HOME OF THE YEAR San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

Casa 8

Architect Heather Johnston transformed a singular ice-plant covered lot into Casa 8, a modern home full of light, air and space. The challenge: The homeowners desired a simple and clean, modern home on a tightly zoned urban lot that took advantage of the ocean views to the north and south, accommodated the family’s evolving requirements and maximized space. The sentiment: Life is already busy, hectic, cluttered. Why should a home – even at its basic floor plan level – evoke additional turmoil? Are we too busy to enjoy nature? To appreciate simple, quiet spaces? To observe the changing sky and air throughout the day? The solution: Casa 8, with four bedrooms and an office, has a seamless flow, moving from one room to the next with natural movement created by the scenery and sun rays. Hold It Contemporary Homes carried the minimalist, clean environment to the furnishings throughout the rest of the home. On the same level as the street, this home uses its second floor as the main entry and living level to take in the views of the Pacific Ocean. Unlike traditional floor plans, the private spaces are below. And Johnston selected each window location based on the outside view – framing the space as a piece of ever-changing artwork (sky, clouds, light). These features kept the focus on these simple, yet vital characteristics of the architecture, not separate from the interior design. Well-lit interiors, with natural light entering from all directions, are paramount to showing off the depth of space available. The bathroom continues the property’s focus of blurring the distinction between indoors and out, with large windows that bring in the bamboo trees outside, and a shower, ventilated with operable windows at the base to circulate fresh air throughout the space. The same cross-ventilation design principle is used for the operable skylights above the stairwell. The home is highly energy-efficient with sustainable materials, fixtures and methods used throughout. These low-waste and high-insulation materials include a structurally insulated panel (SIP) roof, insulated concrete form (ICF) foundation walls below-grade, HERS-tested HVAC and Ecobatt insulation. Solar panels feed energy back into San Diego’s energy grid. The home also features a through-body, porcelain floor and deck tile. Rectified to allow tight grout joints, the installation is easy to clean while still being flat and sleek. In part, Casa 8 is tied together by sustainably forested Brazilian Redwood used in both the interior and exterior of the home. In addition to its weather and insect-resistant properties, the wood takes on a warm glow once stained. The Brazilian Redwood is laid horizontally as baffles in the kitchen and family rooms, creating a curving, acoustically-pleasing space. Contrasting with the redwood, maple floors, staircase and stair screen reflect sunlight from the oblong window while allowing privacy for the less-public spaces. All site waste was recycled when possible, and the landscaping is drought tolerant and water-wise. Architect: Heather Johnston Architect Photographs: Brady Architectural Photographry Builder: Hulton Development Inc. Engineer: Envision Engineering