Leron Austin Hester, AIA

San Rafael Hills Modern Post and Beam


Hester’s counterpoint to the ubiquitous stucco box seems to channel the work of Calvin Straub and his contemporaries. The result is a melodic rift where rustic-modern materials meet Asian-influenced post and beam construction. At once warm, livable, and ultimately satisfying. Located in the Southwest San Rafael Hills, the property is sited to take full advantage of its multi-level stepped lot. Suspended concrete and aggregate steps convey one from level to level revealing the sweeping views across downtown LA to the Pacific beyond. Unlike many hillside properties, much of the lot is flat, usable, professionally landscaped and truly private. Thoughtfully restored and updated by the current owners, this property is both aesthetically and mechanically complete. Original one-of-a-kind light fixtures and pieces by George Nelson, Arne Jacobsen, and Jorge Pensi illuminate the space. Book-matched teak paneling in both the living and dining areas Over-scaled original concrete block fireplace creates warmth and a sense of place. In the kitchen, vintage teak cabinetry has been augmented with new commercial quality stainless steel appliances. Throughout the home newly installed sustainably harvested American walnut floors and white terrazzo tiles are skillfully juxtaposed against the original exposed concrete aggregate stairs. Custom birch plywood bookcases in the media room (fourth bedroom), and cabinetry in the home office, have been designed to feel vintage and appropriate. One of three bathrooms retains its original over-scaled mosaic tiled roman tub. The master bath has been completely redone in the same spirit, with a mosaic tiled two-person walk in shower. Outside, extensive newly restored decks, patios, and seating areas afford numerous opportunities for indoor/outdoor entertaining in a dramatic and private setting. The grounds feature the original koi pond, footbridge, multiple boulders, drought tolerant landscaping, and many mature pines, liquid ambers, and fruit trees. In addition, a sophisticated modernist tree house envelops a Brazilian pepper tree -truly an outdoor room with a view.


Property ID
Property Size
2345 sf
Leron Austin Hester, AIA
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John Jacob Matthes

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  • Address 1174 Romney Drive
  • State/county CA
  • Zip/Postal Code 91105

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John Jacob Matthes
  • John Jacob Matthes