Owners: Steve and Alison Hussey
Square Footage: 4,500
Our home reflects clean lines and easy living characteristics; it provides a comfortable, calm refuge at the end of a hectic day. It provides its hosts with an intimate dinner setting and yet it easily expands to a boisterous party venue. It is cozy in the winter, and cool in the summer. It’s just an ideal place in which to live and call home.
We are management consultants who travel frequently for business and pleasure. Steve is a native Californian, and Alison was born and raised in Zimbabwe. We were living in our Eichler home for just 4 years when Steve suggested that we should think about moving; he wondered where he would have room for his auto racing hobby when we stopped traveling so much. So, after warming up to the idea, we developed a list of “must haves,” for example, a strong connection between the inside and outside of the house, an open, integrated public area, radiant heating, and private areas for each bedroom. In addition, while the house should make a statement on its own, we knew we wanted it to showcase some of the furniture and art pieces we collected in our travels throughout the world. This made it very difficult to find an existing house to meet our needs, so we decided to build a modern house.
Choosing to build a new home from the ground up gave us the option to design the home around much of our existing furniture, like the Straits Chinese Wedding Bed in one of the guest bedrooms. Our architects designed all of the cabinetry for the home to complement our furnishings and to enhance the distinctive style. Our art seemed to take on a fresh life and prominence in the new house, because of the color of the walls and the space in the rooms. Our many pieces of Japanese antique furniture and Japanese screens combine beautifully with the modern look of our home, and add to the serene feeling engendered by the design. The exterior landscape design continues the themes developed in the architecture of the house – open spaces, clean lines, and peacefulness. The garden houses our collection of Zimbabwean sculptures, and provides Steve with a little gardening work each weekend to decompress from the stresses of the week.
We started the “new house” project somewhat naively, not realizing it would turn into a 4-year marathon. We learned a lot (how concrete foundations are poured), and had fun along the way (weekend picnics in our soon-to-be garden), as well as experiencing a lot of frustration (why can’t the neighbors see how nice this is going to be?) and anguish (not another review of the design by the City Council!). Here we are in a fantastic, comfortable house that we simply love, and we’re friends with our architects and interior designer, and on good terms with our building contractors. Many strangers stop by to tell us how much they love our house, for example the person last weekend who told us “this is my favorite house in the city”. What more can we ask for?