Beach House, Meet Ocean View

This posting is component of our most recent Style exclusive section, about spaces motivated by mother nature.


When Ben and Rebekah Shaffer began searching for a next house that would feel like a environment away from their every day actuality in Silicon Valley, they weren’t certain about which direction to get.

At initially, “we had been pondering we could locate something in the forest somewhere,” claimed Mr. Shaffer, 44, an industrial designer at Apple. Then they commenced musing about a location close to Lake Tahoe, which is about four several hours northeast of their main residence, a residence in San Jose, Calif., that was developed by Joseph Eichler.

But with three youngsters — Brooklyn, now 15 Liam, 12 and Naomi, 11 — who would have to sit as a result of the prolonged vehicle excursion, that did not appear to be feasible.

The pair recalibrated their look for and looked for a household on the coast that was within an hour of their principal residence. At very first, the intention appeared like a pipe desire. But then, Mr. Shaffer said, “we identified this wonderful local community known as Pajaro Dunes,” a resort in Watsonville, Calif., about an hour south, the place dozens of independently owned, quirky midcentury modern houses are pressed up from the ocean.

Immediately after touring a number of properties, they located what they preferred: a 1,500-sq.-foot home with an angular roof, hunkered down in the grassy dunes, just a skipping stone’s toss absent from the surf. “It seemed seriously fun: just this odd picket pyramid,” Mr. Shaffer mentioned.

The Shaffers acquired it in September 2017 for $1.55 million and started organizing an extensive renovation. The property, which was intended in 1968 by George Cody, an architect, experienced gained an award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects when it was created. But more than 50 many years later on, the interior was out-of-date, and even worse, stepping inside pretty much felt like getting into a tree trunk.

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

Despite the house’s likely for open up sightlines to the h2o, the roof on the facet dealing with the ocean also terminated about five feet off the sand, obscuring much of the perspective.

Searching for enable, the pair talked to Daniel Gomez, a lover at Fuse Architects around Santa Cruz. “Inside, you experienced to duck down or sit really small just to see this minor peek of ocean,” Mr. Gomez explained. “In conversing with Ben and Rebekah, the concern was, How do we have interaction that perspective much better with out fully altering the scale of the job and how it matches inside of the environment?”

Around the next months, they prepared an overhaul with the development enterprise Hagen Colbert that retained the first footprint of the residence but produced crucial architectural adjustments to open up it up.

Most appreciably, the group altered the roofline where by the home faces the ocean to permit for taller photo windows. Now the glass box containing the dining room appears to protrude into the sand and pops up higher than the main roof, capturing unfettered views of h2o and sky. The renovation also added additional windows, beneath shorter eaves, to the living space and principal bed room, so these spaces almost seem to spill out into the dunes.

The team changed the weathered cedar shingles on the exterior of the home with a black standing-seam metallic roof and black-stained vertical cedar siding. “We almost created it Darth Vader’s Pizza Hut,” Mr. Shaffer explained, noting with a chuckle that he wanted the home to look anything like a bunker.

When folks technique the household, nonetheless, a cutaway reveals an entrance lined in hotter, pure cedar. And when they stage inside, they enter a brilliant, white space flooded with mild from the enlarged home windows and a skylight put exactly where the ceiling soars to its pyramidal peak above the kitchen area.

“It’s that complete journey of encounter,” Mr. Shaffer said. Building the house was “very equivalent to my operate at Apple,” he additional, “and considering about how individuals strategy and interact with item.”

Significantly like a smartphone, the house crams a ton into a compact offer. “We altered walls below and there to be actually clever and economical about the place we experienced to perform with,” Mr. Shaffer said. “We had to feel about what we desired for our family members of five, as effectively as the means to have other families keep with us.”

That vision resulted in a few compact bedrooms and two bathrooms, such as just one that doubles as a laundry space. Squandered place in the kitchen area was rehabilitated by building a concealed storage cupboard inside the island and a nook for sneakers.

On top rated of white-oak flooring, the pair put spartan preparations of home furnishings, which includes items by the designers Kieran Kinsella and Stephen Kenn, who are their mates, and a couple things Mr. Shaffer created and experienced made (side tables for the most important bedroom and a dwelling space espresso table).

Since the property was completed last summer, it has flaunted its ability to welcome a group. “A handful of months ago, I had the structure workforce from Apple out there for an offsite,” when about 20 individuals descended on the home, Mr. Shaffer claimed.

And, as the Shaffers have confirmed, when your house is proper on the seaside, interior dimensions are much less vital than what is outdoors.

“We preferred the purely natural ecosystem to be the target,” Ms. Shaffer reported. “With the sand dunes, the grasses and the ocean beyond, it is just mesmerizing.”

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