This 27-acre site in the Upper Ojai Valley slopes gently upward towards the hinterlands and beyond to the Topa Topa Bluffs. Oaks and walnuts rise out of the predominant chaparral while sycamores, alders and cottonwoods line the flanking streambeds.
The clients began with the image of a simple barn in a meadow for their new home, but as the design developed they were increasingly aware of the need to mitigate the costs of building in an ecosystem now commonly referred to as the wildland/urban interface.
Entirely framed with steel studs the house is highly fire resistive and features fire-rated Brazilian iron wood barn doors which slide to close off all the store-front tempered glazed openings when fire threatens or the house or is left unattended. Additional information on the fire-safe design strategies used in this project is available here.
Extensive southern exposure provides passive radiant heating of the floor slab. Active solar systems include a solar hot-water heaters and a 5 kilowatt thin-film photovoltaic array laid between the ribs of the standing seam metal roof. The house is all-electric and is expected to be net zero energy.
Landscape will remain chaparral with the exception of the fire-safety clearances, which will be mown meadows of native-grasses.
Credits: Chaparral Restoration, Margot Griswold