Design, Engineering + Build

Located in San Diego’s architecturally diverse Mission Hills neighborhood, the Shayan House was engineered, designed and built by Nakhshab Development and Design (NDD).  An adept nod to mid-century modern architecture and design, the canyon home was created to house three generations of the Nakhshab family.  The first LEED Certified Gold single family home in the city of San Diego, this dramatic modern home is built to ensure efficiency and sustainability as well as the comfort of its occupants, who range from 2 to 64 years old.

The Shayan House features custom amenities that highlight how building green can also be luxurious while both accentuating the home’s “classic modern” characteristics and accommodating multi-generational living. A sizable entertaining-and-living space walled by 13-foot high floor-to-ceiling windows showcases stunning canyon and city views.  As the primary common area, the main floor is an open concept kitchen, living and outdoor space that takes full advantage of natural light, and beautifully blends the outdoors and the indoors.  The home’s highly efficient thermal envelope includes state of the art formaldehyde-free insulation, a cool roof system, Low-E coated windows, and a design that is optimized for cross ventilation.  On the roof, 21 photovoltaic solar panels supply the residence a 40% annual energy offset.  Such sustainable materials as concrete flooring, used throughout Shayan House, and concrete block walls, as well as natural steel and wood elements, were incorporated to maintain the clean, modern design.

An engineering challenge because of its dramatically sloped canyon lot, the home utilizes a partially subterranean design NDD devised to avoid employing costly and more limiting traditional stilt construction techniques.  The design allowed NDD to more affordably construct the home on a property that had sat for over 20 years because many considered it “unbuildable.”  The site and building orientation were carefully studied to ensure maximum efficiency for passive ventilation, passive lighting, passive solar PV, and passive heating and cooling. Efficient design features also include architectural overhangs for shading, limited glazing on East and West-facing walls, and a South-facing flat roof area that maximized photovoltaic energy production.


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This property gains unique advantages from both a reversed floor plan, and multiple living spaces designed to suit the varying needs of the Nakhshab family members. With multiple levels creatively built into the canyon, the home was designed with a cohesive floor plan that provides all residents sufficient privacy.  Shared living spaces – the kitchen, dining room and living room – are located upstairs, while bedroom suites share the downstairs area with family and music rooms.  Each of these has floor-to-ceiling windows as well as access to the outdoors, which makes the spaces simultaneously luminous, open and private. The spacious master bedroom is sized to accommodate a private and cozy “retreat” for the family’s eldest generation.

Originally from Iran, the Nakhshab family highly values maintaining and strengthening the cultural heritage passed from generation to generation. By housing three generations under one roof, not only can the Nakhshab family minimize such cost-of-living expenses as mortgage payments, utility bills and daycare, but they also can maintain strong cultural traditions.

Additional home features and materials include:

• A structure that was built to be 23.7% more energy efficient than required by California standards.

• 91% Energy Star-rated lighting package along with energy saving motion sensors in most rooms.

• Repurposed, refurbished and recycled mid-century modern furnishings throughout the home.

• Energy Star-rated appliances and low flow toilets and faucets.

• 100% drought tolerant landscaping planted with native species.

• Zoned HVAC system that uses non-HCFC refrigerants for maximized efficiency

• Tankless water heater and re-circulating plumbing system.

• Sustainable materials such as concrete flooring, concrete block walls, and 25% recycled content drywall.

• Low VOC paint throughout the house