At the core of the project’s objectives lay a commitment to safeguarding and preserving the natural environment, a crucial mission given its location on one of California’s few remaining undeveloped coastal areas. This contemporary guest house, nestled harmoniously within a wildlife preserve, serves as a shining example of the successful coexistence of residential development and ecological conservation.

Anacapa Design Team: Dan Weber, Architect
Project Team:
Architecture: ANACAPA Architecture in collaboration with Willson Design
Interior Design: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design
General Contractor: Curtis Homes
Landscape Designer: Danielle Gaston
Structural Engineer: Ashley & Vance Engineering
Civil Engineer: Braun & Associates
Photography: Erin Feinblatt

Off-Grid Guest House by ANACAPA Architecture - Sheet6
©Erin Feinblatt

Perched gently on a steep hillside, this 1,800-square-foot abode was meticulously crafted to minimize its visual and environmental impact on the surrounding terrain. Its discreet presence, concealed by a low-profile design and a verdant rooftop, gracefully invites panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the undulating hills. The residence achieves this by featuring an abundance of sliding glass panels and expansive decks that elegantly cantilever over the rugged cliff face, affording direct views of the canyon below.

Architect Dan Weber, reflecting on the project, remarked, “Given the ridge-top location of the structure, it’s visible from afar. Our aim was not to make it a conspicuous focal point but rather to ensure it left the smallest conceivable imprint on the natural environment, if not enhance the ecological balance of the property.”

Off-Grid Guest House by ANACAPA Architecture - Sheet8
©Erin Feinblatt

In an earnest endeavor to blur the boundaries between the constructed and the unspoiled, the house adopts the form of a glass peninsula, complete with three-way operable glass walls that capture the myriad marine and canyon panoramas. The choice of materials—steel, concrete, and glass—was deliberate, ensuring seamless integration with the landscape and natural aging over time. The infusion of rich walnut accents and custom fixtures and furnishings infuses warmth and character into the living space.

Both the guest house and the owner’s primary residence, situated nearby, are entirely self-reliant, driven by the unavailability of electricity in this remote locale. The home relies entirely on a photovoltaic energy system for power, while energy-efficient LED lighting and low-consumption appliances were thoughtfully selected to reduce energy demands. Water supply is sourced from a private well and treated on-site, with wastewater channeled into a septic tank and dry well.

©Erin Feinblatt

Temperature regulation is achieved through a combination of radiant floor heating, cross ventilation facilitated by the profusion of operable sliding glass panels, and an insulating green roof that not only conserves water but also helps the dwelling harmonize with its surroundings. Furthermore, the design thoughtfully incorporates a detached garage, discreetly integrated into the hillside landscape.

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