The lot for this weekend home in Shelter Cove was a little tricky.  The community covenants required that all three parking places had to be on the site, within the setbacks.  The lot was steep and getting the parking spots, the driveway and a space to turn cars around required working with minimum tolerances within inches.  One simple solution would have been to park the cars up on stilts or on top of the house, directly off the street, but both the client and I preferred to have the parking and the garage on the same level as the main floor.

I started off, as with most projects, with an survey showing the contours every 2 feet of elevation.  The cut and fill needed to be balanced so that no earth would need to be brought onto the site or hauled away.  Looking at a sloped site in nature can be deceiving.  The owner told me he thought the site dropped a few ft. from the top to the bottom. When I looked at it, I thought, maybe 15 ft. The survey showed that there was a 26 ft. drop from the top of the sit to the bottom!  By designing with an accurate survey on sloped property, it’s possible to “tuck” the house into the slope so that every level is at “ground level.”  In this case there are three levels.

The parking, entry, 1/2 bath and garage are at the highest level.  The main entry is in the center of the house, under a large “Kalwall Sky Roof.”  This 8′x8′ insulated skylight only lets through 30% of the light, so it can cover a large area without much heat gain or loss.  It floods with light, the entry, the dining room on the mid-level, the stairways, and the center of the lowest floor. From the entry one can see all the way through the house, to the deck and to the sea beyond.

The main living area is on the middle level, 4.5 feet lower than the entry level.  At the bottom of the entry stairs are french doors out to a waterproof deck (over the hottub). The living room is off to the left (south).  There’s an airtight fireplace against the retaining wall on the east side and glass along the west wall – looking to the sea.  French doors at the end (south) of the living room lead out to a patio and gardens.  Turning right from the bottom of the entry stairs takes you to the kitchen and dining room.  The dining room also opens to the mid level deck also.

The stairs down from the middle level terminate at the at a hallway going to bedrooms, one on the left and one on the right. There is an 8 ft high concrete retaining wall (insulted from the earth) running the whole length of the back of the lower floor.  The floor is a concrete slab on grade. with tile finish. It is insulated from the earth and holds radiant floor heating tubes.   Straight ahead at the bottom of the stairs are french doors leading out to the hot tub area.  The downstairs bathroom is accessible from the hallway as well as the hot tub room.  The exterior walls on the south and west sides of the hot tub area slide out of the way, opening the walls to the out side.

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