As far as cities with ideal climates go, San Diego ranks at the top of the list. The seaside metropolis enjoys moderate temperatures and sunshine year round, conditions that are primed for the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. When local architect Jonathan Segal set out to build his dream home for himself and his wife, Wendy, in the beachfront community of La Jolla, he took advantage of the temperate conditions to construct a residence that completely opens up to the natural setting. The Cresta, constructed of cast-in-place concrete, is a rectangular form carved out to allow the Segals to spend most of their time outdoors.
Set in a suburban context, the narrow lot necessitated creative planning. Matthew Segal, Jonathan’s son and the project manager for the build, explains, "The intent was to maximize the potential for square footage inside and outside and make the house feel larger than it is." The resulting three-story residence is 5,300 square feet including a subterranean floor that holds a wine cellar, gym, and entertainment room with a bar. The ground floor is comprised of communal living space, and the second floor has bedrooms and the office.
Though the four corners of the rectangular building remain intact, a courtyard serves as an exterior room that introduces a volume of open space within the larger form. "The outdoor room gives you the security of being inside, but in the same respect you’re enjoying the smell and noise and every aspect of the ocean being right there," says Matthew. The living room features a Western Window Systems Window Wall and Multi-Slide Door, allowing the family to peel back the glass partitions to merge interior and exterior space.
"The outdoor room gives you the security of being inside, but in the same respect you’re enjoying the smell and noise and every aspect of the ocean being right there."
"[Western Window Systems] has been really great for us," says Matthew. "Their product is durable, withstanding the ocean. Their timing has been very accurate—when they commit to a date, they commit to a date." With construction streamlined to take just nine months, the Segals appreciated the efficiency, reliability, and flexibility of the company, which provided custom sizing of the grand windows.
To further connect the dwelling to its environment, the team designed a reflecting and swimming pool that wraps around the front and side of the Cresta. "It creates a sense of floating over the water," says Matthew. "It connects to the texture and sound of it with beautiful reflections and inherent natural qualities."
Offering privacy as well as the freedom to commune with the ocean setting, the Segal residence epitomizes California’s outdoor lifestyle. Watch the video below to hear Jonathan talk about the home:
Get the Dwell Newsletter
Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.