Elevate your architecture

Santa Cruz Beach House


Single-family Residence

This beach house overlooks the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. The concrete floor has a finish that looks like beach sand after the waves have receded. The concrete floor is heated with concealed tubes of warm water so the concrete isn't cold and the home is warm even if the windows are open. 


The stair at the center becomes a feature instead of a clunky drywall obstruction in the space. Here we celebrate the challenge and turn it into a feature. The steel has a subtle diffuse luster. And, as such, it is more personable for a beach house. The sides of the stair are two layers of perforated sheet metal which make abstract flower patterns that morph as you change your view angle. The stock steel shapes all have rounded edges, so they are smooth to the touch. The handrails are economy grade hickory with subtle detail accents of walnut. 


The deck windows use wood instead of aluminum, and the wood is structural which adds a feeling of warmth and cuts down on the cost of the structure. There is a metal glazing capture on the outside of the wood, so you don't have the maintenance problems associated with wood windows. 


The exterior walls are masonry, a clear choice for building to the edge of the lot because you can lay the masonry from the inside. This also makes for a maintenance free wall. The beach bluff behind the house inspired the masonry colors, and the beach inspires the concrete floors. This is how the house fits the time and the place. 


The wood floors are humble, reclaimed floors without a glossy coat. The floor imperfections would echo the story of a place that once was. The doors are discount paint grade wood doors which look great and are almost the cheapest doors I can find. The garage doors are the same doors you see up and down beach drive, not too fancy. 


The masonry walls are not cut, so the roof edges line up with the top of the walls. The roof at the front of the house is a low slope v shape and a steeper v shape at the back of the house. This directs the water towards the back, so there aren't unsightly gutters in the front. The bedrooms in the front of the house capture more volume and views with the low slope v shape and the back of the house bedrooms don't need this, so the v in the roof is a steeper slope. This triangulates the roof, and the beams are exposed in intriguing triangles. Imagine all the complicated triangles you have seen in an attic; the proposed is a more straightforward triangulation which modulates the volume in the spaces and drains the roof and allows the masonry not to be cut.