Reclaimed wood wraps Surf House in Santa Cruz by Feldman Architecture

US firm Feldman Architecture has created a cypress-clad oceanfront home that aims to balance “high-end design with a laid-back Californian aesthetic.”


Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Surf House is located in the city of Santa Cruz in central California. The 417 square meter accommodation serves as a weekend getaway for a San Francisco Bay Area family with close ties to the coastal city.

The house overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz

The clients commissioned Feldman Architecture of San Francisco to design a house that embraces the landscape and meets a requirement of geological setback.

They also wanted the home to be sensitive to the feel and scale of the surrounding neighborhood, which features unassuming structures.

The house is in Santa Cruz
Reclaimed wood wraps the exterior of Surf House

“The clients were well aware of the nuances of the site and dreamed of a house that integrated naturally and durably into its seaside and eclectic environment,” said the architects.

For the long property with a jagged edge facing the ocean, the team designed three structures.

Surf House has panoramic ocean views
A wooden deck offers ocean views

The main house, which rises on two levels, is located closest to the coast. At the rear, a wooden terrace offers the possibility of living inside and outside and enjoying the ocean air.

The front part of the property has a courtyard with two structures – a garage and a building for storing surf equipment called the board room.

The public area has doors to the outer deck area
The kitchen also has mostly wooden elements.

Protected from coastal winds, the courtyard serves as a warm and bright cloister all year round.

For the exterior cladding of the house, the architects called on a Californian sawyer, Evan Shivley of Arborica, who specializes in locally sourced reclaimed wood.

The team chose to wrap the house in a siding of cypress planks and slats. The same material has been used extensively in the interior.

“Monterey cypress – a sturdy, tough, regal wood – is accustomed to the site’s California coastal climate and, when unfinished, takes on a sophisticated gray,” the team said. “Wood is therefore also quickly becoming a central point in the design of the house.”

Wood also dominates interior spaces
Glass doors separate interior spaces from exterior

Within the main house, the ground floor houses the public area and a guest bedroom. Sliding glass doors help eliminate the boundary between interior and exterior.

“Large sliding doors open to connect the living area to the spacious back patio, which is equipped with an inground hot tub and outdoor kitchen perfect for entertaining visiting family and friends,” said declared the team.

Throughout the house, the rooms are adorned with earthy materials and contemporary decoration
Commune Design supervised the interiors of the house

Upstairs, there is a master suite, an additional bedroom and an office. Windows are carefully placed to provide framed views and bring undertones of blue and green into the home, which has a neutral color palette.

“The master bedroom features floor-to-ceiling glass walls facing the waves, opening onto a private balcony with views of the surfers below,” the team said.

A bathroom in Surf House
Some rooms have panoramic ocean views

Throughout the house, the rooms are adorned with earthy materials and contemporary decor. The company Commune Design supervised the interiors.

“Surf House strikes the perfect balance between high-end design and a laid-back Californian aesthetic, creating magic on an already magical site,” the team said.

A garage stores surf equipment at the front of Surf House
A garage stores surf equipment at the front of the house

Founded in 2003, Feldman Architecture has designed numerous residential projects in California and beyond. Others include a pair of backyard pavilions for a Silicon Valley residence and a San Francisco home with tiered gardens and a triangular loft.

The photograph is by Joe Fletcher.


Project credits:

Architecture: Feldman’s architecture
Landscape architect: Ground studio landscape architecture
Interior design : Municipality design
Service provider: RJL Construction Sawyer, Arborica
Artistic advisor: Allison harding


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