Few homes are fit to host large parties complete with a costumed relay race, a water-balloon toss and a Jell-O eating contest, but for homeowners Lisa and Michael Rubenstein, it's precisely the kind of celebration their house was designed for. With its broad layout and views of a sleek pool set into a seemingly endless carpet of emerald grass, the house has the feeling of a vacation getaway. There's a full complement of resort activities, including a mini-golf green and paddle-tennis court for the kids and a bocce ball court for the adults.
The family's life is centered on the pleasures of socializing indoors and out. "We always have people around," says Lisa, the busy mom of Ben and Lily, and an interior designer whose company is called Real Rooms. "We wanted a place where people could walk in and immediately feel at home—where you don't have to worry about the kids running around with juice boxes."
Their son Ben, who uses a wheelchair, inspired the Rubensteins to think about a single-story home. Once they located the nearly two-acre property, a friend referred them to architect Randy Grange, the principal of TRG Architects. The Rubensteins' project was quite different from Grange's previous projects. Not only was contemporary architecture a better match for their casual sensibilities, the family also had a modern-day interest in green building.
"Michael was always driving the green innovations," says Lisa about her husband, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. His ideas for the house included installing solar panels, sourcing materials within 100 miles, using a gray-water irrigation system for the native landscaping and adding enough electricity to the garage to power their cars in the future.