CAITLIN PARDO DE ZELA AND HER HUSBAND, DANIEL LOCKWOOD,
moved from the East Coast to the Bay Area for tech jobs nearly 20 years
ago. Living in San Francisco made sense because of their commutes.
But Pardo de Zela, an avid surfer who became a full-time mom in 2001
when their second child arrived, needed more than an urban setting.
Stinson Beach became a magnet, and they started renting cottages there
In 2013, with three children in tow, they finally bought an empty lot
in Seadrift, the local private beach community with a man-made lagoon.
Pardo de Zela was ecstatic.
“I always knew that when I was in a position to build a home, I would
ask this woman architect whose work I had coveted in a magazine,” she says.
Imagine her surprise when she called Cass Calder Smith, principal of
the San Francisco firm CCS Architecture, and discovered that he is in
fact a man. And yet after they met, she found Smith’s inclusive design
approach exactly right.
“He did not ask us how many bedrooms we wanted and that sort of
thing,” she says. “It was more about how we saw ourselves. He asked us
how we wanted to feel in the place.”
Smith learned that the entire family is sporty: the oldest son likes skate-
boarding (along with fine art and design), and the others love to surf,
paddle and canoe. The parents are also fans of cooking and tequila. “It
was important to have a place where we could all invite friends and be
creative,” Pardo de Zela says.
Lockwood even wanted the metal shop for his Burning Man art projects
moved from the city to Stinson so his wife and their friends could see and
“I love working for people like that,” Smith says. “Artsy, ideas people.
They feel very Californian.”
The central deck/courtyard,
opposite, is open to the sky.
The front door, above, opens
directly to open-plan living
spaces, and rear doors, below,
lead to the lagoon in back.