Portola Valley Home: A Ranch Reimagined

In the heart of Silicon Valley’s Portola Valley, California, the Portola Valley Home undergoes a remarkable transformation by S^A | Schwartz and Architecture. This house, initially a standard ranch, has been reimagined into a contemporary family residence that blends privacy with openness, inviting warmth, and stunning valley views.

Contemporary house with unique metal screen façade.
Modern house exterior with vertical slats and gray facade.
Contemporary house facade with large windows and flat roof.
Contemporary house with large windows and wooden deck.
Modern dining room with wooden table, pendant light, and sliding glass doors leading to
Sleek dining room with wood furnishings and pendant lighting
Modern kitchen with wooden cabinets, white countertops, and three bar stools.
Contemporary kitchen with marble countertops and wooden cabinetry.
Contemporary home office with floating shelves and patterned wallpaper.
Modern bedroom with large windows opening to a balcony with a view of trees.
Modern bathroom with double vanity, large mirror, and open door leading outside.
Contemporary home terrace with a glass balustrade overlooking a forest.
Contemporary dark-hued building with illuminated slatted facade at dusk.

About Portola Valley Home

A Ranch Reborn with a Welcoming Twist

To surprise visitors, we transformed the standard ranch house façade into an inviting, animated welcome.

Embracing the Silicon Valley Remodel

We chose to remodel the original ranch into an open, functional family home, despite soaring land values in Silicon Valley. Faced with site limitations and family aspirations, we maximized the existing structure’s potential, requiring as much strategic thinking as design prowess.

Phased Innovation for Family Living

A few years ago, the first remodel phase reshaped the main living area’s roof, keeping the front’s lower slope intact. Then, we transformed a garage-top studio into a prime bedroom suite in the second phase. This conversion made the home’s neglected rear a welcoming front entry.

A Facade That Unfolds

From a distance, the home seems private and secluded. Yet, as you draw near, the facade unveils a cozy outdoor courtyard beside the prime bathroom. A slatted screen in the courtyard conceals an egg-shaped oval, a subtle invitation resembling a smile or handshake. This design ensures privacy for the prime bathroom, despite its roadside position. Moreover, the prime bedroom’s deck offers expansive valley views, creating a dramatic reveal.

Through thoughtful phases, this Silicon Valley ranch has evolved into a family haven, blending privacy with open vistas.

Photography courtesy of Schwartz and Architecture

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- by Matt Watts