This Northern California Retreat Has a ‘Mystical Portal’ That Transmits the Sound of the Ocean

Along a rugged, ten-mile stretch of California’s fog- and wind-swept coastline about 100 miles north of San Francisco and 120 miles west of Sacramento, in the tiny unincorporated community of Sea Ranch, an innovative and playfully unconventional home set on a high bluff above the Pacific Ocean has a ‘mystical portal,’ a corrugated metal tube that harnesses the wind to transmit the sound of the ocean into the home.

Newly on the market at $8 million, the multi-level residence was originally designed and built in 1972 by architect Carson J. Bowler and carefully rebuilt and expanded in 1997 by architect Obie Bowman. The redwood- and standing seam copper-clad exterior gives way to light-filled interior spaces lined in Douglas Fir.

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The home spans about 4,700 square feet and is spread over more than half a dozen levels, with a total of five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Among the many unique and innovative features, the southwest-facing glazed tower serves dual purposes: it showers the home with natural light, even on foggy days, and incorporates ventilation chimneys that release hot air that builds up as afternoon sunshine warms the house.

97 Stone Crop Reach
A large deck at the front of the house has a peek-a-boo ocean view.

A discreet set of stone steps leads from the driveway and passes under ancient Monterey Pines as it makes its way to the front of the house, where a muscular concrete and redwood trellis marks the front entrance and a large deck with a fire pit offers a peek-a-boo ocean view.

To one side of the slender entrance hall, overlooking the living room, is a dining room that features a monumental fireplace, and to the other, the bespoke kitchen, flooded with light thanks to a massive skylight, brings the outside in with charcoal slate floor tiles and mossy green granite counters. It’s a handful of steps down to the bifurcated living room, which comprises a double-height space with soaring walls of glass and a more intimate lounge with a built-in window seat and a fireplace. Every room has an expansive view of the ocean.

97 Stone Crop Reach
Massive windows shower the double-height living room in natural light.

At the west end of the house, a private study with tall bookcases and a built-in desk leads to the ensuite main bedroom that’s complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, a walk-in closet, and a compartmentalized bathroom. Two guest bedrooms with ocean views are located below the study and main bedroom. They share a spacious, compartmentalized bathroom with a huge shower and a dry sauna, as well as a recreation room with a walk-in wine cellar.

At the west end of the house, a wooden staircase leads down to a secondary guest wing that includes a cozy media lounge, two more guest bedrooms, and a bath. One of the bedrooms, situated on the home’s lowest level, is where the ocean-sound transmitting tube enters the house. Outside, a series of decks, one with a hot tub, includes plenty of room for staring out over the ocean and for stargazing on clear evenings.

97 Stone Crop Reach
The round opening in the wall is designed to bring the sound of the ocean to the interior of the house.

The Sea Ranch community was developed beginning in the 1960s as a master-planned community to be in harmony with its dramatic natural surroundings. The community’s distinctive architecture, an example of the Third Bay Tradition that swept the Bay Area and northern California in the 1960s and ‘70s, consists primarily of timber frame structures clad in wood planks or shingles that put a geometric spin to vernacular farm structures. Rooflines are steeply pitched with no overhang so that the ever-present breezes can move over the landscape with little resistance.

This one-of-a-kind residence, which takes the Third Bay Tradition to new levels, is listed with Pattie Lawton of Sotheby’s International Realty, San Francisco Brokerage.

Click here for more photos of 97 Stone Crop Reach.

97 Stone Crop Reach
97 Stone Crop Reach

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