atelier 15

Tucked up against a geologic outcropping splattered with neon succulents and native plants, a new home emerges from the ground to become a 1600 sq. ft. two bedroom home on the stunning coast of Big Sur. Set back from the ocean, the house has two slightly skewed orientations, one looking to the ocean and the other to a golden ocher granite outcropping. Dani and Libby took a long careful approach, with the clients guidance, to design a home that was not too large for the unique site, one which would become subordinate to the rocks, sea and sky, and open to friends and family.

With a simple, straightforward program of two bedrooms, 2 baths and a combined living, dining, kitchen, the Architects created two ‘ bars’, one public and one private, splayed along a central corridor, on a single level floor plan. Split and shifted like the rocks, the houses’ shed roofs have varying heights to minimize the volume and give interest to the interior spaces. 

The house structure is built with SIPs (structural insulated panels) which integrates  both structure and R20 foam insulation for increased energy efficiency. A solar array sits flat on the east bar which will not only power the electricity but provides the heating for the hot water. which in turns heats the efficient forced air heating unit. The house is clad in a knotty cedar and painted corrugated metal. Aluminum windows and doors are by Blomberg.

For the interior, Dani and Libby pulled in a simple pallet of natural green materials such as cork and a grey stained oak floors to draw on the exterior palette. Walls are painted with a mix of whites, blues and pale greens, with bright saturated color accents as focal points within the rooms. The fireplace is clad in a patchwork mix of dark grey cold rolled steel and rusted steel scraps. The ceiling is surfaced with a white stained ACX plywood, set off 2” from SIP ceiling panels, which hides sprinkler pipes and wiring. 

The kitchen cabinetry is mix of Ikea and custom walnut faced cabinets and undercounter appliances to create a lighter feel above. The dining room has a large window overlooking the dramatic rock outcropping and courtyard. Dani hand made the patchwork metal backsplash of vintage metals in the spirit of their friend and artist, Erik Seniska. 

The bedrooms offer a simple resting space for the occupants. The master bath has a blend of green and cream hexagon tile with a recycled glass, shell and quartz countertop by Icestone. An open shower allows users of any physical ability to use, as well as be mobile throughout the house. The 2nd bedroom and bath follow with custom painted accents mixed with a simple white wall tile. 

What has been discovered about this home is that it a place for friends and family to gather, and to admire the unique beauty of the land on which it rests. 


Location: Big Sur, CA

Square Feet: 2588 SF (including mechancial room/storage/garage)

Year Completed: 2016

Builder: Big Sur Builders

SIPs: Sip Home systems

Structural engineer: Pelton Wylie Engineering, Inc.

Mechanical engineer: Patrick Splitt

Photography: Daniela de Sola