The Aptos Retreat in California by CCS Architecture

05.06.10 | By
The Aptos Retreat in California by CCS Architecture

CCS Architecture has recently completed a home called the Aptos Retreat for a San Francisco couple with six children. It is located inland from the beach town of Aptos, California in the Santa Cruz Mountains, near the city of Santa Cruz. Situated on a 20-acre site, the home has both ocean and mountain views and is about five miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The setting is casual and rustic, and it was important to the family that it incorporate sustainable features to minimize the home’s carbon footprint. Retreat activities were part of the design program, including: partying, cooking, tanning, swimming, archery, horseshoes, gardening, and wood-splitting. I would have put partying as my first priority, too.

From the architects:
The project has 2 primary buildings, plus accessory buildings and recreational components that were designed to work together as a country compound.

The 2800-square-foot Main House is composed of a ‘live building’ and a ‘sleep building’ that overlap at their roofs to create a linkage and sheltered outdoor space. The sleep building is slid under the higher roof of the live building. The live building contains the dining, living, and kitchen areas, plus a master suite upstairs. The central kitchen anchors the main space, which is flanked by dining and living. The kitchen island has an eighteen foot long, three inch thick single walnut slab countertop that has wany edges and was cut from a large fallen tree. Two, triple sets of eight by ten foot sliding glass doors open this main living space to the yard and the views, creating a panoramic, 32-foot-wide clear opening when fully deployed. The smaller building, with two bedrooms and a shared bathhouse, angles out to form an L-shaped yard. Reclaimed barn wood and Corten rusted steel roofing covers the exterior of the buildings. The interior is a composition of concrete floors, wood, stone, and steel.

The Barn; is a 1600-square-foot, Corten rusted steel warehouse outfitted for use as the property’s “clubhouse.” The first floor is set up for ping pong and large-screen TV watching, and houses surfboards and other recreational beach equipment. The loft level is set up with a billiard table and sofa beds all around for additional slumber party needs. The interior is a combination of the structural steel shell and the exposed wood loft.

The property itself pulls it all together. The house and barn sit on the sloped meadow surrounded by redwood trees and with distant ocean views to the south. The activity areas are arranged around the outside of the house and barn. The swimming pool is below the main house, with a fire-pit to the side. The archery range is above the house, and the horseshoe pit is between the house and the barn. Two tent cabins are set among the redwoods and serve as guest houses. A sauna is located between the sleep building and the tent cabins.

The project incorporates the following sustainable features:

  • Solar thermal system for domestic hot water, the pool, and the hydronic radiant floor.
  • Reclaimed barn wood siding for all exterior walls
  • Corten rusted steel, a high-content recycled product, for the roof of the main house, and for the walls and roof of the barn.
  • High performance windows.
  • Natural ventilation.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.