Bear with Palo Alto architect Stan Field if he soars for a moment into a conceptual explanation for his team’s work at Field Architecture. “We’re attracted to all projects,” he says, “that allow us the opportunity to spread our wings and literally fly.” The firm’s success, he indicates, is bolstered by projects backed by adventurous, openminded clients whose building sites challenge the norm.
One such project that checks all those boxes is a modern retreat designed by Field and now up for sale in Pescadero, along the San Mateo County coast. The home’s architecture responds to the area’s diverse climate, serves as a whimsical homage to the monarch butterfly that migrates along the West Coast, and affords breathtaking ocean views for those seeking a primary or secondary residence away from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.
“The [original] clients wanted a coastal house, and I understood the coast and still surf,” says Field, a native of South Africa who grew up near the beach and whose love of nature contributed to his passion for design and its specific setting. “North California coast weather changes a lot, and the storms and fog come in, so the architecture needed to respond to those conditions both physically and emotionally. The monarch butterfly, an endangered species, also nests yearly in the forest on the south part of the site, so I felt inclined to celebrate its precarious existence here by constructing three butterfly roofs, one to each pavilion.”
Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outdoors in.
Situated on a wooded, 84-acre parcel near Año Nuevo State Park, the six-bedroom home was custom-built in 2005 and is co-listed by Michael Dreyfus and Jakki Harlan of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty for $8 million. Field’s signature aesthetic, where architecture becomes an extension of the landscape, is shown in a cedar-clad facade resembling the region’s rural barns, complemented by copper facias that weather green in the moist coastal air, along with canopies that follow the graceful lines of the buttery wings. Living spaces are split between a duo of symmetrical, two-level wings accessed by twin floating staircases. Added air comes in floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, attractive Brazilian cherry flooring, a curved ceiling edge replicating the exterior’s monarch butterfly design, and sliding shoji screens that conceal doorways to all personal accommodations.
Other highlights include a living/dining room fireplace whose cantilevered hearth is outlined in honed and polished granite. A professional chef ’s kitchen sports mahogany cabinetry topped in granite slab with full-height backsplashes, as well as high-end appliances. Meanwhile, two large rooms (with a double pocket door) serve as both office space, and a master retreat with a remote-controlled fireplace, a custom walk-in closet and a spalike bath with dual granite vanity and shower for two. One of Field’s favorite features? The broad hallway traversing the north and south wings that doubles as a gallery space, where the current owners display cherished African masks collected in their travels.
Outdoors, the professionally landscaped grounds boast native plants, a free-standing spa, wraparound patios, fountain sculptures, a sheltered ledge with ocean views and 5 acres of fenced walking trails. There’s also a detached two-story guesthouse, a four-car garage with an adjoining flexible-use room and a motor court with ample offstreet parking. “The home feels like it belongs to this part of the coast and its larger culture and heritage,” says Field. “It sits well in the land, and is in perfect harmony with the trees and the wildlife that traverse it. There is a deliberate sense of understatement that allows the architecture to get out of the way and let nature reign.”