Butterfly House

The clients approached Feldman Architecture to design a retreat for eventual retirement and visits from their grown children—a retreat befitting the natural beauty of the location in the Santa Lucia Preserve, a 20,000 acre private development and land trust near Carmel, California. The clients expressed a desire to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces with a simple, modern aesthetic and to provide separate spaces for their visitors.

Sitting lightly on the land, the house is divided into three pavilions that are topped by expressive butterfly roofs. Each pavilion has a separate function: the central pavilion houses the main living, dining, and cooking spaces, while two other pavilions provide for sleeping, bathing, and relaxing. The structures are modest in size, yet each expands into an outdoor room that opens up to dramatic views of the canyon below and hills above.

Beyond poetic gesture, the butterfly roofs bring in views of the surrounding hills, expand the main living spaces into the outdoors and also harvest rainwater. Water, an increasingly limited resource, is celebrated throughout the design. Each roof funnels water to a rain chain fountain and into landscape collection pools, which then gather in cisterns where it is stored and used to irrigate the landscape.

“We have a beautiful view of our meadow, the hills and trees uncluttered by other structures,” shares David, who loves the serenity of the location, the natural light and the different views from every room. Suzanne agrees, adding, “The aesthetic is a pleasure to live in,” said the homeowners. 

LOCATION Carmel, California

Contractor: Groza Construction
Interior Design: Feldman Architecture
Lighting Design: Kim Cladas Lighting Design
Landscape: Ground Studio
Engineer: Sheerline Structural Engineering
Audio Visual: MetroEighteen
Cabinetry, Stair Treads, and Custom Furniture: Commercial Woodworking
Photography: Joe Fletcher and Jason Liske

AIA Monterey Bay – 2013 Design Awards Citation
The Chicago Athenaeum – 2015 American Architecture Award

See a video walkthrough of the house here.
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