When a young San Francisco couple with two little children sought a comfortable weekend retreat, they happened upon eight rolling acres in Sonoma County surrounded by grassy meadows, redwood groves, and the kind of small vineyards that abound just an hour north of the city. The home, completed by architects Leslie and Julie Dowling, identical twins and protégées of Michael Graves, is comprised of two linked 1,000-square-foot wings.
This prefab home tiptoes gracefully across the desert landscape just north of Joshua Tree National Park. Nestled amid piñon and juniper trees and outcroppings of boulders, the house’s six steel columns permit a seasonal stream to run underneath it. The clever steel frame allows the house to float above the wilderness—a concession to the lightness on the land that its owner, architects, and engineers so clearly wanted.
For design mavericks Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan, a challenging site that slopes toward the sea yields a unique opportunity to create an intimate and relaxing hideaway. The couple collaborated with New Haven, Connecticut, firm Gray Organschi on their midcentury-inspired New York vacation home.
For the duo of architects/residents behind this minimal and malleable home, the harsh, ever-changing light of the Phoenix, Arizona, desert served as inspiration.
In 1962, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect Arthur Witthoefft won the AIA's highest honor for a home he built in the lush woods of Westchester County. Having fended off a developer's wrecking ball, Todd Goddard and Andrew Mandolene went above and beyond to make this manse mint again.
Located on the top of a hill in Desert Hot Springs, the Los Angeles firm Marmol Radziner built this prefab prototype to serve as the desert retreat of founder Leo Marmol’s family. Succulents and other native California desert plants accent the yard and pool area.
Nestled in an apple grove in Sebastopol, California, this concrete prefab construction is a rural idyll. The spaciousness of the rural surroundings is echoed inside.
In realizing their dream to build a country retreat in upstate New York, Sandy Chilewich and Joe Sultan—proprietors of the textiles firm Chilewich|Sultan—eschewed a mountainous view for an understated wooded plot. At 800 square feet, the flat-roofed home is a modest structure for the expansive 10-acre property.
A 1,600-square-foot in-law unit in Sonoma, California, has two bedrooms and two baths for its 87-year-old resident, whose daughter lives nearby. “The layout is well-suited for older clients,” says Jared Levy of Connect:Homes. “It feels generous and open.”
This weekend getaway brings together raw industrial aesthetics with the tactics of green design to forge a new home in the sunbaked wilds of California’s east.