Noel Cross+Architects
Architects & Building Designers
Villa Terra mediterranean-exterior

Villa Terra


1. Rammed Earth and PISE Walls
Beyond it’s beautiful qualities and “Old World” look, the rammed earth and PISE walls (pneumatically impacted stabilized earth) drastically reduce the use of trees for the initial wall framing lumber. And because this “Earth Structure” will far outlast any wood frame building, trees are again saved many times over, creating the foundation for the true model of sustainability. We have created a house that will essentially last forever, instead of having to be rebuilt every 50 to 75 years.

The 18” thick PISE walls and concrete floors also provide thermal mass, an integral part of the passive solar design of the house. These features help keep the house naturally cooler in summer and retaining heat in winter, greatly reducing the heating and cooling loads and energy use.

2. High Content Fly Ash Concrete Foundation
Use of high content (25%) fly ash (industrial waste byproduct) in place of Portland Cement results in reduction of energy consumption and green house gas emissions associated with Portland cement production (second only to petroleum in terms of carbon dioxide emissions).

3. Reclaimed Plumbing Fixtures
All lavatory sinks and tubs were bought from salvage yards (tub is reportedly from the Jack Benny house in Hollywood). Reclaimed Carrara marble fountain has been made into the powder room sink.

4. Natural Daylighting
Use of numerous skylights and high transom windows to reduce electrical lighting loads during the day. Natural daylighting also has documented benefits on mood, productivity, and enjoyment of the space.

5. Photo Voltaic Solar Panels
Use of PV solar electric generation system to reduce electrical grid consumption, and bi-directional meter sends power back to the grid when it is needed most, on hot summer afternoons.

6. Hydronic Radiant Heat Floor
Use of hydronic radiant floor heating system saves energy, is more efficient for residential heating, is more comfortable for inhabitants, and promotes superior indoor air quality over forced air systems.

7. Natural/Passive Ventilation
Use of operable skylights operable high windows and ceiling fans, creates a natural convection current, thereby eliminating the need for an air conditioning system.

8. Passive Solar Design
Use of extensive east and south facing glass, proper overhangs, high interior mass, deciduous grape vines on appropriately placed trellises, to passively heat the home in winter, and protect the house from unnecessary heat gain in summer.

9. Reclaimed Lumber
- Douglas fir ceiling beams reclaimed from the Town & Country Village Shopping Center (now Santana Row) in San Jose.
- Douglas fir ceiling decking reclaimed from the 118 year old Notre Dame High School in downtown San Jose. TJI joists reclaimed from the “Millenium Man” movie set in Alameda used for floor and roof framing. Redwood ceiling beams reclaimed from a Los Altos cabana/trellis.

10. Extensive Use of Other Reclaimed Materials Two antique reclaimed European stone fireplace mantles grace the family room and master bedroom fireplaces. Interior doors with glass knobs reclaimed from the original house located at the property. Two large terraces utilize used brick salvaged from at least 15 different locations. Courtyard fountain is tiled using recycled and restored ceramic tiles from a 1928 California Colonial house in Los Altos. Cabinet lumber from original house used for closet shelving. Plywood from crates that the windows and doors were delivered in were used to create garage shear walls. Foundation forms were salvaged and rip cut for use as interior stud walls. Garage doors were salvaged from a remodel project in Mountain View.

11. Ground Source Heat Pump
- Ground source heat pump uses geothermal energy to heat the house and domestic water, greatly reducing natural gas and fossil fuel consumption.

12. Low VOC Paint
Clay Plaster Wall Finishes VOC-free interior paint and stain finishes promotes healthy indoor air quality, reduces exacerbation of respiratory ailments such as asthma and lung cancer. Extensive use of American Clay Plaster integral color wall finish eliminates need for painted walls.

13. High Efficiency Windows
Use of energy efficient dual pane thermal glazing with “Low e” coating at all doors and windows reduces heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter, cutting energy use.

14. Engineered Structural Lumber
Extensive use of engineered lumber for structural framing and sheathing reduces cutting of old growth forests, and encourages use of “crop lumber”.

15. FSC Certified Mill Work
Extensive use of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified sustainable lumber products for cabinetry, hardwood flooring, trim, etc. further protects the environment through third party monitoring and certification of the entire supply chain.

