Open House Obsession: 1967 Sea Ranch Original by Joseph Esherick, $1.25M


Where: 60 Black Point Reach, The Sea Ranch
Saturday, August 31 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
What: An original Hedgerow House by Joseph Esherick– successful architect (Esherick, Homsey & Dodge) teacher, Dean of the School of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, and one of the Bay Area architectural luminaries– who with Lawrence Halperin, Charles Moore and William Turnbull was one of the guiding lights at The Sea Ranch in the ’60s. Built in 1967 and asking $1.25M, the 2-bed, 2-bath house is one of a cluster of early Sea Ranch homes built into a row of cypress trees along a cul-de-sac, one of which Esherick built for himself.

Developed on a 10-mile stretch of rocky Pacific Ocean coastline from former dairy farms that stretch uphill to forests full of redwood and fir, The Sea Ranch was first laid out by landscape architect Lawrence Halperin to take advantage of old plantings, meadows and cypresses to shelter the houses, which in turn were built in wedge and shed shapes to deflect the winds, imitating the local agricultural structures. The first building- Condominium 1 by Charles Moore– instantly became an American architectural icon– although one critic derided it as “mineshaft architecture.”

Photo Credit: The Scout
Looking at this and other Esherick-designed houses nearby, you have to wonder what changes were made over the past 40-odd years– primarily, how much rough-cut fir was replaced by white-painted drywall. Below, the beautifully simple entrance hall and one of the two loft spaces:

Upside: Benefiting from the insanely hot housing market in the Bay Area, a number of Sea Ranch homes and condominiums are coming on the market, as buyers abandon their search for new digs in San Francisco and get a weekend/second home instead. Although this house has never been rented, The Sea Ranch is a popular weekend destination and a mecca for architectural tourists (and whale watchers) from all over, and many owners cover a satisfactory amont of their mortgages renting their homes for short periods all year-round.
More: Patricia Leigh Brown was ecstatic about The Sea Ranch a few years back in The New York Times. More images from the realtor here.