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Rock Fall

This 27-acre site in the Upper Ojai Valley slopes gently upward towards the hinterlands and beyond to the Topatopa Bluffs. Oaks and walnuts rise out of the predominant chaparral, while sycamores, willows, California bay and cottonwoods line the flanking stream beds.

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 steel and Brazilian iron wood edged barn doors which slide to close off all the store-front tempered glazed openings when fire threatens or the house is left unattended.

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 net zero energy.

In 2016, a studio was added to the existing garage using the original plans dating from 2007, except for a change in the siding material

Landscape remains the native chaparral with the exception of the fire-safety clearances, which are meadows of native-grasses.

Credits: Chaparral Restoration, Margot Griswold

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