Living here in sunny, warm El Dorado Hills, I’m surrounded by golden hills and oak meadows, nestled in the foothills between the Sierra-Nevada and the Sacramento Valley. The local vinyards lend inspiration to the Tuscan-inspired architecture. The nearby San Francisco bay area and Napa/Sonoma Valley also provide influence to the vernacular architecture of the region. I feel fortuate to live in a lovely home among such natural beauty.

El Dorado Hills, California
EDH
Photo by Ali Giaudrone

However, there is a huge difference between developed stock homes and thought-invoked architecture created for a specific site. As a design enthusiast, I continually search for architecture that lifts my spirits and motivates me. This contemporary Mediterranean home still represents the beauty of architecture today.

The October 2008 issue of Architectural Digest featured, among several awe-inspiring homes, the quintessential masterpiece. This resort like setting exemplifies my true personal style. With his clients Gary Friedman, president and CEO of Restoration Hardware and his wife, designer Kendal Agins Friedman, architect Howard Backen of Backen Gillam Architects created this amazing blend of old world influence and pure, sleek moderism. Their vision was to capture views in all directions. The core axis of the residence faces the Golden Gate Bridge with wings that wrap the adjacent views of downtown San Francisco, the bay, Sausalito and Mount Tamalpais.

This 1st floor plan shows the angled wings with the infinity pool that faces the bay.
The open arm embrace of the motor court is a perfect balance of symmetry.
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Neo-mediterranean style

“They began with the idea of a great room that would spill out onto what is essentially an at-home resort–a stepped pool terrace with oversize furniture in niches, a fireplace, a hot tub and an infinity pool that seems to drop into the bay. This ‘not really a room’ room is Backen’s specialty, resulting in mahogany pocket doors and companion screens that completely disappear and eliminate the barrier between indoors and out.” –Patricia Leigh Brown, AD

Seating areas angled around the infinity pool catch varied aspects of the views of the bay beyond.
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Teak outdoor furniture
Steel trelliswork supported by square columns covers the upper terraces.
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Indoor-outdoor living and connection to the bay view beyond
The core of the home’s dining room opens fully onto the terrace. The infinity pool appears to drop into the bay view.
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View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the dining room
Opposite the dining area, the symmetrical living area displays antiques and artifacts. Juxtaposed against the clean lines of the architecture, the pieces give the room warm and a rich texture.
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Antiques give the home a rich texture against the clean lines
The kitchen is surrounded by windows to take full advantage of the sunrise and sunset views. Use of abunant island storage replaces conventional wall cabinets.
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Base cabinet storage maintains a sense of openness in the kitchen
In the master suite, the doors disappear onto the terrace with an uninterrupted view of the bay leading to the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Peacock mirror from India hangs above the fireplace
The master bath brings sunlight in through the skylight and French doors. The wall sconces illuminate the space while the neutral palette of the built-in cabinets, stone floor and counters topped with surface mounted basins evoke a simple, yet luxurious spa-like feeling.
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Natural light floods the master bathroom

This amazing residence epitomizes California living, where the indoors is blended contiguously with the outdoors. The contemporary lines combined with Tuscan-inspired details creates a masterfully crafted home carved into the hillside.

Now that’s INSPIRED!

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Belvedere Residence Photography: Erhard Pfeiffer

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