Saratoga House and Pool

"This project succeeds because it makes my disability less evident to me."

  • Type House,
  • Location Saratoga, California
  • Status Built
  • Date 1999 (house), 2005 (pool)
  • Collaborators

    Burks-Toma Architects (house) and Min | Day (pool & patio)

Houses must often strive to reconcile seemingly contradictory desires and circumstances, yet the best homes do not hide their inherent contradictions – they in fact thrive with the tension created between opposite poles. This house for a young family is no exception. There was the desire to experience an exceptional view, but not to be overwhelmed by it; a need for handicap accessibility, but a desire not to be controlled by it; a desire to feel the site’s dramatic topography, but without level changes; and a predilection for simple modern forms, but a firm belief in site-specific place making.

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"This project succeeds because it makes my disability less evident to me." - client

To complete the north end of the ridge-top property we designed a vanishing-edge pool that dramatizes the plinth-like ridge with a gesture to the San Francisco Bay beyond. Subtle topographic manipulation and leveling afforded by the spoils from pool excavation help mitigate the inaccessible nature of the site while offering the inhabitants a direct experience of the drama of the site. We incorporated the required features of wheelchair-accessibility without allowing these to be seen as compromises.

Project Awards

2004 Residential Architect Awards, Grand Award

2001 The Wood Design Awards Honor Award

2000 Custom Home Design Awards, Project of the Year

1999/2000 Special Award, Sunset Magazine/AIA Western Home Awards


The Accessible Home (Saratoga House & Pool), by Deborah Pierce, Taunton Press, Inc., October 23, 2012

Pool Design, (Saratoga Pool featured) Daab gmbh, Cologne 2008

Residential Architect (Grand Award, Twaddell/Misha House) May, 2004

Sunset Magazine, “Accessible Modern”, Peter O. Whiteley (Twaddell/Misha) May, 2002

The Food Channel, Twaddell/Misha House, featured on “Ultimate Kitchens”, show number 308, August, 2000

Custom Home, “Project of the Year,” by Bruce D. Sneider (Twadell/Misha), March, 2000

Sunset Magazine, “Independence Day,” 1999/2000 Sunset Magazine/AIA Western Home Awards (Special Award for Barrier Free Design: Twaddell/Misha House), October, 1999

House & Garden Television, Twaddell/Misha on “Western Home Awards”, October, 1999

Photography By Photographs by Cesar Rubio
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