Square footage: 1250
Contractor: Dacchille Construction,
Photographer: Eric Morley
One night here and my body is at rest, two nights and my mind is
content, and after three nights I’m in a state of utter calm and forgetfulness.
I don’t know why it is like this, but it is. Po Chü-I, Record of the Thatched Hall on Mount Lu
This small weekend cabin (800 sq.
feet with a 250 sq. ft. loft), expands its modest size by incorporating its
larger environmental contexts. The house is precisely aligned with the cardinal
directions, consecrated by an L-shaped concrete block wall. The south facing
courtyard and eastern windows frame the space of nature and a vista of a
distant mountain, marking the transit of the sun throughout the day. The entry
path from the parking area includes a series of vistas, constrictions and
expansions as it descends to the small entry space, enters the double-story
living room, and ascends to the loft, culminating in a dormer that overlooks
its beginning. Geometry and proportion govern the plan and volumes of the house
-- the footprint outlines a 36’ square, which is subdivided according to a 4’
module to create a series of proportionally interrelated spaces.
This is a house designed according
to sustainable principles. The siting, orientation and fenestration of the
house minimize heat loss and maximize solar gain, with natural ventilation to
cool it in the summer. It is heated by an in-slab hydronic system fired by a
tankless boiler (which also provides domestic hot water).
This small retreat was
conceptualized with an Epicurean sensibility, as a soulful place. Its cypress
walls, inside and out, invite our touch, their hues and textures changing throughout
the day as the sun charts its course. Each space and room, the kitchen, dining,
living, bedroom, bath, outdoor shower, patio and loft, are designed to
facilitate specific rituals of living and sensual engagements. The house is
imagined as only complete when quotidian rituals and periodic celebrations
inhabit and animate its spaces -- a setting where feelings, emotions, or events
may have a place to be authentically experienced,