Inspiring Tah.Mah.Lah

One of the most inspiring sites we visited during this year’s annual APLD conference in the Bay Area was a home in the Portola Valley area, called Tah.Mah.Lah. I’d looked up what I could about it ahead of time and was intrigued by what I’d read – designed to be “the greenest custom home” in the United States, it is a net-zero, LEED Platinum certified project whose owners built a home and landscape designed to last 100+ years. We had more than an hour on site (a great improvement over some prior garden visits limited to 25 minutes or less, because of small sized projects and a packed itinerary), and I tried my best to capture some of the most interesting aspects of the house and landscape. (Among other things, I was delighted to see an installation by Patrick Dougherty, which the owners’ little girls have dubbed the “fairy castle.”)

Because there are so many photos, I’ve decided to present them in gallery format, to avoid endless scrolling for readers. The captions provide additional information about the project, but for more details, please visit the Tah.Mah.Lah website, which went live for the first time the day of our visit. Thanks and kudos to landscape architect Thomas Klope, for his inspired implementation of the owners’ vision, as well as to the owners and the builder – all of whom were on site when we visited, providing background, history, and answers to our many questions.

Explore posts in the same categories: Environment, landscape, Landscape design solutions, photography

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3 Comments on “Inspiring Tah.Mah.Lah”

  1. John Says:

    Well, I can see why people are inspired. I don’t know how green it is to bring boulders from Minnesota but it does answer the question of what kind of home to build in paradise. Not every area could support the notion of joining the inside and outside without screens for the insects or reliance on air conditioning (think East Coast for example…).

    • Melissa Says:

      Your comment about hauling the stones from so far away was brought up by more than one of the people on the tour. Given how carefully this project was analyzed by those carrying it out, I’m sure there is a reason their use was deemed ‘green’ despite the transportation/fuel costs. (For example, not sure what would have happened to them if they had remained in Minnesota.)

      And yes, the Portola Valley area is pretty idyllic. My younger son went to Stanford, which is nearby, and the temps at night are cool enough that apparently they don’t have mosquitos – sweet.

  2. susan greif Says:

    Looks like a wonderful place to live!


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