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Zen-Like Home on the Water

3 Min Read
Custom Home of the Week

Last updated on July 8th, 2024 at 04:47 pm

This week’s custom home spotlight is a unique, modern home on a peaceful waterfront property in Belvedere, California – a small town just north of San Francisco that is situated on two islands. Heidi Richardson, of Mill Valley’s Richardson Architects, designed her clients a private, zen-like abode. The home offers exceptional views of the water, mountains, and Golden Gate Bridge and provides the peace and tranquility that her clients were searching for.

Custom Home of the Week

The owner of this prime waterfront property originally planned to renovate an existing 1960’s structure into a home suitable for comfortable, 21st-century living. They also hoped to open it up to the exceptional views the sCustom Home of the Weekite provided. So it made sense that they approached local architect Heidi Richardson. Richardson, who established her own design practice in 1984 after a seven year association with the renowned William Turnbull Associates of San Francisco, works on a range of projects. But she has a particular talent for remodeling Bay Area homes and designing new homes customized to individual needs and site location.


What began as a renovation, however, turned into a ground-up construction project. When powder post beetles were discovered, the existing structure needed to be demolished and Richardson expertly designed a new FEMA compliant home in its place. In the end, this 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home was the answer to all of her client’s needs.

Custom Home of the Week

The home is composed of two distinct masses: a private bedroom wing and a public living space wing – totaling 4,000 square feet total. The two distinct masses are separated and defined by a flat-roofed stair hall and flank an open front courtyard and a large back deck. This strategic layout helped Richardson maximize the home’s expansive views of Mt.Tam to the west and the Golden Gate Bridge to the northeast, without sacrificing privacy. To let her clients further enjoy their waterfront location, she incorporated an outdoor fireplace and generous deck areas.

For the home’s material palette, Richardson worked primarily with natural materials infused with a contemporary sensibility. Inside, clean lines and a refined color palette prevail. She incorporated a weather screen of Resysta panels fabricated from rice husks and long used in Asia for boat decks. For the facade, she installed wood shutters. This not only provided the homeowners with privacy from the neighbors across the street but allowed light and air to penetrate the interior.

Throughout the home’s interior and exterior spaces, Richardson added one-of-a-kind, eye-catching elements, including a water feature and Asian sculptures. In the end, Richardson created a distinctly modern space that encourages the flow of fresh air and natural light and provides ample privacy.

Custom Home Magazine

(Photography: Jeff Zaruba)


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Name Of Home: New Residence on the Water

Design Architects: Heidi Richardson, Richardson Architects in Mill Valley, California

Site Supervisor: Jason Bean

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