IT WAS ROSS WOODS' HILLSIDE site, which overlooks San Francisco Bay and is loaded with mature trees, that dictated the house's architecture as much as anything. “We felt the Shingle Style would be particularly in keeping with the unusually wooded nature of the site,” says John Eller, president of SB Architects. “It really blends into the hillside and produces a desirable effect.”

The Shingle Style's vertical nature also helped to offer great views and create more volume within the small footprint of this project, a mix of attached townhouses and zero–lot-line homes. Inside the three-story structures there was room for such creative design solutions as split levels, overlooks, corner window bays, and offices tucked into stair landings. Two of the four plans put the master bedroom all the way upstairs, with an adjoining retreat that's been bumped up a step or two. “That means the windowsill is lower, so you get just that much of a better view of the bay, even when you're sitting down,” says Eller.

CATEGORY: Townhouse, more than 2,000 square feet; ENTRANT/ARCHITECT/LAND PLANNER: SB Architects, San Francisco; BUILDER: Regis Contractors of Northern California, San Mateo, Calif.; DEVELOPER: Regis Homes of Northern California, San Mateo; LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: The Guzzardo Partnership, San Francisco; INTERIOR DESIGNER: Color Design Art, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA.