Modern-Day California Ranch House

This residence draws upon its Northern California context, embodying a casual California lifestyle through strong indoor-outdoor connections. Set amongst sweeping redwood and oak trees, the residence resembles a modern-day ranch house—and is exactly the type of retreat the homeowners envisioned. When the couple was ready to create their ultimate dream home in Northern California, they drew upon their commitment to sustainability and feng shui to incorporate sustainable elements and materials into their home.

From a design perspective, the house, while distinctly modern in style, pulls forms and materials from 80 years of contemporary Northern California architecture. Harkening back to the property’s history as a walnut grove, Malcolm Davis worked with Ground Studio Landscape Architecture to retain the existing redwood and oak trees, as well as to cultivate an olive grove at the lower half of the site. The olive grove and lack of a perimeter fence around the property make this, and the neighboring parcels, feel more expansive as they “borrow” a sense of spaciousness from one another. One of the important design moves was to preserve a hundred-year-old, above-ground concrete cistern, a remnant of the site’s agrarian history. So in keeping with this, the home subtly shows off its concrete elements, which includes a generous staircase that gracefully connects the courtyard to the pool deck.

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Sustainable strategies were reflected early in the planning stages of the residence. Instead of demolishing the original house, Malcolm Davis and the homeowners opted to carefully dismantle the home in order to salvage lumber and other materials, some of which were repurposed into the final home.

The island displays interlocking joints at the corners, highlighting the full dimension of the solid walnut wood wrap.

The team incorporated time-proven passive solar concepts to maximum effect, such as southern exposures, thermal mass, cross ventilation for natural cooling and carefully calibrated solar shading along the generous southern overhangs.

A large skylight above the shower and a generous sliding glass panel open the bathroom to the landscape beyond, creating an indoor-outdoor bathing experience.

A linear skylight bathes the wall of the dressing room in natural light.

A tucked away fire pit provides an additional gathering experience.

Other active sustainable features included grey water harvesting, whereby the bathing and laundry water are stored and repurposed to flush toilets and irrigate the landscape, as well as photovoltaic panels that produce electricity and solar thermal plans that preheat the domestic and pool water.

A serene, spa-like exterior offers sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. The home's solar thermal panels preheat the water used throughout the home, including the pool water.

A sketch of the future home by Malcolm Davis Architecture.

  • Malcolm Davis Architecture
Landscape Design
  • Ground Studio Landscape Architecture