Modern architecture: The home built around an old Oak tree

Genista Jurgens Genista Jurgens
Ranch O|H, Feldman Architecture Feldman Architecture Modern houses
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Using the existing old Oak, Madrone and Redwood trees in the forests of the Santa Lucia mountains to determine the shape, positioning and layout of the house, the architects at FELDMAN ARCHITECTURE have created a totally unique, bespoke house that works in harmony with the surrounding landscape. 

One tree in particular holds center court in this Californian ranch—it is a 100 year old Valley Oak that sits in the middle of the structure, roots spreading out underneath the foundations. So because the home is built in a horseshoe-shape around this tree, it receives both shadow from the overhanging oak canopy and the streams of sunlight that flows into the rear facades. It is a beautiful structure that instead of bulldozing a flat piece of land to build on, works with all the existing bumps, hills and flaws, making them an integral part of the overall design. 

Let's take a look around this intelligently and sensitively designed property. 

Scenic swimming.

The 70 foot swimming pool at the rear of the house is a nice little surprise tucked away among the trees. 

An outdoor grill and sits to the side of the pool, and with the patio's west-facing position, it's the perfect spot to spend those warm Californian summer afternoons and night times relaxing and entertaining.  

Night lights.

The courtyard at night, see just how dramatic the lighting looks. Lowly positioned spotlights light up the rough, bark texture of the Oak tree and highlight the smoothly sanded wooden walkway next to the stone fence line. 

A small seating area is created in the middle of the courtyard, made for enjoying the wild outdoors any time of day.  

Man-made and natural beauty.

Looking in from the entrance of the property, across the courtyard to the front door, you immediately get a sense of just how expansive this home is. The sharp horizontal lines of the metal cladding and the terrace fence are a beautiful contrast to the wild, wiggly branches of the Oak tree and rugged grasses.  

Contrasts and contradictions.

Looking in closer, you can even more contrasts of textures and surfaces sitting next to each other. First you have roughly cut stone walls next to large panes of polished glass, and then there's also the corrugated steel cladding on the exterior contrasted with the smooth aluminium apertures. And finally large concrete paving stones sit on fine gravel garden beds. This really is a house full of contradictions!   

A playful side.

This multi-level corner of the house looks out over the pool and does it in style. An uncovered terrace with a glass barrier graces one side of the second floor, and with brightly colored lounge chairs it adds a bit of playfulness to the harsh lines of the exterior.

Time out corner.

A part of one of the guest suites, this auxiliary wing features it's own private kitchen and living room, and is connected to the main house by covered walkways. So not only do the homeowners get peace and quiet to really enjoy the outdoors, but so do their guests! 

Living outdoors.

Connected to the kitchen area, this outdoor pavilion is able to be opened up fully once the doors are slid back into the walls. Large sofas are positioned around an open fireplace, and look out over the pool and patio area, while still remaining sheltered by a large overhang.  

Taking the edge off.

Back indoors, the dining area is no less impressive. Again, once those glass doors are opened, all areas of the house are able to experience the beautiful sights and sounds of the wilderness outside. 

The raw stone walls are softened with cedar-clad ceilings, oil-rubbed steel, lightweight curtains and exposed concrete floors. Elegant furnishings in rich browns and caramels also help bring a sense of warmth to the large room. 

Covering up.

The same applies in the living room—large, soft leather chairs sit on a huge plush carpet to take the edge of the cold concrete floors. Long flowing curtains cover the hard glass windows, and an open fire place takes up most of one wall. This would be one cozy place on a cold night! 

Rugged yet refined.

And finally, we take a look into the kitchen where the style is minimalistic with polished whites and matt neutrals. Huge cupboards cover the good part of a wall with an integrated oven. The kitchen bench stretches out around the corner and looks out onto the magnificent Oak tree in the courtyard. 

In every corner of this house (and there are a lot), the architects get the right mix between rugged and refined, man made and natural, and modern and traditional. 

For another stunning property that mixes and matches different styles, take a look around this Brownstone apartment in Park Slope. 

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