Seashore Home, Meet Ocean View

This text is a part of our newest Design particular part, about areas impressed by nature.


When Ben and Rebekah Shaffer started on the lookout for a second dwelling that might really feel like a world away from their day by day actuality in Silicon Valley, they weren’t certain about which path to take.

At first, “we had been pondering we may discover one thing within the forest someplace,” stated Mr. Shaffer, 44, an industrial designer at Apple. Then they started musing about a spot close to Lake Tahoe, which is roughly 4 hours northeast of their main residence, a home in San Jose, Calif., that was designed by Joseph Eichler.

However with three youngsters — Brooklyn, now 15; Liam, 12; and Naomi, 11 — who must sit by means of the prolonged automobile journey, that didn’t appear possible.

The couple recalibrated their search and seemed for a home on the coast that was inside an hour of their main dwelling. At first, the objective appeared like a pipe dream. However then, Mr. Shaffer stated, “we discovered this superb neighborhood referred to as Pajaro Dunes,” a resort in Watsonville, Calif., about an hour south, the place dozens of independently owned, quirky midcentury trendy properties are pressed up in opposition to the ocean.

After touring just a few homes, they discovered what they needed: a 1,500-square-foot dwelling with an angular roof, hunkered down within the grassy dunes, only a skipping stone’s throw away from the surf. “It appeared actually enjoyable: simply this odd picket pyramid,” Mr. Shaffer stated.

The Shaffers purchased it in September 2017 for $1.55 million and started planning an in depth renovation. The home, which was designed in 1968 by George Cody, an architect, had gained an award from the native chapter of the American Institute of Architects when it was constructed. However greater than 50 years later, the inside was outdated, and worse, stepping inside nearly felt like getting into a tree trunk.

With partitions lined in cedar shingles and extra wooden paneling protecting the ceilings, “it was so darkish,” stated Ms. Shaffer, 45, an inside designer.

Regardless of the home’s potential for open sightlines to the water, the roof on the aspect dealing with the ocean additionally terminated about 5 ft off the sand, obscuring a lot of the view.

In search of assist, the couple talked to Daniel Gomez, a accomplice at Fuse Architects close to Santa Cruz. “Inside, you needed to duck down or sit actually low simply to see this little peek of ocean,” Mr. Gomez stated. “In speaking with Ben and Rebekah, the query was, How can we interact that view higher with out completely altering the dimensions of the undertaking and the way it matches throughout the surroundings?”

Over the next months, they deliberate an overhaul with the development firm Hagen Colbert that retained the unique footprint of the home however made key architectural adjustments to open it up.

Most importantly, the group adjusted the roofline the place the home faces the ocean to permit for taller image home windows. Now the glass field containing the eating room seems to protrude into the sand and pops up larger than the primary roof, capturing unfettered views of water and sky. The renovation additionally added extra home windows, underneath shorter eaves, to the lounge and first bed room, so these areas nearly appear to spill out into the dunes.

The group changed the weathered cedar shingles on the outside of the home with a black standing-seam steel roof and black-stained vertical cedar siding. “We nearly made it Darth Vader’s Pizza Hut,” Mr. Shaffer stated, noting with amusing that he needed the home to look one thing like a bunker.

When folks strategy the house, nonetheless, a cutaway reveals an entrance lined in hotter, pure cedar. And after they step inside, they enter a shiny, white house flooded with mild from the enlarged home windows and a skylight positioned the place the ceiling soars to its pyramidal peak above the kitchen.

“It’s that complete journey of expertise,” Mr. Shaffer stated. Designing the home was “similar to my work at Apple,” he added, “and eager about how folks strategy and work together with product.”

Very similar to a smartphone, the home crams quite a bit right into a small package deal. “We adjusted partitions right here and there to be actually sensible and environment friendly in regards to the house we needed to work with,” Mr. Shaffer stated. “We had to consider what we would have liked for our household of 5, in addition to the flexibility to produce other households stick with us.”

That imaginative and prescient resulted in three compact bedrooms and two loos, together with one which doubles as a laundry room. Wasted house within the kitchen was rehabilitated by making a hidden storage cupboard throughout the island and a nook for footwear.

On high of white-oak flooring, the couple positioned spartan preparations of furnishings, together with items by the designers Kieran Kinsella and Stephen Kenn, who’re their mates, and some gadgets Mr. Shaffer designed and had made (aspect tables for the first bed room and a lounge espresso desk).

Because the home was completed final summer time, it has flaunted its capacity to welcome a crowd. “Just a few weeks in the past, I had the design group from Apple on the market for an offsite,” when about 20 folks descended on the property, Mr. Shaffer stated.

And, because the Shaffers have confirmed, when your own home is true on the seaside, inside dimensions are much less necessary than what’s exterior.

“We needed the pure surroundings to be the main target,” Ms. Shaffer stated. “With the sand dunes, the grasses and the ocean past, it’s simply mesmerizing.”

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