With the recent completion of the Manzanita House in Fairfield, California, John Klopf from San Francisco-based Klopf Architects combined his two passions: martial arts and architecture. In addition to his work designing net-zero energy homes, Mr. Klopf has also distinguished himself as a black belt martial artist. So when a fellow martial arts enthusiast sought a sustainable home that also integrates a zen-like focus on simple and functional living, they turned to Klopf for assistance.
Although the size of new home is a fairly compact 1,500 square feet, the open and minimalist features of the structure provide a welcoming atmosphere closely connected with the area’s beautiful landscape. The architect’s strategic incorporation of the surrounding natural elements and sunlight variations into the construction gives the Manzanita House a truly harmonious presence.
One of the most striking features is the open air breezeway that separates the self-contained master bedroom suite from the main house. This unique pathway within lets the inhabitants enjoy a natural exterior space as part of the home itself. On the interior, Mr. Klopf installed large windows that take up more than 2/3 of the south wall, allowing for the optimal amount of natural light to illuminate the interior as well as providing incredible landscape views.
The home’s exterior is clad in FSC-certified redwood siding, which continues the theme of natural wood setting inside and out, further blending the house into its natural, warm setting. Interior temperature control was also a priority for the owners and with strategic shading and orientation of the large windows, the house maintains a comfortable temperature in the summer months and radiant floor heat allows for temperate living conditions in the winter time.
Not only constructed with sustainable materials and a passive heating and cooling system, the completed Manzanita House perfectly embodies the natural gracefulness and balance that embodies the Japanese spirit found in the martial arts. When asked about the new home, Wiener says: “When I wake up in this new space, I feel like I’m outside in nature because of the even lighting and multiple views. Every time I walk through the breezeway, I’m reminded of nature and I take time to look at the stars.”
Photography by Ken Gutmaker