Feldman Architecture is a studio based in California specialising in the design of luxurious residences. Their latest new project falls into this category: Surf House, a single-family home in Santa Cruz on the beach of the Pacific Ocean.
The clients’ demands expressed a need for a sustainable building that would be non-invasive presence on the beach. In addition to all this they had to take into account California’s building code, with its special focus on safeguarding the coastline and earthquake-proofing. The studio reports that the project was "subject to a 100-year geologic setback requirement as well as the CA Coastal Commission, a site-sensitive solution that respected both the coast and the community became a design focus. The home is sited as a wind break: the rear yard and deck capitalize on ocean views, while the entry and front courtyard, tucked behind two separate structures (a customized surfboard storage unit and garage), sit where the sun shines most in the winter, acting as a warm, light-filled cloister all year round, protected from the coastal winds".
To obtain the materials for the project, the studio’s founder Jonathan Feldman contacted Arborica, a company specialising in reclaiming wood from Monterey cypress trees, a native tree which has adapted to the Californian climate, hard and robust, which, if left untreated, turns an elegant hue of grey with age. Scrap from the milling process and from slicing trunks into boards was reduced to a minimum, integrating into the design all the qualities and quantities of wood that would be available. Monterey cypress thus became the predominant material in the Surf House project, used in the form of planks and strips for all indoor and outdoor cladding.
The layout design Feldman Architecture came up with for Surf House does not distinguish between inside and outside. The architects produced a gradual transition from the entrance through the garden and the home to the patio at the back, directly over the ocean, with a heated hydromassage tub, a kitchen and a number of spaces for socialising. The transition is underlined by the many windows and sliding glass doors which replace the walls clad in wood wherever possible. There is a sharp change in the materials used in the bedrooms on the upper level, where Monterey cypress gives way to plaster, diversifying the colour palette and focusing attention on the details of the architecture and furnishings. Here, carefully positioned windows overlook the blue and green of the natural vistas, blending in with the sand-coloured indoor finishes. The master bedroom has a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass and a private balcony of its own for watching the waves. The interior design was developed in partnership with Commune Design, and the landscape design with Ground Studio.
In conclusion, as Feldman Architecture say, Surf House offers its inhabitants almost 420 square metres of "the perfect balance between high design and a casual Californian aesthetic, creating magic on an already magical site".
Completed: September 2019
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
Size: 4490 sqft /420sqm
Architecture: Feldman Architecture https://feldmanarchitecture.com
Landscape Architect: Ground Studio Landscape Architecture
Interior Design: Commune Design
Contractor: RJL Construction
Art Consultant: Allison Harding
Photography: Joe Fletcher