The decision to maximize energy efficiency came easily. “The home was a laboratory for all the things we hadn’t gotten the opportunity to do with clients,” says Van Atta. Setting a portion of the 2,500-square-foot house in a slope provides natural insulation and blends the structure with the surrounding hills. Solar panels supply all the electricity; fire-resistant green roofs are part insulation, part water collectors.
The indoor-outdoor collaboration was even more satisfying than Van Atta and Radtkey had anticipated. “It’s not just a box sitting on the land,” says Radtkey. “The house works so well with the landscape, we almost think of it as all garden.”