Having designed at least 50 homes and myriad restaurants (including
San Francisco’s 25 Lusk) since 1986, and with another client’s Seadrift
lagoon house to guide him, Smith quickly got started.
“The design process was so much fun I didn’t want it to end,” Pardo de
Zela recalls. But it did, and by 2016 they had their new getaway.
The simple 2,100-square-foot box-like wood-frame house shares elements of neighboring midcentury homes by the likes of Joe Esherick and
“I like to design for kids,” Smith says. Each child’s bed has a window,
visible on the facade, and an individually operated light fixture. And both
bathrooms in the house have a door to the outside so when kids come in
wet from the lagoon they don’t have to cut (and track water) across the
To cater to the parents, he included an outdoor shower (requested by
Pardo de Zela) just outside the master suite for other direct access to the
lagoon. And he oriented the kitchen to meet their needs: “Normally, I
do the cooking and Dan does dishes, so the sink faces the mountains,
and the stove, on a large kitchen island, faces the dining room,” Pardo de
Zela says. When there is a crowd, several cooks can easily work together.
Pardo de Zela, never passive throughout the design and building phase,
was even more engaged in deciding interior finishes. “I am a ‘less-is-more’
person and my husband is a ‘more-is-more’ guy,” she says. “He always
wants color, color, color, but I wanted green materials and natural colors
since we were at the beach.”
She got her way. Plasterboard walls are painted white, and the large
expanses of glass blur boundaries between inside and out; the master
shower walls are tiled with board-formed concrete; clay roof tiles support
photovoltaic solar panels that supply all the electricity; concrete floors that
contain radiant heating are polished to reveal the aggregate.
Such water-resistant materials, while practical, can appear cold, so as a
foil, Smith clad the ceilings with wood, and built-in cabinets are made of
lively aged sinker cypress wood.
But when it came to anything not fixed in place, it seems Lockwood,
the inveterate Burner, made an end run.
While most of the art Pardo de Zela picked for the walls is black-and-white photography, “almost every piece of furniture and every piece of
glass pops with color,” she says with a chuckle. “That’s all him.” n