The Sea Ranch Cabin designed by Frank / Architects inhabits a draw in the redwood forest at The Sea Ranch a planned community located in Sonoma County, California. Approached from the road below, a path winds through trees up the side of an incline to where the house steps in two directions up the slope. From a porch, which glimpses a view up the center of the draw alongside the house. Stairs ascend inside along the wall towards great panes of glass, which frame a view of massive trunks rhythmically pacing in clusters up towards the far ridge.
The form of the house derives from its place on the hillside. Its roof slopes fold on a diagonal to shape the view along the long slope reaching up into the forest in one direction and to climb perpendicularly up the sharper rise on the southeast towards a small clearing. The volume created by the sloping roof provides for sleeping and bathing places, a view up into the surrounding trees and access to a nooked terrace off the bedroom.
From the top of the stairs, this space widens to create a living/hosting area opening through glass doors into the forest ahead and set among hefty round wood columns inside that echo the trunks on the hillside. A benched area to the right creates a gathering place next to a wood stove that can rotate and steps rise into a sleeping area, which is veiled by carved wooden screens that once had their place in a family home in India.
Sea Ranch Cabin takes its character from the site, with the siding boards, inside and out, reaching vertically like the trees, solid round columns continuing the upright presence of the trunks inside and the filigreed wooden screens from India carrying an intricacy of detail that relates to the lacey undergrowth of the forest. Strategically placed high windows and skylights open views to treetops and drop feathered light and sun from openings in the sky above into kitchen and stair areas, enlivening surfaces throughout the house.
Photos: Frank Domin