Careful Planning, Fabulous Results: Los Altos Hills Garden by Kikuchi and Kankel

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It’s hard to top the possibilities inherent in a combination of a baby grand piano indoors — and an inviting spa, pool, and outdoor living area just beyond sliding doors. In this Los Altos Hills contemporary home and garden by Kikuchi and Kankel Design Group, the lucky homeowners get that and more, by design. As the architects explain, “Site planning for this property occurred simultaneously with the design of the home in order to integrate the indoor/outdoor relationship, swimming pool location, and siting of other outdoor entertainment areas.” What results is outdoor space — starting with splendid landscaping out front — that makes entertaining a breeze. As for that baby grand? It’s just one element of an open plan interior that features comfy seating, a handy bar, and terrific art.

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But the bubbly spa awaits: through folding cedar-and-glass doors, you can move directly to a dip in the pool, then relax at an umbrella-shaded wood alfresco dining set. Hungry guests are no problem at all with the fully-equipped outdoor kitchen; grill up a few hot dogs or chicken, mix up a chopped salad — or do both; you’ve got plenty of work space. Surrounding this outdoor dining area (and just a step or two down if you want to get closer) are riots of floral color in pink, purple, and white, along with terraced beds holding small trees that provide both cool greenery and subtle shade. Whether it’s sunbathing, singing along with the piano player, or s’mores under the stars, this contemporary plan can handle it with style.

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