Hamilton Residence Palo Alto

6,000 Square Feet

This top-to-bottom renovation of an elegant northern California house is custom tailored for a young family that traded its hurried New York City lifestyle for the bucolic community of Palo Alto. The house was designed first and foremost as a relaxing and comfortable retreat, even as it features the family’s incredible art collection and splashes of color and whimsy.

Built originally in 1916 by a timber baron, the dwelling was designed in a restrained Tudor Revival style with lavish gumwood and mahogany finishes. The clients, having just moved from a stately nineteenth-century New York townhouse, were no strangers to historic architecture, but also brought with them a love of modern furniture, accessories, and a decidedly contemporary art collection.

The interior blends these typically disparate elements in an easy manner. Two glassed-in sun porches on the first level have been converted into a home office and children’s playroom, respectively, while one half of the second floor has been turned into a spacious master suite. An expansive media room and guest bedrooms occupy the third floor attic.

The home’s sophisticated-yet-comfortable tone is established immediately in the large entry, where a broad distressed leather daybed provides a relaxing twist to the standard entry table. A warm, neutral palette and earth tone accents infuse the entire home. Finishes include rich woods, horsehair, animal hides, leather, suede, and coffee toned wood floors.

The clients’ art collection, showcased throughout, sets off the house’s traditional aspects. Works represent the modern, postmodern, and contemporary periods, and include pieces by Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Fred Sandback, Jenny Holzer, Lothar Baumgarten, Julian Opie, and Thomas Struth, as well as some younger artists, such as Ryan McGinness and the Clayton Brothers.

Hamilton Residence Palo Alto