The Sea Ranch, California
The lot lies near the base of a forested hillside not far from the Sonoma County coastline. Dense redwoods and firs largely obscure neighbors and sunlight, but there is some filtered ocean view from an elevated position.
The 1600 SF retirement house (and 350 SF garage/shop) consists of 1 bedroom, 2 studios (he is an artist, she is a research writer), minimal guest accommodations, and lots of bookshelves. A hot tub deck is planned for the future.
The design approach is very much about circulation and gaining height gracefully. The entry path winds counter clockwise up around a group of young redwoods to the front door of the house whereupon the interior entry continues to wind until the trees are almost completely circumscribed. The circulation then reverses itself and winds clockwise up and around a central core of 2×8 and 2×4 exposed wall framing which serves as an oversized, continuous bookcase. Each ascending interior space becomes more private, eventually culminating in the sky lit bedroom at the top. There is a small bunk room off the entry and a painting studio and garage situated below.
The exterior finishes are vertical redwood board walls and black composition shingle roofs. Interior finishes include gypsum board walls, 3 inch T&G ceilings, exposed wall framing, and vertical grain Douglas fir floors and millwork.