IT IS A SOBERING TIME. As the fog settles in
and the air seems less choked by smoke and haze
from the recent spate of California fires, some
that have not fully abated at press time, we pause
and pay homage to the losses of lives and homes.
Perhaps there is no escape from such disasters
that have grown too large and too enveloping.
But for those rebuilding, there are, one hopes,
ways to better live with the changing patterns
of weather and wind, fire and water.
In this issue, we celebrate the ways Northern
Californians have approached the environ-
ment since the back-to-the-land experiments
Next to a lagoon at Stinson Beach, where rising
tides could affect homes in the future, architect
Cass Calder Smith has built a C-shaped home
that wraps around an enclosed courtyard and
sits high above the water on a stepped deck and
a higher-than-normal foundation. Architect
David Wilson found a novel way to weather
the vagaries of remodeling while living at home
in Berkeley: he built a large box around the
parts of the house he wasn’t going to change
and the family moved in. A cut-out window
allowed them to witness the “storm” of change.
In an ecotone where riparian redwoods meet
dry-weather oaks on a hilltop site above Ross,
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects have
designed a stunning Japanese-style compound
that replicates the colors of the surroundings
and opens to bay views, all fortified against fires
by stone courtyards, infinity pools and spare
landscaping by Surfacedesign.
Finally, a house by Aidlin Darling design is
a reminder that there is no guarantee that the
forces of nature won’t prevail. The house the
firm designed in Glen Ellen — with every precaution in mind — was burned to the ground
a year and a half ago in that season’s fires. Still,
as the pictures attest, it provided a kind of perfection for the owners and it will be rebuilt just
as it was, once again.
In this issue we also highlight the work of
conceptual photographer Catherine Wagner,
who has sometimes documented the changing
cityscape in San Francisco.
In On the Rise you can read about interior designer Ken Fulk, who has revived an
abandoned church building, and artist Ann
Hamilton’s site-specific installation at Converge
45, an arts event in Portland, Oregon. In Bloom
presents the objects gathered by Piraneseum and
evergreens by horticulturist Margaret Majua.
Designer Celia Tejada, who until recently
led some of the innovations at Restoration
Hardware, lends us her voice, and San Francisco
designer Diego Pacheco’s Mill Valley remodel
showcases space-saving ideas with Henrybuilt
built-ins. And on a lighter note — because we
need that too — we spotlight the Castro Theatre,
the ribald, exhilarating scene of recurrent social
change. We hope you enjoy these stories.
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in Sonoma at The Sea Ranch, where pioneering architects listened closely to nature. For
instance, there, some homes emulated the
angle of windswept grasses for shed roofs to help
deflect the force of Pacific winds. In another
corner of Sonoma, the high walls of a garden
designed by Michael Lucas provide comfortable, elegant shelter outdoors.
There are other strategies. Architect Jim
Zack of the firm Zack/de Vito Architecture +
Construction has designed a St. Helena, Napa
Valley home on a rocky fire-prone hilltop with
a swimming pool that doubles as a fire reservoir.