Carmel House

Design inspiration — while guided by client dreams, goals, and ideas — comes most often from the special qualities of the site itself: light, landscape, views, local context, and spirit.

Located on a sloping site in the Santa Lucia Preserve, the house fronts on open grassland below and looks along the back through a spaced screen of California live oaks into dense woodlands up the hill. The one-story, 3,025 SF house was designed for two busy professionals as a weekend place of sanctuary and spiritual regeneration that was to segue into a year-round home. The building winds along the contours with a low, gable-roofed bedroom/study wing at either end of a central high-roofed, clerestory-lit core for living, dining, and cooking. The earth-colored stucco, charcoal-grey roof, and sage-green doors and windows echo the dusty, sun-baked colors of the site. The introduced landscape is kept simple and meets the natural grasslands, mown twice a year, which change with the seasons from green to gold.

Green Features  +/-

  • Sited and shaped to maximize daylight and natural ventilation.
  • High-performance glass used in doors and windows.
  • Radiant heating with high-efficiency boiler and concrete floors throughout maximizes performance and increases enjoyment of heating system.
  • Passive cooling through natural ventilation aided by ceiling fans. High thermal mass in the concrete floors, coupled with natural ventilation, works well in this climate zone. The daily summer-temperature changes from day to night mean that the lag-time effects of the floor releasing the heat of the day and the cool of the night help to passively regulate the temperature.
  • Structural concrete-mix design to have a minimum of 50% fly ash for cementitious materials. Fly ash, a waste by-product of coal burned to produce electricity, when added to concrete improves its strength and can be used to replace cement, the production of which increases global warming.
  • Dimensional lumber specified as either engineered or FSC certified. When the house was built, FSC lumber was only seasonally available at the grade required. This is no longer the case.
  • Low-water-use fixtures throughout.
  • All lights are either fluorescent or on dimmers.
  • Radiant barrier integrated with roof sheathing — an energy-saving strategy to block 97% of radiant heat at the roof.
  • High R-value insulation in all assemblies; formaldehyde-free batts used throughout.
  • Built-in recycling center.
  • Energy Star appliances.

Project Team  +/-

  • Builder: DMC Construction, Pacific Grove, California
  • Interiors Design and Decorative Lighting: Sherry Williamson Design
  • Structural Engineering: GFDS Engineers (Kris Johnson)
  • Landscape Design: Joni Janecki & Associates
  • Photography: David Wakely

Publications and News  +/-