Here is a house that we bet you wish you grew up in. Built for a large family and developed to reduce its environmental footprint, this home feels a lot like summer camp. Located on a twenty acre site in a redwood forest, the compound designed by CCS Architecture showcases sustainable building strategies ranging from a solar thermal system, to reclaimed materials, and radiant heating floors, and it has all the features a busy family would need packed into a relatively small footprint. Naturally, it all starts in a fantastic kitchen.

Solar thermal, outdoor room, reclaimed siding, natural cooling, solar heating, Santa Cruz home, Green compound

Sited in Aptos, CA near Santa Cruz, the 2,800 square foot main house’s anchoring feature is an 18 ft long single-piece kitchen island reclaimed from a fallen walnut tree. The island sits adjacent to a massive movable glass wall system that opens a full 32 ft, allowing the space to pour into the yard. Clad in reclaimed barn wood and a Corten rusted steel roof, the home soaks in the agreeable California coastal sun and is cooled by the ocean breezes.

Solar thermal, outdoor room, reclaimed siding, natural cooling, solar heating, Santa Cruz home, Green compound

The home’s unique roof-over-a-roof design makes it feel much larger and protects the connection between the “live” space and the “sleep” space. A solar thermal system helps heat the domestic water, the radiant floor heat, and a pool below. The fun keeps going at the adjacent steel “clubhouse” packed with all the amenities to keep the family busy — that’s if they are not throwing horseshoes, practicing archery, relaxing in the sauna, or walking through the woods.

+ CCS Architecture