- Architect Of Record: Steve Brodie
- Landscape: Tony Ventrella
- Main House: 3899 Sq. Ft.
- Guest House: 1097 Sq. Ft.
- Garage: 432 Sq. Ft.
- City: Sea Ranch
- Country: United States
Text description provided by the architects. On a jagged cliff overlooking the Pacific, tucked in between tufts of cypress, an architectural gem becomes a family vacation home under the design vision of Lewis Butler and Reba Jones. The home, located in the 1960s planned community of Sea Ranch, preserves the distinguishing elements of its neighboring buildings — vertical wood siding, muted materials, views full of drama — while giving the clients, a San Francisco-based couple in search of a secluded retreat, details all their own. For the architects, as enamored of the curving coast and soothing landscape as their clients, updating the home, designed in 1974 by Ralph Matheson and renovated in 1990 by William Turnbull Jr., proved easier than expected. With its relaxing lushness, the site itself played the role of mediator.
The near-impossible ease infused into the project by its surroundings meant that the hard-won details could become at once feature and backdrop. In the living room, The Siren, a pendant light by David Weeks, only seems to sing its song momentarily, guiding views back through floor-to-ceiling windows out onto the water. Resisting the temptation to provide views that expansive in every space of the house, the architects placed windows carefully. Views from the bedroom and family room are let in through smaller openings, the exact right size for an introspective moment. Between the library and master suite, a blind door provides just enough separation so as to be forgotten. And while these spaces are made with the precise desires of the clients in mind, it’s in the two office spaces that the design details most reflect the personalities of the couple. In his office, a desk surface custom-made of star-fire glass sits atop two blackened steel bases that call to mind the fins of a turbine engine. In hers, a made-to-fit taupe window seat leaves anyone sitting in it suspended over the Pacific Coast.
The architects showed just as much care in the choices made throughout the rest of the home, where furniture and finishes dance delicately together. The art pieces throughout the home capture the eye but release it quickly, a nod to the Sea Ranch philosophy that guides every home on the site: nature is forthright. And if that’s so, then the house lets in the precise dose of its surroundings through its materials. In the living room, a powder-coated steel stair leads into one of the few additions to the plan, a tower housing a new office. The white-washed vertical planks of Douglas Fir that wrap the interior spaces recall the cedar covering the exterior of the home.
It’s this blur between built and natural, between smooth and sharp, interior and exterior, that makes the house — and its inhabitants — feel at home in Sea Ranch.