'Marin Living: Home Tours'

2015 edition focuses on four very different modern houses set in a variety of settings
Marin Living
Perhaps the 'Marin Living' tour's most intriguing entry this year is this rigorous yet warm home on San Anselmo hillside by architects Shands
Studio. Photo: Paul Dyer
Marin Living
Patio of Shands project. Photo: Paul Dyer
Marin Living
Also on tour is this Marinwood Eichler by building Lab.
Photo: Scott Hargis

A tastefully refurbished Eichler home in Marinwood, a quirky ranch house on 42 acres of grassland fringed by oaks, a four-pavilion home in a meadow with views of a ravine, and a home on a slope with expansive views are yours for the touring at this year's edition of 'Marin Living: Home Tours.'

The tour runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 30. It is sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter, and San Francisco's Center for Architecture + Design. Cost for general admission is $90 in advance, $100 day of tour.

"This year's 'Marin Living: Home Tours' features a region of northern Marin that we are exploring for the first time with residences in Marinwood, Fairfax, Nicasio, and San Rafael," said Helen Wong of the AiA. "Our past tours have mainly focused on homes in southern Marin. This is also the first year we are slightly diversifying our modern homes lineup with the inclusion of a renovated Eichler to showcase the variety of design in Marin."

The Eichler home on the tour was redone by architect Stephen Shoup and landscape architect Taya Shoup, for their own residence. Their firm is called building Lab Inc.

According to the tour notes, "Striving to re-invigorate the modesty, simplicity, and clarity of the original design, a top-to-bottom renovation transformed this house into a sleek and modern residence that suits their 21st century taste and lifestyle while being true to the intent of the original design."

Barbara Shands designed one intriguing entry on the tour, a surprisingly rigorous yet warm home on a rural hillside. It exemplifies the way these homes reflect the landscape in which they have become a part.

"Being on the tour is an opportunity for people to see a variety of modern houses that are site specific to Marin," Shands says. "My house is certainly very site specific."

Shands, whose firm is Shands Studio, said the house gave her "the opportunity of working on a hillside and in a context that is less urban" than many of her other projects.

While the home's rectangular boxes suggest the coolness of the International Style, materials and sensitivity to the site are completely Californian.

Shands said the site had been developed for a hunting residence a century ago, with terraces held in place by rock walls.

"We worked to maintain those rock walls and to celebrate the history of the site," she says.

"The materials that were employed were inspired by the materials on site," she says. The cedar siding picks up the colors of he oaks that surround the house, and the gray of the house, the concrete, picks up color from the rock walls.

"The physical form of the house was very much inspired by capturing the views and framing views, including a view across a valley to Mt. Diablo," Shands says, "and the materials were inspired by the existing vegetation on the site."

For more information on May 30's 'Marin Living: Home Tours,' click here.