Aptos Retreat Dons Contemporary Barn Disguise
Little house on the prairie? The CCS Architecture-designed Aptos Retreat in San Francisco is rather a generous, modern barn-like home in SoCal. It was designed to accommodate the living needs of a family of eight, with kids as young as high school and as old as college. It’s all country charm at the Aptos Home, with two main buildings, annexes and recreational facilities, whose functional and structural relationships to one another create a farm-like compound set amid the green expanse of a lovely garden. The 2,800 square-foot Main House basically comprises the day and the night area, structurally separated into two distinct wings, but overlapping at the roof, so as to create a cozy, sheltered outdoor space in between. The ‘live building’ stands taller and extends a mothering wing of roofing over the smaller ‘sleep building’. The former structure is host to the dining, living and kitchen areas, with the master bedroom on top. With a judiciously composed floor plan, the kitchen stands solidly at the center of the space, with the dining and living room areas flanking it on both sides. And what a kitchen it is. It features an eighteen-foot-long island with a walnut slab countertop, cut from a fallen tree. Cooking inside this space may feel like you’re cooking outdoors, as they did in the olden days, thanks to two triple eight by ten foot sliding glass doors. The space is ideal for outdoor-indoor parties, as the 32-foot wide opening freely communicates with the outside. the wood-clad stairwell leads up to the lofted floor, where the leisure area with a pool table sets the stage for the master bedroom and its ample view to the exterior. The ‘sleep building’ comprises two smaller bedrooms and a shared bathroom. It is L-shaped, which, on the outside, helps create a cozy yard with a sheltered feeling.
Such a house could be nothing but sustainable. It derives its rustic charm from the use of reclaimed barn wood and Corten rusted steel roofing for the outside. On the inside, concrete, wood, natural stone and steel come together to create an air of relaxation, comfort and a house that is foremost a veritable home. And a ‘green’ home, too, with a solar thermal system for domestic water, the pool and the hydronic under-floor heating system. As previously mentioned, the bulk of the materials used are high-content recycled products. The ample glazed surfaces perform excellently for thermal insulation and for maximizing the use of natural lighting. To boot, there is ample natural ventilation, all throughout the house. All photos taken by Paul Dyer.