Having purchased this Tomales Bay site for its privacy and dramatic views, our clients decided to replace the existing house--a run-down, structurally unsound structure with little relation to the land--and to modify two existing outbuildings. In a move that ultimately influenced our design, the clients donated the unwanted house to the local fire department as a "practice burn" instead of simply tearing it down. As a result, fire safety, ease of maintenance, durability of construction, and connecting to the both the immediate and the distant landscape became driving themes of the project.
The new house is a ribbon of space that unrolls across the hillside, taking advantage of sweeping views and shaping useful outdoor spaces. Materials were chosen as much for their durability, low maintenance, and fire retardant properties as for their ability to recede into the landscape. Views and light dominate the interior.