A Sea Ranch Retreat Delivers Scandinavian Style to the California Coast

A Sea Ranch Retreat Delivers Scandinavian Style to the California Coast

By Lucy Wang
Grounded in the utopian Sea Ranch community, a modern vacation retreat has all the bones for blissful retirement living.

In California’s idyllic Sea Ranch, San Francisco–based Malcolm Davis Architecture has designed a sun-soaked getaway that cleaves close to the spirit of the local, barn-like vernacular with a refreshingly modern twist.

Clad in vertical planks of cedar, the 1,800-square-foot residence—dubbed the Coastal Retreat—comprises two wings thoughtfully angled for optimized views of the Pacific Ocean and minimal site disturbance.

The home opens up to expansive seaside views to the west, while its street-facing, eastern facade is obscured by trees. The firm notes that the architects "conservatively [punched] openings to protect the residence from the noise and visual clutter of the abutting busy Highway 1."

Vertical cedar planks clad the exterior of the house, which is segmented to follow the natural slope.

The result is a home that feels like a natural extension of the rocky Sonoma landscape. Even the bright and airy interiors, which follow a crisp, Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic, are pared down to retain focus on the spectacular surroundings.

A Jøtul Direct Vent Gas Stove anchors the living space that seamlessly connects with the outdoors through massive, operable glazing by Fleetwood. Aside from the custom built-in bench, the chairs and furnishings are by Ligne Roset.

Currently used as a vacation home for a San Francisco–based couple, Coastal Retreat will one day serve as the clients’ retirement home. As such, the architects organized the bulk of the residence along a single floor and used durable, low-maintenance materials as well as open-plan layouts for clear sight lines.

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Stonco wall-mounted lights and WAC lighting add an industrial touch to the bright and airy living room. The floor lamp is by Ligne Roset.

A few steps removed from the living space is the kitchen that features vertical grain fir cabinets complemented by Ann Sacks backsplash tile and white quartz countertops.

"One wing houses the social living spaces, and the other the private bedroom spaces," say the architects of the two-bedroom, two-bath house. "Each wing is intentionally positioned to maximize views of the rugged California coast beyond. The two wings are connected by a light-filled, corrugated weathering steel entryway, and the floor levels are split to gently follow the site’s steep topography."

The kitchen is outfitted with a Wolf stove and hood, Hansgrohe faucet, and Sugatsune cabinetry hardware.

The eat-in kitchen features a dining space that overlooks spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

A combination of timber surfaces and industrial-inspired materials dominate the interiors from the plywood walls and doors to the concrete flooring and black metal light fixtures.

Corrugated Cor-Ten steel clads the entryway that connects the two cedar-clad wings.

The architects add, "The strategically positioned windows capture solar gain in concert with the thermal mass of the concrete floor slabs. The operable skylights release heat and circulate cool, fresh air through the lower openings." The windows are from Milgard.

"The final result is an understated industrial coastal aesthetic that plays harmoniously with the surrounding natural elements, satisfying the clients’ desire for a bit of respite in the unique Sea Ranch community," explain the architects.

The light-filled stairway leads up to the an office and master bedroom.

Carved out of the massing above the staircase, the "crow's nest" office includes a custom masonite desk and a Ligne Roset chair.

A Nelson Bubble lamp hangs in the master bedroom with red oak hardwood floors. The wall-mounted lights are by WAC Lighting.

Porcelanosa tiles line the walls and floor of the master bath.

Coastal Retreat ground floor plan

Coastal Retreat first floor plan

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Malcolm Davis Architecture (@malcolmdavisarchitecture)

Builder/ General Contractor: Empire Contracting Inc.

Structural Engineer: Double-D Engineering

Geotechnical Engineer: RGH Consultants

Landscape Design Company: Floriferous Landscaping, Inc.

Title 24: Energy Calc Company

Arborist: Joe R. Mcbride

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