Dezeen Magazine

Shaffer Beach House

Fuse Architects renovates pyramidal 1960s coastal house in California

US studio Fuse Architects added cedar cladding, expanded the windows and brightened the interiors of the Plover House on the coast of California.

The weekend home is located in Pajaro Dunes, a resort community that lies just south of Santa Cruz. The community sits along the shoreline of Monterey Bay.

Holiday home by Fuse Architects
Fuse Architects set out to brighten the interior

The three-bedroom house was designed for a Silicon Valley couple and their three children.

"Their desire was to have a vacation home, as well as a place to host friends for beach gatherings and to explore all the benefits of the seaside community," said Fuse Architects, which is based in the nearby town of Capitola.

Fuse Architects beachfront home
The beachfront home was remodelled in Pajaro Dunes

The project entailed the remodel of a beachfront home dating to 1968 and designed by architect George Cody.

Totalling 1,500 square feet (139 square metres), the house came with an irregular, pyramid-like roof and cedar-shingle cladding, both inside and out. The interior was dark, outdated and closed off to the beach.

House interior
Fuse Architects retained the house's original footprint

"Inside, it felt like a dark bunker that was very much separated from the outside, not to mention the view of the nearby Pacific," the team said.

Working closely with the clients, the architects set out to brighten up the interior and improve the views. The studio retained the original home's footprint but made significant changes overhead.

Raised roofline
The team raised the roofline

The team raised the roofline along the living room, dining area and main bedroom, allowing for larger windows and more expansive vistas. In the dining room, a new window offers a "portrait view" of the oceanscape.

Over the kitchen, where the roof's highest point is located, the team reworked the ceiling lines to make better use of an existing skylight.

Bedroom by Fuse Architects
Expansive views of the beach can be seen from the main bedroom

Durable finishes were used throughout.

"Light plaster walls, white ceilings and oak flooring create a space that is airy yet comfortable – and durable for a beach lifestyle," the team said.

In contrast to the interior, the home's exterior was kept dark.

The original shingles were removed and replaced with linear strips of dark cedar – a cladding that emphasizes the contrast between the "flowy grasses, the dunes and the ocean with the angular building lines", the team said.

Neutral interiors
The living space includes neutral interiors

On the roof, wooden shingles were replaced with black standing-seam metal. In the northeast corner, where the roof is cut away, the team clad walls in clear cedar to accentuate the main entrance.

Overall, the house is meant to exhibit a heightened level of craftsmanship and careful attention to detail.

Cedar cladding
Cedar cladding lines the facade

"The high level of detailing and craftsmanship, both on the exterior and interior, captures a simple yet complex design," the team said.

Other coastal California homes include a cedar-siding house by Malcolm Davis Architecture that is located in the famed Sea Ranch community, and a cypress-clad beachfront dwelling by Feldman Architecture that is meant to balance "high design and a casual Californian aesthetic".

The photography is by Joe Fletcher.

Project credits:

Architects: Fuse Architects
Builder: Hagen and Colbert
Interiors: Owners

More images and plans

Floor plan
Floor plan
Site plan
Site plan
Shaffer Beach House
Shaffer Beach House
Shaffer Beach House
Shaffer Beach House
Shaffer Beach House