Real Estate Report: Hot Tubs, Fog and Architecture at The Sea Ranch



This oceanfront house in The Sea Ranch is perfect for those long foggy weekends on the Northern California coast, and it’s for sale at $2.6M.

The Basics: a three-bedroom, two-bath house plus a hot tub and sauna on an oceanfront lot in The Sea Ranch, offered for $2.6M.

Not So Basic: this 1998 house by architect Joseph Esherick is a collection of shed-like structures arranged casually between a parking courtyard (no visible cars allowed at The Sea Ranch) and a terrace facing south down the coast. The interiors are simple and well-detailed, with the usual vertical Douglas Fir on the walls and big windows facing the protected view. There’s also a sheltered, smaller courtyard with a hot tub and sauna. Hot tubs are indigenous to The Sea Ranch.

The Sea Ranch is one of the most-scruntinized planned communities of the 20th Century, although probably not the architectural tourist destination it once was. It was planned in the 1960’s by a constellation of architectural stars- Lawrence Halperin, Charles Moore, William Turnbull and Esherick- and this is Esherick’s last house.

Originally grazing land, The Sea Ranch project occupies a huge stretch of coastal meadow along the Pacific and extends uphill into the redwood forest, and the new structures were intended to mimic the low, unpainted farm buildings of the area. Although one architecture critic called the plain, angled buildings “mine shaft modern” it’s still worth a visit. The local fire house is a masterpiece by Robert Venturi; nearby there’s James Hubbell’s magical Sea Ranch Chapel, and Turnbull’s worker’s cottages have aged beautifully. Hardly anyone lives at The Sea Ranch full-time and the average age is over 60. Most houses are available as short-term rentals (easily searchable online) and although most are generic and full of odd furniture choices, it’s also possible to rent some interesting architecture like Charles Moore’s own condo, almost unchanged since the late 1960’s. 

Read more about The Sea Ranch, and  Joseph Esherick.

Listing: 62 Brigantine Reach, The Sea Ranch  [Redfin]