16. Cotton Insulation
Formaldehyde-free cotton insulation made from recycled blue jeans used extensively for attic insulation.

photography by Frank Paul Perez

This photo has 4 questions

August 27, 2014
kathyshel wrote:
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Noel Cross+Architects
Same answer
    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 11:06AM
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April 26, 2013
lindseyemoore wrote:
Balconies - I love the balconies on the second story! I can tell they are deeper than a true Juliet, but how deep are they exactly? Can you put a chair on them? I am picturing a great spot for morning coffee =) Lovely home!
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Noel Cross+Architects
3' deep max. enough for a small chair. Thank you for your kind words. We love it.
    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:47AM
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December 11, 2012
royafashions wrote:
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Noel Cross+Architects
I don't understand metric. Sorry. The house is about 3,200 sq. ft.
    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 8:52PM
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March 26, 2012
klark wrote:
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I see, well thank you very much for replying. I have been looking for ideas on colors to paint my house and I just kept coming back to this beautiful house. I love that the house will never need painting, how wonderful is that! Just know that I fell in love with the Villa Terra and it has inspired me to try and achieve this look with my humble abode.

Thanks again
1 Like    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Luminoso Design
beautiful home!!!! love it! our lighting from Italy would be great in a home like this, check us out
    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 1:58PM
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What Houzz contributors are saying:

2. Structural evergreens. Evergreens that can be pruned into distinct shapes, such as boxwood and yew, can serve the same function as hardscaping. If your garden is already blessed with hardscaping and/or structural evergreens, you are two steps ahead of the game!

What Houzzers are commenting on:

