The Sea Ranch, California
The corner lot is on a grassy hillside overlooking meadows and miles of northerly coastline. There are neighboring houses on all sides which appear somewhat suburban in their character and siting. The design of this 2300 SF vacation house (for a semi-professional pastry chef and her adoring husband, a doctor and avid sports fan) works with the dichotomy between being appropriate to the exiting community fabric and respectfully harmonizing with the natural landscape.
The house undergoes a kind of metamorphosis as its earth covered roof rises out of the ground on the north and evolves into a more conservative two story gable on the south. This latter (bedroom) portion relates in scale and style to the existing neighboring houses. The central portion of sloped glazing, earth covered roof, and kitchen skylight monitor reduces the visual bulk from the street corner below. Berms and earth covered roofs at the north completely conceal the mass of the garage. An entry courtyard is partially below grade and is well protected from prevailing winds.
The entry immediately introduces visitors to the north coast view through a panoramic solarium of sloped glazing. The interior is composed around a massive Rumford fireplace and an elaborate combination kitchen/office. The kitchen/office overlooks the living and dining areas to the view, but is itself partially screened by the level changes. A skylight monitor lights the central island and provides passive cooling via operable louvers. A continuous exposed duct exhausts cooktop and oven fumes while supporting extensive pot rack and light track systems.
The horizontality of the exterior is reflected on the interior by alternating bands of acid washed galvanized steel and black labradorite. Corrugated steel culverts are used for both structural shrouds and (architect designed) furniture legs. Radiant heating, oak floors, and Douglas fir paneling and beams are used throughout.