this retreat home in the palo alto hills was designed in the 70's by a young architect's vision for her retired parents. my partner kate courteau had already undertaken two renovations that transformed the house into its destined floor plan where the best views can be enjoyed from the most commonly used spaces. in the third renovation we worked together to finish the property. while the house is split-level we were able to adjust the flow in a way that it facilitates family togetherness. the "inside meets outside" dream was achieved with large glass openings tucked under new cedar and steel sun shades. outside we reworked the landscape into a more traversable terrain, adding erosion resistant stairways that link the comfortable outdoor rooms and provide access to the hiking trails in the adjacent open space reserve. we added a bathroom on the main level with a clerestory window that allows natural light and sky views to cross into the common areas. each space was optimized for comfort, storage and enjoyment of views, much of it through the use of wood. during the project's development we came to call the process of adding the warming wood elements as "infusing soul".