Modernist home of the founders of Sea Ranch, with epic coastal views

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In the early 1960s, a much less cynical era, many architects believed that planned communities, with cutting-edge modernist architecture and a respectful eye for ecology and the local landscape, could create a new and better way of life. These ideals were explored and brought to fruition in what is known as the Sea Ranch, an unincorporated semi-remote community on California’s spectacular Sonoma Coast.

In 1964, developer Al Boeke commissioned young faculty members from the University of California, Berkeley to create Sea Ranch. Ten miles of pristine coastline and 5,200 acres of a former sheep ranch have grown into the roughly 2,000 carefully sited homes that were originally and still are used primarily as weekend retreats. (The community still maintains a flock of sheep to keep the grass short and reduce the risk of fire.)

Situated on 5.1 oceanfront acres near the southern flank of the sprawling community, this home has long been owned by one of the community’s founders, town planner and architect Lawrence Halprin, along with his wife, the pioneer of the postmodern dance Anna Halprin. Lawrence passed away in 2009, while Anna passed away earlier this year. The couple’s heirs listed the family’s beloved $ 8 million getaway last month, with Hanne Liisberg and Marianne Harder at Liisberg & Company, and the single heritage property is already on hold for sale.

Most of the original homes built in the Sea Ranch are quite small, though this one is larger at 2,123 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Indeed, the original modest cabin built by the Halprins in 1966 burned down in 2001 and the existing house, designed by architect Buzz Yudell and situated spectacularly along the edge of the cliff above the ocean. , was completed in 2003. The property also features a design studio designed by William Turnbull Jr. and built in 1979.

Even though the current home is not as old as most and reflects a more modern take on the distinctive Sea Ranch style, Yudell has skillfully incorporated many of the community’s design features: shed roofs to withstand the winds. coastal forts, open interiors with window seats and ladders to elevated suspended spaces that function as quiet lounges for reading and observing nature, and sometimes as sleeping spaces. Resembling the local vernacular barns that dot the coastline, interiors are defined by the humble use of unpainted wood, much of it Douglas fir or local redwood. Another feature to note are the uneven stone edges on the kitchen counter and tables, which echo the rocks jutting out to the nearby sea.

A private paradise, the land offers windswept meadows, secluded coves and numerous rocky points overlooking the horizon. Yet as rare and beautiful as the location may be, $ 8 million and no pool? Well, actually there is. Kind of. The Sea Ranch is a planned community, and as planned communities often include it, there are several lodges with swimming pools and tennis courts. There are also over 55 miles of hiking trails and, especially handy since the community is increasingly populated on affluent weekends, its own airstrip.

The most striking feature of all, and what the house was designed for, are of course the epic coastal views. Good job.

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