pierreerasmus added this to Pierre's Ideas
February 1, 2015
PISE walls (pneumatically impacted stabilized earth) Villa Terra WHAT MAKES VILLA TERRA GREEN? Look up the article !!
sddaniel25 added this to sddaniel25's Ideas
December 20, 2014
georgiam63 added this to exterior
December 13, 2014
Youth With A Mission added this to tower building
December 11, 2014
should we consider this color with brown windows
Marion Truman added this to marion_truman's ideas
November 27, 2014
Like the exterior
njweatherby added this to No dimension 2 story
November 23, 2014
Would this work on front
Paulo E Izabel Correia added this to outside
October 16, 2014
pise not stucco
marilynchamberlain added this to marilynchamberlain's Ideas
October 3, 2014
Doors and windows Color palate
avonforyou added this to Exterior Ideas
September 30, 2014
wrought Iron
sallycullen added this to sallycullen's Ideas
September 24, 2014
Ext color
solbd added this to solbd's Ideas
August 27, 2014
kathyshel added this to Outdoor Ideas
August 27, 2014
I like the balcony upstairs
Viridian Landscape Architecture added this to Gordon stone wall entry
July 11, 2014
This house is made of rammed earth. Nice material for the front wall? It would probably be hard to build a curved wall with this, though....need to research that.
Natalie Young added this to EXTERIORS
June 26, 2014
lorrainebo9 added this to Landscape art and design
May 30, 2014
Color scheme
dag01954 added this to dag01954's Ideas
May 29, 2014
Cory's port
martikelly added this to martikelly's ideas
April 30, 2014
oh, dear, I must speak with the landscape service, those hedges...
marziye added this to marziyeart's ideas
April 26, 2014
voltaire49 added this to voltaire49's Ideas
April 19, 2014
Petit château!
Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, Interiors added this to maureesullivanstemberg's Ideas
April 10, 2014
Looks right out of Tuscany! Great home....!
risris added this to Elevations
April 10, 2014
this is a straw bale home!
rachelomara added this to Sierra Landscape
April 4, 2014
Great windows
Madelene Amendola added this to madelene_amendola's ideas
March 29, 2014
Looks good, and good for Mother Earth. Fantastic.
cwiest added this to Exteriors
March 13, 2014
color of the exterior and window trim
Felipe Fernandes added this to felipe_fernandes2686871's Ideas
March 12, 2014
Gostei dos arcos de metal entre a coluna e a casa...depois tem mais fotos dessa casa salvas.
Jonathan Bouzanquet added this to rammed earth
March 11, 2014
Stunning villa made in rammed earth
vesnag added this to Outdoor Spaces
March 7, 2014
davises2003 added this to davises2003's ideas
March 7, 2014
lrlgmm added this to lrlgmm's ideas
March 5, 2014
paulatrip68 added this to Exterior of House
March 3, 2014
Chantal Thompson added this to Exterior Ideas
February 24, 2014
mcwayscap added this to Exterior
February 24, 2014
Shera Leaver added this to shera_leaver's ideas
February 24, 2014
veroespi25 added this to veroespi25's Ideas
February 20, 2014
Parte trasera
leahandlexismom1 added this to leahandlexismom1's ideas
February 19, 2014
I would like to see if I could make the windows on the upper floor look bigger by adding some treatments like these.
jdpollard added this to jdpollard's Ideas
February 19, 2014
junie1300 added this to junie1300's ideas
February 19, 2014
This is what I'm looking for!
terkis added this to New Home Ideas
February 19, 2014
Like the color, but it isn't paint, rather rammed earth
jonpdana added this to jonpdana's ideas
February 16, 2014
french country with gray windows & beige color
pgarci21 added this to pgarci21's Ideas
February 15, 2014
Exterior paint with espresso trimming paint
Luminoso Design added this to Exteriors
February 13, 2014
Love this home!!!!
maitranfl added this to Exterior Ideas
February 5, 2014
richcmcsf added this to richcmcsf's ideas
February 4, 2014
first flooor
thenurse added this to cover for outdoor garage stairwell
February 4, 2014
iron Juliette balcony outside windows
hasentree added this to Hasentree
February 2, 2014
Juliette balcony
carruthers4134 added this to carruthers4134's ideas
January 30, 2014
just like it
golfmomx3 added this to golfmomx3's ideas
January 29, 2014
ae6483 added this to ae6483's Ideas
January 28, 2014
ymagagna added this to Yard
January 27, 2014
trellis around the window
steveharlan added this to steveharlan's ideas
January 27, 2014
west elevation & east elevation more pitch on roof 10-12?
ongman added this to sun rivers
January 26, 2014
Pratima Sethi added this to pratima_sethi's ideas
January 26, 2014
jeffrito added this to jeffrito's ideas
January 23, 2014
sperrin33 added this to sperrin33's ideas
January 21, 2014
Light trim, green trim
John Peters added this to Exterior Ideas
January 21, 2014
patio landscaping
cgranado added this to cgranado's ideas
January 20, 2014
Ann Meyers added this to ann_meyers’s lake house
January 19, 2014
Needs shutters but like the flat facade
gaildzammit added this to berry
January 18, 2014
Colour of surrounds brown doors aubergine and antique white
nikkig83 added this to Exterior Looks
January 4, 2014
Juliet Balcony for bedrooms
Ali Gholami added this to alixfree's ideas
January 3, 2014
