Off-Grid Guesthouse

Architects: Anacapa, Willson Design

Location: Central Coast, California

Category: One- and Two-Family Custom Residences (category one)

Located on one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, this modern guesthouse resides on a wildlife preserve, exemplifying a successful balance of residential development and ecological preservation. Nestled into a steep hillside, the residence was designed with low visual and environmental impact on the surrounding landscape. Disguised by a low profile and green roof, the home invites sweeping views of the pacific ocean and surrounding rolling hills, through a generous amount of sliding glass and expansive decks, which cantilever over the foundation’s steep rock face.

A high level of sensitivity to environmental impacts was exercised throughout all phases of design and construction. The guesthouse is completely off-grid, powered by a photo voltaic energy system. The home features LED lighting, low-usage appliances, a private well and water treatment system. An elemental material palette of steel, concrete and glass integrate seamlessly with the landscape and will weather naturally over time.

Additional information

Architect: Dan Weber (Anacapa)  

Co-Designer: Steve Willson (Willson Design)  

Structural Engineer: Ashley & Vance Engineering inc.  

Contractor: Curtis Homes  

Civil Engineer: Mark Braun; Braun & Associates

Interior Designer: Jessica Helgerson & Mira Eng-Goetz (Jessica Helgerson Interior Design)


Simon Ha, AIA (Jury Chair), Steinberg Hart, Los Angeles, California

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, FAIA, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), New York, New York

Hans Butzer, AIA, Butzer Architects and Urbanism, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mary Cerrone, AIA, Mary Cerrone Architects, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Image credits

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Eric Feinblatt

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Erin Feinblatt

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Erin Feinblatt

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Erin Feinblatt

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Erin Feinblatt