Palo Alto Contemporary

A young family sought a fun, durable home for kids to play and parents to entertain.

Captivating the Senses

The “adult room” features the client’s favorite color in the form of blue plaster, along with cozy seating for friends and a window seat for reading. A custom-designed bench compliments the linear design of the entryway’s ceiling.

Indoor Outdoor Living

The main house and guesthouse interiors provide seamless indoors-out living with flexible spaces that are adaptable to the changing needs of the family. Repeating colors from the interior provide seamless California living. Working with the landscape designer, we selected exterior pavers and guided the color of the cement retaining walls to complement our interior furniture, rugs, tile, and artwork.

Tailored Taste

Understanding the family’s needs and tastes allowed us to tailor the design to the architecture with a creative mix of materials, lighting, and furniture including many custom pieces designed to fit the scale of the house.

Limitless Combinations

A restrained color palette doesn’t restrict design impact. Grey and white marble tile and a cement tub and sink animate the primary bathroom, while subtle shading and texture enhance a powder room wall.

About the Project

Our guiding design theme was to connect to the exterior garden space when working on this large family compound: two properties combined to create a 3-story main house, 2-story guest house, large garden, and pool for a multi-generational family to gather. On an intimate level, window seats and shaded seating allow one to experience nature while interacting with family.

Materials and colors blur the intersection of the interior and exterior. The warmth of blonde oak and rich teak in the kitchen cabinetry and entry brise soleil contrast with grey exterior tile extended into the entry, textured carpets, steel, and furnishing. Shades of blue – our client’s favorite color – appear in furniture, plaster, and kitchen tile.

Flexible furniture animates the house, while outdoor ottomans, fabrics, and rugs in the family room acknowledge a completely open façade facing the patio and pool where the presence of damp bathing suits and ample sunlight are welcomed. Complimenting the flexible and fun shapes of Roche Bobois chairs and sofas, custom-designed tables, benches, and daybeds provide function at the scale needed for the interiors.

Four zodiac animals representing the year of each family member’s birth were commissioned by a local artist and are imprinted into the design in the form of laser-cut steel. Ample wall space accommodates a growing world-class art collection, while built-in millwork provides opportunities to display sculpture and family treasures.

The color palette of the main house was extended throughout the property. The guest house has a mix of mid to lower-cost materials. Poolside, a custom-designed concrete plinth brings a Paola Lenti Orlando sofa up to the exact seat height of Janus Et Cie‘s sculptural Lolah Lounge Chair for gathering.


Interior Design: David Bjorngaard
Architecture: Verner Architecture
Construction: Drew Maran Construction
Photography: Bruce Damonte Architectural Photographer
Photography: Aaron Leitz Photography