Dani Ridge House is a gorgeous contemporary vacation retreat carved into a hillside, designed by Carver + Schicketanz, located in Big Sur, California. The 1,900 square foot home looks upon the Pacific through floor-to-ceiling windows that nearly stretch the perimeter of the house, which uses daylighting and shading to control temperatures. Hoping not to obstruct their neighbors’ views, the clients asked the architects to add a native green roof, which from above looks essentially identical to the surrounding greenery. In fact, it blends so well into the landscape that if you drive by, you just might miss it.
In order to conceal this home from its uphill neighbors a shelf was cut into the narrow slice of grassland located between an access road on one side and the steep slopes of the West Coast on the other. The uphill land extends as a green roof over the underground portions of the home-terminating on the gently curved roof of the living room.
All utilities, including the 5,000 gallon water storage tank, were placed underground in order to preserve the surrounding landscape.
Purpose of the home for the client: To be used as a vacation home for a family with two young daughters. Three bedrooms, two bath rooms, modest living area, integrated/ open kitchen and take advantage of the great views.
Design concept of the project: To interrupt the native landscape to the least extent possible, to interlock the structure with the land as much as possible.
The design process: We decided to cut a wedge into the gentle hill side and tie the house to the hill and accommodate many functions (garage, laundry, powder room, pantry, mechanical room) underground. As a result the native meadow rolls onto the northern part of the house and ties the building to the landscape. Therefore the house is barely visible to the uphill neighbors.
What is inspiring about this place / setting to architect: The views, the landscape, the adventurous clients. What were the goals we sought to achieve? How did we achieve them? We wanted the home to blend with the land, and give the clients a perfect retreat. We accomplished this by cutting a wedge into the gentle hillside and using this space to accommodate multiple functions (garage, laundry, powder room, pantry, mechanical room) underground.
As a result the native meadow rolls onto the northern part of the house and ties the building to the landscape. Therefore the house is barely visible to the uphill neighbors. Process for the material and finish selections for the project: We were looking for durable and easy-to-maintain finishes which are soothing to the eye and compliment the native grass land.
Photos: Robert Canfield
This mid-century era residence has been built with great flow and well-proportioned volumes in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Designed by Carver + Schicketanz, the project called for the need of an extra bedroom as well as a new kitchen and bathrooms. In addition, the goal of the architects was to modernize the outdated house technology resulting in a highly efficient home with supplemental photovoltaic power generation. The architects completed the first LEED-certified home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, reaching the highest level: Platinum.
Coastlands House is situation in one of Big Sur, California’s most scenic areas, located in an old coastal subdivision with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Big Sur Coastlands, designed by architecture firm Carver + Schicketanz. Originally the site had an existing home of poor construction, so the residence was replaced with a new, more energy efficient home that could be seamlessly integrated into its natural surroundings. The clients’ vision included a home that would maximize the views, while providing tranquility and serenity. They wanted the space to accommodate a sizeable museum-quality art collection yet feel warm and inviting to guests. A detached guest house was built to accommodate overnight guests while maintaining privacy for the homeowners.
The spa area with integrated workout facilities provides a retreat for yoga and meditation. The design solution included integration of the new structures into the scenic beauty and native landscape while regaining open space, and incorporating sustainable elements into all aspects of the design. A warm but neutral color palette was incorporated into the design to complement the natural building materials and juxtapose the brilliant blues of the ocean and sky and the vivid greens of the garden and hills beyond. Hand-selected antiques are mixed with carefully sourced new furnishings. Most of the carpets and many furnishings were specifically designed by the architects for this residence.
Large glass stacking sliders open to the patios beyond – providing great cross ventilation and a seamless connection to the outdoors. Most of the finish materials are reclaimed and a photovoltaic system was designed to generate 90% of the home’s power usage.