The three-story penthouse of NYC’s Stealth Building.


“I think the idea of the ‘domestic spa’ was important. If you view your home as a sanctuary, every opportunity should be taken to emphasize those values.”
Vivian Lee, Edmonds + Lee Architects

  • Reading time: 3 minutes
  • Architects: Edmonds + Lee Architects
  • Collections: AXOR Starck, AXOR Uno

A full-service design, development and architecture firm based in San Francisco, Edmonds + Lee Architects has garnered international recognition for its contemporary approach to homes and housing. The Switchback House, which partners Robert Edmonds and Vivian Lee designed for themselves and their two children, explores light, space, plane, material, and the endless possibilities of form.

The Switchback House entrance hall.


In San Francisco, where property prices are high, lot sizes are small and opportunities to design a home from scratch are rare, the tendency is to maximize the square footage of any new build. For their own home, Edmonds and Lee took a different approach.  Both partners were attuned to qualitative living and the notion of home as a sanctuary for health and well-being. The Switchback House, which they designed for themselves and their two children, offers a personal vision of Compact Luxury, but one with wide appeal.
The bedrooms are on the lower level of the Switchback House.


By opting for three bedrooms instead of four, eliminating redundant spaces, and creating a sense of openness and flow, the architects have made a compact design feel remarkably expansive. But their boldest move of all may have been to ‘flip’ the home, putting the bedrooms below and the kitchen, dining and living areas, including a large outdoor terrace, on top. This ensures the best views and light, and creates a sense of airy spaciousness in the part of the house where the family spends most of its time.
Switchback House bathroom with AXOR Uno and AXOR Urquiola.


Edmonds and Lee chose AXOR for the Switchback House. In the bathrooms, they selected faucets from the AXOR Uno collection. Designed by Phoenix, AXOR Uno embodies the Purist ethos of simplicity, reduction to the essential, and self-evident function. “It’s just so clean and pure,” says Edmonds of AXOR Uno. “It’s a perfect reflection of just a faucet – nothing less, nothing more.” In the kitchen, Edmonds and Lee opted for a faucet from the elemental AXOR Starck collection by Philippe Starck. All three collections, Edmond notes, “go together cohesively.”

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