What happens when West Coast modernism takes its cues from classical Chinese architecture? Something beautiful, as it turns out.
When a pair of Chinese scholars decided it was time to leave their Richmond home of 40-plus years for a space where they could comfortably enjoy their retirement, they didn’t have to look much further than a lot down the block. “For them, the project was about finding something that would allow them to age in place and create a home base for their children and grandchildren to come back to,” says Haeccity Studio Architecture principal Travis Hanks. “It was also going to be a house that integrated ideas from classical Chinese architecture as that was relevant to their cultural background.”
And so, the single-level, barrier-free new build took on an East-meets-West design language. “Though they have an Eastern background, the clients have lived here for a very long time,” says Hanks€”so the design team incorporated local materials like cedar and Douglas fir, as well as grey Venetian plaster that nods to the misty mountains so often depicted in traditional Chinese paintings. 
Materials were also chosen for their ability to transition from outdoors to indoors, recalling the siheyuan (the traditional Chinese courtyard house).”We wanted to think of it more as a village than a house,” says Hanks. “It’s a collection of private pods that plug into a large central space.” In that hub, double-height nail-laminated-timber ceilings, automated clerestory windows and French doors blur the boundaries between exterior and interiors. 
This alignment of spaces is partially informed by feng shui principles. Guests are welcomed via the south-facing entrance, and spaces become more intimate as you travel north through the layout. Beds were also oriented in certain specific directions under this practice. “The idea of the water in the south in front of you and the protective mountains behind you was how we dealt with the landscape,” explains Haeccity co-founder Shirley Shen. “At the front of the house, we had a little fountain; at the back we have this little berm to emulate those traditional landscape elements. The courtyard on the side draws the landscape to the centre which is very typical of the siheyuan€¯typology. “
The 3,500-square-foot space utilizes squares and circles in repetition€”the use of pure geometrical forms. This organization is echoed in the details€”like the rosettes engraved onto door handles€”integrating the Chinese saying of €œearth square, heaven round,€ which can be found in the expression of the rosettes on the door handles, which have a square with a circle in the middle. “These subtle gestures remind us of the harmony between heaven and earth,” says Shen. Though in a heavenly space like this, it’s hard to forget.

Inside This Gorgeous, Chinese-Inspired, West-Coast-Modern Home

Darkness and Light
The homeowners€”who love to paint and practice calligraphy€”have a robust collection of art and Chinese artifacts, so Hanks and Shen knew there would be a lot of richer, dark tonalities to incorporate. It’s one reason they kept the colour palette light, and created plenty of spaces to hang art and display objects. 
A Seat at the Table
Hay AAC12 from Inform Interiors feature a grey felt lining. The two feature lighting fixtures in the dining areas are from Brendan Ravenhill in L.A.
The white drum sits over a custom table with inlaid marble Lazy Susan, commissioned from local industrial designer Ko Júbilo. 
Forward Thinking
The black “pivot” with its linear configuration is suspended over a custom motorized table top to accommodate wheelchair access, should it be necessary in the future. Haeccity hunted far and wide for a stool with back support, and finally sourced these from Florida-based furniture company Industry West.