Santa Cruz, Calif.
Project name: The Wave House
Project location: La Selva Beach, Calif.
Square footage: 3,240
Total project cost (not land): $600,000
Challenges on this project included designing a beach house large enough to accommodate visits from extended family, with open living areas, a high ceiling, decks and a modern, innovative design that reflects the site; also, to explore the use of curves to reflect the site and views of the rolling hills and surf. Shaped roughly like a parallelogram, the lot slopes sharply downward 50 percent from the road, dropping 120 ft. on both sides, and at one lower comer an erosion scar measures nearly 40 ft. across.
The combination of the steep slope, the erosion scar, and the local planning department setbacks left an actual building envelope only 60 ft. wide by 40 ft. deep, and was too steep for a driveway. And the site’s soil presented its own problems; it was pure sand. An elevated driveway was designed with 12-ft. retaining walls to support It. The driveway leads to a garage, with most of the home’s living area placed below. The erosion scar was stabilized by filling it with rock and incorporating it into the drainage system. The foundation is a pier and grade beam with more than 50 concrete piers drilled up to 24 ft. deep.