Schnabel Family Retreat

  • Program: Private Residence
  • Completed in 2015
  • Size: 5,300 sf
  • Photo Credit: Michal Utterback

The Little Tuscany residence is centered on the idea of bringing family together. The young family of five emphasized their desire to create a home that was meant to be enjoyed by extended family and friends now, and for generations to come. As a result, a dynamic design swept the site leaving the family with a lively vacation home that is underscored by the various nodes of activity.

Fading into the rolling hillside landscape, this retreat absorbs the 360 degrees of captivating mountain, city and valley views. The project becomes fully engrained in these views when the warm colors of the desert’s minerals seem to ignite the corten steel cladding which burns a deep red and orange. Roof gardens allow the home to blend seamlessly with landscape and the guest house dissolves into the sloping landscape in order to optimize mountain views while still maintaining a visual connection to the outdoor play areas.

Transparency throughout the property was an integral part of the design for the home owners. The goal of the plan and the form was to connect the interior to the exterior in order to create a transparency between the terrain and the architecture. The plan had to be transparent in order to connect views from multiple areas of the 4,700 sf. household. A sense of privacy and security was maintained in certain areas through the activation of landscape barriers such as boulders, bedrock, and elevation and grade changes.

With these design moves, it is apparent that the landscape was the driving force between every move made in the plan.

*Recently featured in L.A. Times

Disney chose our Schnabel house and property, to become the setting for their dramatic video, which launches their new Star Wars “Sphero” droids. Once they saw the landscape and architecture they knew it was the perfect environment to bridge the worlds of fantasy and today’s technology.