houseofmays added this to Exterior Ideas
December 24, 2013
nshamie added this to nshamie's ideas
December 13, 2013
Safe green
beautifaux added this to beautifaux's ideas
December 11, 2013
iron work
pam502 added this to Exterior Ideas
December 10, 2013
emilyhamilton added this to Exterior Detailing (back)
December 4, 2013
Windows, vegitation, iron railing.
judeg53 added this to Living Rooms
December 2, 2013
Wayne Schmitt added this to exter paint colors
November 18, 2013
House paint colors, green trim
conleygolden added this to conleygolden's Favorites
November 17, 2013
jbrendakay added this to bren's
November 16, 2013
Love !! Tuscan, Italy
aschlatter added this to aschlatter's ideas
November 14, 2013
Front of house
hellopairaya added this to สวย
November 14, 2013
Tracey Herrick added this to EXTERIORS
November 13, 2013
Something? The french doors?
lisaharrison added this to house plans
November 12, 2013
teniii added this to landscape
November 8, 2013
Tall cypress as a border for vineyard
dksmith22 added this to gradison build
November 7, 2013
windows above doors
conniecoots added this to conniecoots's Favorites
November 2, 2013
weboli added this to Exterior
October 31, 2013
Rustic looking, like unevenness but like walls to be lighter.
tammaraw added this to exterior stucco
October 30, 2013
simonereitano added this to simonereitano's Ideas
October 28, 2013
Love the feel of the outside.. Needs a little more design around entry to house
kettlyn added this to office
October 25, 2013
metal décor up top?
simonereitano added this to Reitano Tuscan Home
October 23, 2013
Muhammad Saeed added this to aaa
October 23, 2013
lightpunj added this to lightpunj's ideas
October 23, 2013
tierraverde added this to Outside views
October 20, 2013
upper patio iron railings
hmah added this to Landscape
October 17, 2013
nice balconies
salek74 added this to kelllys 2
October 7, 2013
med home number 1.
glegorreta added this to glegorreta's Ideas
October 6, 2013
Color exterior
Katie Smith added this to katie_smith5236622's ideas
October 6, 2013
Simple, square, stucco
frfinnlady added this to Closet Ideas
October 6, 2013
teresahardt added this to House colors
October 5, 2013
jenniferpen added this to House exteriors
October 3, 2013
lisapaul18 added this to lisapaul18's ideas
October 1, 2013
WI grill
silingor added this to silingor's ideas
September 28, 2013
jiwangonesh added this to jiwangonesh's Ideas
September 27, 2013
outdoor colors
leslierandolph added this to leslierandolph's ideas
September 27, 2013
Solar Design Use of extensive east and south facing glass, proper overhangs, high interior mass, deciduous grape vines on appropriately placed trellises, to passively heat the home in winter, and protect the house from unnecessary heat gain in summer. 9. Reclaimed Lumber - Douglas fir ceiling beams
kmartinson added this to kmartinson's ideas
September 20, 2013
This is a cool spanish colonial - let's add a fountain
sloaner1 added this to sloaner1's Ideas
September 18, 2013
Like the knot garden, which I envision beyond a pool and adjacent to a chapel
annelielr added this to annelielr's Ideas
September 15, 2013
staal en rankplante
fkstudyo added this to ardic
September 14, 2013
siuchan added this to siuchan's ideas
September 13, 2013
rustic earth PISE structure
gaildzammit added this to gaildzammit's Ideas
September 8, 2013
tonyarmstrong added this to exterior
September 4, 2013
plaster exterior and coloured windows
rogerct added this to rogerct's Ideas
September 3, 2013
Casa Torreón
poppet22 added this to poppet22's ideas
September 2, 2013
exterior colour
zeljkaana added this to zeljkaana's ideas
September 1, 2013
maureenlong added this to maureenlong's Favorites
August 24, 2013
Like color
Claire Day Interiors added this to Maggie and Ed's dream house
August 19, 2013
sage green clad windows and doors against a mud colored stucco
frijoles18 added this to frijoles18's ideas
August 18, 2013
45gladys added this to Exterior
August 17, 2013
paint, 3 colors
kate480 added this to Exterior Ideas
August 16, 2013
Paint color
lucylevans added this to lucylevans's ideas
August 16, 2013
tuscan exterior
obsessmuch91505 added this to modern old world spanish
August 15, 2013
modern old world spanish
thedaisy added this to thedaisy's ideas
August 15, 2013
french inspired
steppin added this to steppin's Ideas
August 12, 2013
Kleur gevel
cynek added this to exterior
August 10, 2013
brad210000 added this to brad210000's ideas
August 10, 2013
simple 2 story mediterrean
sommerneil added this to Exterior Ideas
August 9, 2013
house and gardens
karenmsosa added this to karenmsosa's Favorites
August 8, 2013
green trim
jjbranham added this to jjbranham's ideas
August 7, 2013
this is the peachy , beigeish, tannish, very light brownish blend color on the walls that I like.
Mario Di Marzio added this to webuser_822883's Ideas
August 7, 2013
Pete Lipman added this to exterior
August 5, 2013
rammed earth walls
jtrocket3 added this to Exterior Ideas
August 5, 2013
sharicantor added this to sharicantor's Ideas
July 25, 2013
jfb101 added this to Exterior Ideas
July 24, 2013
windows, doors, symetry
dcheldi added this to dcheldi's Favorites
July 24, 2013
