Modern Redwood Cottage
Mill Valley, California
Architect/Designer | Richardson Pribuss Architects
Landscape Architect/Designer | RIchardson Pribuss Architects
Interior Designer | Richardson Pribuss Architects
Photographer | MFMC Studio
While vacationing, the clients found a dilapidated small cottage on a 4,600-square-foot lot wedged between a redwood grove and larger single-family properties. Most home buyers would want a lot with the potential for a house larger than 1,600 square feet; these clients considered this restraint luxurious coming from a 1,500-square-foot bungalow in Venice Beach.
The goal was to build a fire-safe, sustainable, “small is beautiful” non-wood house. The existing cottage was beyond repair, and the redwood trees were uprooting. The clients were keen to utilize best practices to design the house in a wildland urban interface (WUI) zone/dense forest and create a teaching tool how “cool modern cottages” can be built without wood and gas.
To tuck the cottage in amongst the redwood trees required building a foundation that floated above the tree roots. Accessing natural light was paramount while capturing views across the borrowed landscape of the adjacent Redwoods. Outdoor decks extend the small interior spaces to the exterior such that the house feels and lives twice as large.
The final product provides three bedrooms and three full baths, a high-volume central living circulation space all within the 1,600-square-foot envelope while being fire safe.