Edit ModuleShow Tags

San Diego by Design

On Uncommon Ground


Published:

THE PRISTINE, OH-SO-CONTEMPORARY DREAM HOME sits atop a Del Mar bluff, capturing sights, sounds and cool breezes off the nearby Pacific. The 3,500-square-foot house also boasts a glorious panorama of Carmel Valley, Torrey Pines State Park and the La Jolla shoreline in the distance.

Beauty and tranquility abound. But it wasn’t always that way.

Flashback to the early 1980s: Del Mar city leaders viewed the rugged, ravine-cut land under the home (near Carmel Valley Road and Camino Del Mar) as prime, but unbuildable. The 13-acre urban parcel had been previously zoned into a dozen or so residential lots, several of them landlocked. Creating the necessary access to any newly built home meant treading on delicate environmental toes and the property lines of other owners, the death knell for many projects.

The lot owners were motivated. After all, they were sitting on expensive Del Mar real estate. But at times, getting them to agree on a united front to tackle the environmental and planning logjam made Shakespeare’s feuding Montague and Capulet families seem like jovial bridge partners. Could such a deal ever be struck?

To its credit, the city of Del Mar turned to a problemsolving team led by Del Mar’s ex-mayor, Tom Pearson, and citizens Richard Fletcher and Lew Dominy. In order for all the owners to obtain building rights, a revolutionary plan was proposed, one of the first such efforts in the state. All owners agreed to transfer their lots into a single masterplanned entity called the Carmel Valley Precise Plan. (The plan is now known in California real estate practices as “the transfer of development rights.”)

Next, the entire 13-acre parcel was mapped. Lots were drawn and reparceled around a new cul-de-sac built in the least sensitive section of the project. This recently completed residence is one result of this creative collaboration.

Many of the lots lay empty until the current homeowners purchased one and hired Lew Dominy, AIA, to create their dream home. Dominy named his architect son, Jonathan, project leader. Lew, who began his San Diego– based firm, Dominy + Associates Architects in 1986, viewed the dramatic lot as “the most difficult to build on.” The lot restrictions called for the preservation of four mature Torrey pine trees in the middle of the property. There was to be absolutely no grading in the canyon. In addition, some kind of bridge entry to the parcel had to be built to keep the natural drainage pattern in tact.

Despite all the difficulties, the result complements the environment by melting into the landscape around it.

Dominy’s architecture evolved from the inside out, with stacked room locations giving views to most of the house. The curved copper roof—a Dominy trademark— has already patinaed to the green color of the pine needles. The sandstone tile from India matches the colors of the nearby bluffs and ravines.

The interior plan was drawn around a central staircase. Guest and children’s bedrooms are on the lowest level. The living and dining spaces are in the middle, while the master suite occupies the top level.

Because the home is set in a steep ravine and shaded by Torrey pines, light was an issue. Dominy’s solution incorporates glass into the entire façade of the south-facing wall. The home’s many decks use sturdy glass to allow sunlight to reach the lower levels. During the day, natural light articulates the architecture and the site. At night, intricate lighting patterns showcase the owners’ impressive art collection.

“It’s like living in a work of art,” says Lew Dominy, who believes anything good is worth the effort. He points out that this home is relatively small, and the owners’ lifestyle makes use of every room, including the main redwood deck.

On the once-unbuildable site, the Del Mar aerie shines with uncommon beauty, brought about by a community/government collaboration with a beauty all its own.

 

Living Room: Custom chairs, stairs and sofas designed by homeowner. Sandstone tile on fireplace façade is matched throughout the home. Similar tile was used at Petco Park. Tete d’homme au nez rouge painting by Pablo Piccasso, 1965.
Kitchen: Curved island wall is maple and stainless steel, with a granite top. Flooring is white maple. Appliances include a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Gaggeneau cooktop and oven and Miele built-in coffeemaker.
Dining Room: Electrical by Gibson & Gibson. Wood chandelier designed by Sheryl White and fabricated by Glenn Paul Carlson. Eight Redspainting is by Donald Sultan, 2002.
Staircase: Designed by Jon Dominy from one steel bar waterjet-cut by Franklin Industries. Steps are maple.
Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Jason Mraz Is Growing Coffee on a Farm in Oceanside
    We spoke to the musician about all the whys — why food, why farming, why Oceanside, why coffee?
  2. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017
    The top tacos, chicken wings, seafood, burgers, kid-friendly eateries, breweries, and more
  3. 10 Scenic Hikes Within an Hour of San Diego
    You’ve mastered all the trails in your area—now plan a Saturday to get outside for a hike and enjoy the views just a bit farther afield
  4. The Man Behind San Diego's $26 Billion Company
    Will Illumina's new hotshot CEO be able to lead the San Diego genomics giant into the complex world of clinical care?
  5. Celebrating Women: Shanna Missett Nelson
    Like a good dancer, the Jazzercise president has mastered her balance—of career, family, and life
  6. San Diego's Best Boutique Fitness 2017
    We've sweated through the top yoga, barre, Pilates, and boot camp classes, and are rounding up our favorites
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags