The Upper House
The Upper House (a.k.a. Moonviewing House) sits on the slope of the Moon Viewing Hill as a place of quiet retreat. From the engawa, or veranda, one can contemplate the beauty of the gardens and the splendor of the moon from the time it rises until it sets. Constructed without nails in the traditional manner, this is the original house built by the Stine family in 1918. The interior floors are covered with tatami mats and there is a tokonoma for a scroll and flower arrangements.
The Lower House
The Lower House was built in 1922. It incorporates many Japanese features such as post and beam construction with sliding doors and windows. It is an example of the organic architecture movement, popular at the time which emphasized the use of honest materials in their unaltered state.
The Cultural Exchange Center
The Cultural Exchange Center (CEC) is a 19th century (Edo period) Kyoto tea merchant’s house and shop. To be permitted to be a building open to the public in California, the external shell was retrofitted to meet current earthquake and fire prevention codes. The internal space was remodeled for handling exhibits and larger crowds. The architect Kiyoshi Yasui designed the changes and American architect Warren Heid, a local Saratoga resident, assisted. The result is a well-proportioned Japanese building that was constructed in Japan, disassembled, shipped to Saratoga and reassembled on site.