A Mountaintop Masterpiece Designed With Impeccable Attention to Details

Altadena, just on the outskirts of the city of Los Angeles, is home for this mountaintop masterpiece designed and built by William Hunter Collective. Originally built in 1982, the much-dated home (see before photos at the end!) sat vacant on the market for eight months before Hunter and his family, which includes wife Amanda and two young boys, bought the property in 2019 to build their forever home. Despite the exorbitant pandemic material costs and delays, along with massive termite damage, a cedar-clad, modern cabin has emerged with the most stunning of details at every turn.

interior view from step down living room in modern mountain house looking to wood kitchen

During the inspection, rough trusses were discovered hidden above the dropped ceiling. “We wanted two things out of the renovated house: strength that could withstand young boys and dogs, and beauty that ushers in peace and rejuvenation. When I saw the pre-engineered trusses in the attic, I thought it was a great opportunity,” says Hunter. Once the termite damage was found, the house was stripped back to the studs, leaving only the trusses and original concrete floors behind. The floors had been covered in laminate and carpet over the years, but once it was removed, the concrete was patched and polished.

interior view of modern mountain house with wood covered walls

Time was spent studying the light patterns and air flow from the Angeles National Forrest before installing the custom Douglas fir windows. Beyond the practical positioning for light and air, the new windows frame incredible mountain views and native landscaping just outside.

wood paneled wall holding shelf with four ping pong paddles and ball

The dining table doubles as a ping pong table and the paddles become art on the wall when not in use.

wood paneled wall with alcove holding wood chairs on wall

built-in cabinet bar area with shelves

The jaw-dropping interior feels like a cozy, modern wood cabin with gorgeous details that take it to the next level. White oak wood covers the walls, ceilings, and built-in components resulting in a modern retreat-like feel that’s both dynamic and streamlined.

angle view of modern mountain kitchen with wood paneling

Opposite the sunken living room is the custom chef’s kitchen. All of the white oak wood is left natural except for the rich deep green on the island.

view of modern mountain kitchen with wood details

We felt so fortunate to be living in the mountains. The new house had to feel integrated into the landscape not only with its materiality but with its function. I have never liked large decks on hillside homes. They block too much of the view from your experience on the interior. Doing the dishes needed to be as great of an experience as sitting outside in the garden.

– William Hunter

looking through modern mountain kitchen to built-in seating bench

angled view of built-in seating bench with afternoon sun pouring in from windows above

corner of modern mountain house with built-in bench and wall ladder

Hunter even made all of the inset switch plates for the brass knob light switches, like the one above.

look up to wall ladder with bottom half of person climbing to attic

office space of modern mountain

childrens bedroom in modern mountain house with wood panels and details

In the boys’ room along one of the walls is a clever built-in bed setup with space in the middle for a seat cushion. Underneath is hidden storage for clothes and toys. Both beds have vintage kantha blankets they’ve collected along the way.

childrens bedroom in modern mountain house with wood panels and details

On the opposite wall is a double built-in desk designed and made by Hunter with a hanging shelf above for additional storage.

modern mountain house bathroom with wood walls and large window facing mountains

primary bathroom of modern mountain house with wood details

The primary bathroom features a custom vanity that Hunter designed and built that closes up for a seamless look.

primary bathroom of modern mountain house with wood details and white tub

primary bedroom with wooden details overlooking mountains

corner of primary bedroom in modern mountain house with wooden details

view of mountains and backyard flex office space covered in wood shingles

Just steps from the house is a detached treehouse that can be used as a private office, studio, or meditation/yoga space. The same care and attention to details can be found here, too.

modern interior of wooden backyard office unit

side view of modern mountain house exterior with native plants and wood shingled hous

backyard view of hot tub and two wooden chairs

Outside is a wood-burning, Japanese cedar soaking tub perfect for sunset dips.

closeup exterior view of front door patio of modern mountain house

The exterior is clad in unsealed cedar shakes that will age over time to a soft gray tone.

front exterior view of modern mountain house clad in cedar shingles

While originally planned to be their forever home, the Hunter family is moving on to a new dream with 20-acres of forest, spring-fed lake, and simple lake house that will no doubt be given the William Hunter Collective magic. Rising Hill Retreat just hit the market last week and is available for sale by Lauren Reichenberg here.

angled side view of modern mountain house clad in cedar shingles

twilight backyard view of modern mountain house

Before photos:

before photo of 1980s house with white exterior

before photo of 1980s house with white exterior

before interior photo of renovated modern mountain house

before interior photo of renovated modern mountain house

before interior photo of renovated modern mountain house

Styling by Emily Bowser.
Before photos by Lindsey Foard.
After photos by Shade Degges Photography.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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