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Location: San Rafael, California
Set among the rolling hills of Marin County, just north of San Francisco, this modern estate bordering an Open Space preserve and a winter creek is one lovely indoor-outdoor retreat. Constructed in 1994, the home has so far been the personal residence of its creator: James Shay, a trained architect who, in the mid-90s, decided to focus on painting. It's no surprise then that this house feels like a big and breezy hillside gallery. Defined by steel-clad barrel-vaulted roofs and soaring interior spaces, the nearly 5,000-square-foot abode is bright, airy, and rather breathtaking.