doesn’t
take no for an answer. In the end, he got a bedroom punc-
tuated by a seamlessness between the indoors and out. “I
basically wanted an infinity bedroom,” says Goldman.
Nature’s beauty is echoed in the room itself. One side is
consumed by a dramatic stone wall that stops, in one section,