Inverleith Garden by Mary Barensfeld Architecture

Project by Mary Barensfeld. Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.

Sculptural curves form the basis of a Japanese inspired garden at this Bay Area residence.

Inverleith Garden lies nestled adjacent to a 1954 Karl Kolbeck house for design-oriented clients who lived in Japan for a work stint. The existing house is a specimen of Bay Area Japanese Modernism with sliding planes and exposed structure framing large expanses of glazing and views out to the SF Bay.

Project by Mary Barensfeld. Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.

A sinuous curving wall anchors the garden’s parti, as a grand gestural entrance move counterbalancing the orthogonality of the Kolbeck house. The poured-in-place concrete walls navigate a twelve-foot elevation change from street-front pedestrian access to the elevation of the private patio and front door. 

Project by Mary Barensfeld. Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.

Visitors are welcomed to the house via a gently curving entrance stair with an easy-going rise/run. The stair, clearly visible from the main first floor living area (kitchen/DR) pulls one’s eyes out through the house’s glass front doors: stairs as sculptural moment.

Project by Mary Barensfeld. Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.

The basalt pavers and pebble tile circular accent areas of the patio paving material continue the interior/exterior blur as they slip into the interior house. Exterior paving materials become interior surfaces.

Project by Mary Barensfeld. Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.

The Owners enjoy relaxing on the built-in ipe wood bench to the soothing sounds of the Concreteworks fountain, with its continuous auditory bubbling. A long basalt potting counter provides ample room for the owner’s interest in Ikebana floral arrangement design.

Project by Mary Barensfeld. Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.

To further the Zen vibe, a custom cedar hot tub and Japanese ofuro (cold soak tub) were incorporated into the house’s existing side deck, directly accessible from the dining room. The Owners’ evident interest and collection of American, English and Asian folk art, placed in Kolbeck’s glass-encased interiors, have a continual backdrop of the new landscape walls, the curve acting as serpentine eye-catcher in all views outward.

 
Project by Mary Barensfeld. Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.

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