Alvina Tree House

A home for multigeneration living that preserves the site and gives everyone space and privacy while making it easy to stay connected


Alvina Tree House is an infill residence with a small budget and big aspirations! It provides accessible, multi-generational living at the maximum density allowed by zoning on the site. The owners of this home grew up on the property and wanted to live near family to provide cross-generational support to all. Three generations live on the property, with the original 18090’s homestead farmhouse at the core and an old-growth ponderosa pine tree at the heart. It is the place where families gather to celebrate, play and enjoy themselves.  And it became the inspiration for the design and placement of the home on the site. There were many site constraints including a utility easement and steep slopes that cutoff access to the buildable area, further compounded by the desire for an accessible home. These constraints ultimately led to an elegant solution, a long-ramped bridge that connects the home to the rest of the family property.

Sustainability was approached from all angles. Low-carbon strategies were used where possible. Locally-milled wood siding clads the entire house exterior and is showcased in the interior at the loft floor and deck support structure. Wood and linoleum flooring, minimal use of ceramic tile, solid wood casing and trim, formaldehyde-free plywood veneer cabinets, and low- or zero-VOC finishes provide warmth, durability, and a pristine indoor environment. The structure is wood framed walls and the foundation reduced concrete use by 25% through thoughtful detailing. The building envelope achieves an excellent 1.18 ACH blower door test confirmation utilizing simple building sealing strategies and affordable fiberglass windows and doors. A 7.4 kW rooftop solar array with net metering provides power to the all-electric home featuring a ducted heat pump system.

Project Credit

General Contractor – Bateman Building Company

Structural – Apex Engineering Services

Photography – Cou Cou Studio