This $7 million Bay Area house by a San Francisco 'most polarizing designer' almost didn't get built



  • Modernist architect Stanley Saitowitz is controversial, and he’s designed some of San Francisco’s most recognizable buildings.
  • Saitowitz complained about the strict guidelines imposed on him in designing this Mill Valley home. 
  • After three different versions, the design was finally approved.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It took three iterations and five months for architect Stanley Saitowiz to have plans for a home in Mill Valley, California, approved. Mill Valley is a town 14 miles north of San Francisco, with some of the stringent building guidelines common to the Bay Area. 

“The design guidelines in Mill Valley are pretty rigid and essentially they control every aspect of building a house,” Saitowitz told SFGate, although he noted it wasn’t the hardest project he’s taken on. “The most difficult was probably adding a deck in San Francisco.”

Still, designing the terraced home built into a hillside while meeting strict regulations wasn’t easy. “The most difficult part is that when you’re building on a hillside they limit the amount of dirt that can be moved. So, a lot of the constraint actually was what drove the project.”

Saitowitz has been called San Francisco’s “most polarizing designer.” He’s responsible for the iconic 8 Octavia Condo building, which some critics have compared to a prison, while fans praise its innovative, minimalist design. Now, the home at 185 Summit is on the market for $6.95 million.

Take a look inside.

SEE ALSO: 2 tech founders are selling their $13 million home outside San Francisco that was custom built into the side of a mountain in 2015

The home has a board-formed concrete facade, a process that uses wooden planks to give concrete a natural look to better blend into the hillside.

Source: SFGate

Natural, dark colors almost disappear into the woods, the designer told Business Insider.

The house is a series of terraces that fit into the shape of the hill, with a green roof and vegetation that “reclaim the hill,” the architect told Business Insider.

Mill Valley prefers natural materials and colors that blend into the landscape, so the design utilized them, according to Saitowitz.

Source: SFGate

A natural-toned, minimalist look continues throughout the house, even in the bathrooms.

The two levels both use glass walls to take advantage of the views.

A rendering of the design from an earlier stage shows that Saitowitz tried different ways of best utilizing glass in the design.

The living room on the first level acts as a “lens” to take in the landscape and bay.

All four bedrooms on the lower floor have sliding glass windows.

Source: SFGate

The enclosed courtyard, seen here, separated the main house from the garage and guest unit.

On the other side of the living space next to the courtyard, there is an open deck, with a fireplace and outdoor kitchen.

Shown here at night, the deck has an unmatched view of the city.