When native Californians Joan and John Jamieson set out to build a house near a wilderness preserve just 29 miles east of San Francisco, they were inspired by Sea Ranch, the famed mid-century planned community on the Sonoma coast known for its sloped-roof wooden homes. Although the Jamiesons’ architect, John Nance, designed mostly commercial projects, he won them over with one of his few residential projects, which featured a shed roof similar to Sea Ranch’s Binker Barn.
The couple wanted the house to blend into the hillside site as much as possible and for nearly every room to have a mountain view. So instead of building on the ground level, they chose to sit the house atop 35 eight-foot piers, which are drilled deep into the ground and are connected by grade beams. This building method, which does not require excavating the land, also helps to reduce the environmental impact of construction as it does not contribute to erosion — via Curbed