Carmel Valley Retreat
Carmel Valley Retreat rises gracefully to the challenge presented by its location: a very steep slope on conservation land with stringent planning restrictions. It responds by elegantly integrating into the slope—maintaining a modest profile and seemingly retreating into the hillside. In a community where the regulatory environment is prohibitive to most, the design works with the land to preserve and augment a rare and beautiful natural setting.
Sheltered by a large stand of mature coastal live oak, both the home and the surrounding landscaping are gracefully terraced, revealing layers of increasingly private spaces. The main level flows out to descending patios through operable walls of glass, inviting activity to move seamlessly between the indoors and out. Above, private rooms and a separate office studio retreat into the forest while opening onto subtly concealed roof terraces.
To complement the large downhill glass openings of the great room, vertical lightwells rise up to bring in balanced natural light from the uphill side. These lightwells both illuminate the living areas and reveal one of the main structural facts of the home: a continuous board-formed concrete wall that both braces the hillside above and provides a beautiful textured barrier that witnesses the passage of light through the filigree of the uphill forest.
Carmel Valley Retreat is a testament to a process that heard the needs and dreams of the client and the whisper of the site, while scrupulously and creatively navigating the stringent demands of a difficult regulatory process. The result is a lasting point of pride for client, community, and architects alike.