• Entrance

  • Porch

  • Kitchen

  • Living Room

  • Living Room

  • Bathroom

  • Porch

Mill Valley, Marin County

Complete tear-down, new construction

Our clients had been living in a rustic cabin of 1,380sq ft, including several ad hoc additions appended by previous owners. Given the small lot, the architects (OXB Studio) felt that a remodel, no matter how space-and cost-efficient, would not result in a wonderful home (or a wise investment). OXB’s recommendation to demolish the existing house and start fresh was unanimously welcomed. Abacus collaborated with OXB during the design phase, working through various if/then scenarios. The resulting design maximized the livable space while respecting municipal planning commission constraints.

The new house is 1,840sq ft, with the flow of a modern bungalow. It provides a place for absolutely everything, in part thanks to clever built-ins. It also offers a place for everyone. The family’s two teenagers love to invite their friends over; the parents now have private spaces where they can relax.

Indoor/Outdoor Living

A wall of folding glass doors at the back of the house seamlessly connects the great room and the large back porch.The doors make the house look and feel more spacious and are as easy to open and close as a convertible top. The hydronic heating system—hot water pipes embedded in the concrete slab downstairs and in the floor joists upstairs—is set up in sections and controlled with programmable thermostats. The family wanders around barefoot on their toasty floors, while enjoying fresh air from open windows.

“We love our home, our children love our home, and we loved working with Abacus. It’s not just that they are great at what they do, which they are. They over-deliver in terms of consideration and thoughtfulness and how they work and who they hire—and they are wonderful explainers.”

—Anna & Dave Hindley, homeowners