Even the most ardent greenie would be hard-pressed to critisize the seamless landscape integration of this home design! Set into the hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California, this retreat was designed by Carver & Schicketanz Architects. Built as a vacation home for a family with two young daughters, the key elements of the brief were to build as least disruptively to the landscape as possible and minimise visibility of and from distant neighbours. In the words of the architects, "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."
Materials: random limestone flooring, exterior clad in shiplapped cedar, douglas fir ceiling beams, Vogelman brownstone rock wall and fireplace mantel in reclaimed barnwood with brushed stainless steel fireplace surround.
Sustainable features: hydrotech roofing system planted with native grasses for insulation and minimising aesthetic impact on environment, thermal mass from limestone flooring, rainwater harvesting and cross-ventilation.