In most quarter acre neighborhoods, where catalog houses are imposed upon their sites, Villa Vincero establishes a comprehensive dialog with it's site resulting in an alternative solution. Rejecting the traditional notion of a house centered on its site with front, back and side yards, the villa aligns the long axis of its narrow L-shaped mass against the northern setback line. The L-shape defines an open courtyard enclosed by a stone wall that is flush with and attached to the front façade. The fourth side of the courtyard is the property line which is planted with cypress trees for privacy. The stone wall and absence of a traditional "front yard", creates a curiosity in passersby. A heavy wooden gate in the front stone wall is the entry to the courtyard, where a stone path leads one to the "front" entry.
While the house enjoys a large, private courtyard in exchange for a traditional yard, the orientation of the house has also responded to the varying sun angles of each season. The long side of the house faces south which provides direct sunlight throughout the day. As a result of the deeply inset windows, roof overhangs and the wisteria engulfed trellis, all acting as shades, direct summer sunlight into the house itself is minimized. In the winter the sun tracks across the sky at a significantly lower altitude, penetrating deeply into the narrow width of the house.
A retaining wall seperates the courtyard from the rear section of the lot, creating a lower level yard for the basement apartment suite, which has its own terrace.