megdreyer added this to megdreyer's ideas
July 22, 2013
mikeynet added this to Facades
July 21, 2013
avalene added this to avalene's ideas
July 19, 2013
hectorbarahona added this to hectorbarahona's Ideas
July 19, 2013
Casa clasica
justlisa62 added this to justlisa62's Ideas
July 18, 2013
Rammed earth house
Leoalbertus added this to Villa Palmiery
July 17, 2013
Balcony door
amylynnfindley added this to amylynnfindley's Ideas
July 17, 2013
love the exterior color and window size/placement
Kris Andreani added this to kris_andreani's Ideas
July 14, 2013
The bent wrought iron
ellisfleischer added this to ellisfleischer's Ideas
July 14, 2013
Dominique Celeste added this to Working with Dated Styles
July 11, 2013
facades colors
michizak21 added this to Hill house
July 9, 2013
eibingeh added this to eibingeh's ideas
July 9, 2013
bella italia
kpsmith8122 added this to Exterior Ideas
July 6, 2013
exterior color
savannah708 added this to Exterior Ideas
June 29, 2013
Love the wrought iron window treatments
hpuzz added this to hpuzz's Ideas
June 28, 2013
Fachada trasera
rodzenj1 added this to my ideas
June 28, 2013
paint colors
1040wpine added this to Seabreeze12 ideas
June 24, 2013
39leafywy added this to Bathroom Ideas
June 23, 2013
plants on lattes away from house
annegarrity added this to Exterior Ideas
June 20, 2013
gold wall color with pale green trim
laurambergallo added this to fachadas
June 19, 2013
Cor + molduras
pacificcoastglover added this to Exteriors & Garage Doors
June 17, 2013
color balance/combination if using white trim and colored windows
pearldepallo added this to pearldepallo's ideas
June 13, 2013
scrooged65 added this to scrooged65's Ideas
June 11, 2013
Fleishman Construction & Fine Cabinetry added this to Paschnoor's Inspirations
June 11, 2013
Spanish exterior & boxwood
Barimah kwadwo baafi added this to barimahkojobaafi's ideas
June 11, 2013
look at the colour of the house and the bambo roofing sheets
ancaandreea added this to ancaandreea's Ideas
June 8, 2013
The facade, the garden
brandi3108 added this to house exterior
June 6, 2013
favorite stucco colour
seeya45 added this to Exterior Ideas
June 5, 2013
Colour and texture
nghoblos added this to Outdoor Space
June 3, 2013
small balconies
blc1968 added this to blc1968's ideas
June 3, 2013
Green frames
mariakevin added this to mariakevin's ideas
June 2, 2013
ckfrench added this to Exterior
May 29, 2013
Rammed Earth (PISE) instead of stucco
mbeo added this to small new house
May 27, 2013
thall145 added this to thall145's ideas
May 26, 2013
kmsounds78 added this to kmsounds78's Ideas
May 26, 2013
debbiepinkston added this to Exterior Ideas
May 25, 2013
Love the exterior with balconies!
marilyn11 added this to marilyn11's ideas
May 24, 2013
iron work
yfran added this to Exterior Ideas
May 23, 2013
iron window planters
Dean Lauer added this to Exterior Ideas
May 21, 2013
Love this house with the windows and doors, sage green color and rammed earth walls.
gkrizel added this to new house
May 21, 2013
2nd level details
lovelyboo added this to italian
May 20, 2013
very open and friendly, yet still private
pattimick123 added this to pattimick123's ideas
May 19, 2013
Renee Kimes added this to Exterior Ideas
May 16, 2013
Love this Juliet balcony
vczimer added this to vczimer's ideas
May 15, 2013
sklinewalsh added this to living room
May 13, 2013
ambogie added this to ambogie's ideas
May 13, 2013
paigederm12 added this to new house!
May 11, 2013
love this color!!!!!
thomson13 added this to thomson13's Ideas
May 9, 2013
dogbrees added this to dogbrees's ideas
May 8, 2013
love this
rperry added this to home
May 7, 2013
Adding wrought iron
danliff added this to danliff's Ideas
May 7, 2013
Jon's house remodel
jakone99 added this to edited pergola
May 7, 2013
stone jointing square columns, landscape attachment
bahaykubo504 added this to bahaykubo504's ideas
May 7, 2013
cecost added this to cecost's ideas
May 6, 2013
marimayhem added this to Exterior Ideas
May 5, 2013
beautiful passive house!
selkirkoaks added this to brick
May 4, 2013
allanreals added this to Exterior Ideas
May 4, 2013
melrenny added this to melrenny's ideas
May 2, 2013
exterior color
cgvalderrama added this to Exterior
April 29, 2013
Exterior - Colour.
gmarieb added this to gmarieb's ideas
April 27, 2013
Color of house
eklund added this to eklund's ideas
April 27, 2013
exterior windows
debmayo123 added this to debmayo123's Ideas
April 26, 2013
Color of wall
winesnobs added this to Exterior Ideas
April 25, 2013
Love this house design.
Nancy Moskovitz added this to exterior window trim
April 23, 2013
color palette
Joy Bollig added this to joy_bollig's Ideas
April 21, 2013
I like the look of this house.
maryanns2 added this to maryanns2's ideas
April 21, 2013
warm body color and soft touch of green
lberry4 added this to exterior
April 21, 2013
color of doors
frenchcountryhacienda added this to frenchcountryhacienda's ideas
April 20, 2013
like the arbor on the right
dtraul added this to dtraul's ideas
April 20, 2013
Like stucco color & I think clay or tile roof color
belgian1 added this to Exterior Ideas
April 20, 2013
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