PERHAPS THE GREATEST HURDLE
of building on a hilltop where the towns of Ross and
Kentfield share a territorial border was that a woodsy
midcentury summer home by noted architect William
Wurster already stood there.
Its historic value was hotly debated, but because of clumsy
additions and other changes made to it over the years, both
cities eventually allowed a new house by the Los Angeles and
San Francisco firm Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects to
take its place.
Completed about a year ago, the 7,500-square-foot home,
designed collaboratively by principal architects Steven Ehrlich
and Takashi Yanai, has nearly the same-size footprint as its
predecessor. Nestled amid an acre and a half of redwoods
and sun-loving live oak forests that thrive in that ecotone,
the new house also takes full advantage of a wide panorama,
crowned by the county’s emblematic peak, Mount Tamalpais.
Composed of four rectilinear volumes laid in a roughly
reverse Z-shaped plan and stacked on three floors, the house
has discrete public and private open-plan areas that flow easily from one into the other to accommodate the owner, an
audiovisual systems specialist who often works from home.