For many years I’ve wanted to live in a period home with high ceilings, symmetrical proportions and features that hark back to former times. This was my ideal. I’d paint it white, replace missing features, and fill it with a mix of old and new. And gradually, layer after layer, it would represent my aesthetic perfectly. But something has happened to that vision. I blame it on the TV programmes about building the dream, programmes about extraordinary houses, and good old Grand Designs. My own dream has shifted so far away from what I’ve always wanted I might very well have to build my own dream home. I now want a home that sprawls vertically. Open-plan living at its best, with living, dining, cooking and working in one huge space. I want rooms that open on to the world outside. I imagine waking on sunny mornings and walking straight out to a wild landscape. Or sitting by the open fire, hands wrapped round a coffee cup while I enjoy a snowy landscape. A book unread on my lap. I imagine noisy Sunday lunches with the entire family playing and socialising. Quiet nights listening to the wind. In fact, something very close to this Sacramento Modern Residence by Klopf Architecture.
The owners wanted a new warm, modern residence to replace an existing ranch home with clean lines, simple details, and openness to the outdoors. The house sits in a calm and natural environment, surrounded by an open field, large oak trees and a seasonal creek. The primary goal was connecting the indoor living spaces to nature in all parts of the house, so the main living space, bathrooms and master bedroom open up to natural views at the rear.
The area gets quite hot in the summer. In response, the architects designed the house to feel comfortable and still be energy efficient year round and throughout the hot summer days. In the beginning of the day when the sun is low and directly in front of the house, the couple can open their rear sliding glass doors or live outside on the rear decks. In the middle of the day when the sun is more overhead from the south, the extra deep overhangs and shading devices in the rear patio allow these spaces to be used comfortably. At the end of the day, when the sun is blasting the rear of the house, there is a patio area in the front of the home that is in shade, but still bright because of openings in the roof. Despite the harsher sun and climate in the area, the outside environment can always be experienced comfortably.
Inside, the main living space has an exposed concrete floor with composite counters, and white oak cabinets. The bedroom wing uses reclaimed white oak flooring. The owners wanted a different feel between the main living area and the bedroom wing (the bedroom wing is more for rest while the living area is a lot more active), so materials have been varied to some extent but while still maintaining a flow between the two areas.
So, whilst I admire the architectural details, it’s also interesting to imagine living here. The owners are a husband and wife with grown up kids. They were looking to create a space for their family to relax outside of their jobs and to ultimately retire to. They are both very creative in their respective fields (he is a TV producer and she is a chef with her own restaurant) and it’s obvious that they brought their collaborative creativity to the design process for the house.