When we think of California, movie stars and endless summers come to mind, but the modern glitz belies this state’s natural beauty and agrarian history. CCS Architecture has looked to this heritage to create a home that is not only a hat tip to its history, but an idyllic place to live and play.

The Aptos Retreat Residence is located near the seaside town of Aptos in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The 20-acre site is surrounded by redwood forests and has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. To stay in keeping with this pristine setting, the residence has a decidedly rustic feel. It consists of three buildings, two of which are nestled within each other and act as the main sleeping and living areas, while the third has been dubbed the clubhouse. “The live building” stands two storeys high with its roof jutting over the “sleep building.” This gives it the feel of the wood mills of yore. The two create a covered outdoor space and an L-shaped yard. The open plan living, kitchen and dining area in the “live building” look out onto the yard and swimming pool and out to panoramic views of the countryside. Pride of the kitchen is the 18-foot countertop made out of a single walnut tree. The two main buildings have been clad in reclaimed timber with their roofs finished in core ten steel. The Coreten clad barn “clubhouse” contains a billiard table and sofa beds, and there are another ten cabins amongst the trees to house the guests of this family who love to entertain.

Getting the right mix of modern comfort and rustic charm is what makes the Aptos Retreat Residence work. The space feels comfortable and easy to live in, the only problem will be getting guests to leave.