30.1.2014

Sea Ranch Residence, in California

The famed Sea Ranch development situated along California’s rugged north coast was innovative in the development of its original 1960’s design guidelines, which dictated a sensitive relationship to the local terrain, vegetation and coastal climate.

The Sea Ranch vernacular style is characterized by harmonious integration with the natural landscape, unornamented, pure geometric building forms, irregular window patterns and locations, as well as extensive use of cedar siding, dark aluminum windows, and copper trim.

This house, designed for a Danish consul and his wife, was built as a weekend getaway and a venue for informal entertaining. Sited on a sloping lot which opens to spectacular downslope views over the Pacific Ocean, the house gently backs into an existing grove of redwood trees, thus providing intimacy and a “deep woods” feeling toward the rear of the house. The design embodies a Nordic sensibility to light, material, and lifestyle, while respecting the architectural forms and rustic materiality characteristic of the famed Sea Ranch design tradition.

The primary living areas of the house are oriented toward the coast, and the design maximizes panoramic views to the ocean by providing a clear span of glass along the ocean-facing façade. The effect is profoundly ethereal, like that of “floating” above the water. Other large windows are carefully positioned along the side and rear façade walls to provide focused views from both living and sleeping areas back into the forest canopy behind the house. Panels of translucent glass provide privacy where needed, while not limiting daylight.

The owners furnished the house sparsely with an eclectic mix of mid-century Danish furniture classics and newer furnishings intended to contribute to a comfortable informality to the interiors. Walls are left unadorned in order to accentuate the always-changing interplay of light and surface, and to strengthen focus on the beauty of the surrounding natural environment, which permeates the house.

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