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Eileen Gordon and Bill Greineder

The elements that separate great homes from good ones can often be whittled down to location and line. Truly wonderful homes are at one with their location, celebrating views and vistas to maximum effect. These spaces have a connection of line—a programmatic expression that is functional and elegant in their simplicity and logic.

When clients Skip and Joanne Cashin reached out to Bill Greineder of the award-winning firm Gordon+Greineder to discuss an update of their Portola Valley home, they already had the advantage of location—a marvelous lot with westward views toward Windy Hill and the coastal range. The home also had great bones; the challenge was to improve functionality for the way the clients were living their lives now.

“One of the first steps,” recalls Greineder, “was to emphasize the front door. The original front door was rather diminutive and covered by a heavy trellis. Ultimately many guests to the home missed it and entered through a back door to the kitchen.” To that end, Greineder drew the entrance out, adding a clerestory window, cladding it in stone, and topping it with a new portico. The result is an impressive double story entry bisecting the home’s north and south wings.

To keep the overall look cohesive, Greineder added stone cladding to the exterior of the garage as well. Inside, he created a new ground floor master suite with spacious bath and dressing room, and in the great room overlooking the pool and garden added new wood framed massive sliders. “This space is so beautiful,” notes Greineder, “and for many months of the year the doors are open, creating a wonderful indoor/outdoor flow to the terrace.”

On the opposite side of the house, Greineder reorganized spaces beyond the kitchen to create a gracious hallway that doubles as a contemporary wet bar and wine cellar with elegant floor-to-ceiling cases for prized bottles, an office, and an upstairs guest suite. “It’s wonderful to see how much the clients love this home,” notes the architect. “It’s been part of their lives for years and to now have it working for them more efficiently is exciting.”


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