Soaring Spaces in Suburbia: House Bronte by Rolf Ockert Design

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In a soaring venue that overlooks the Pacific, the homeowners of this splendid dwelling enjoy an ambience that lets them feel as if they’re on vacation every day, thanks to a creative use of space by Rolf Ockert Design. As the architect explains, “While the view was fantastic, the site was very small and suffocated by overbearing neighboring dwellings; there were only two avenues we could take to create generosity of space and location: first, the surprising height of the living room space that takes advantage of the only extravagant spatial dimension available to us; and second, the pursuit of sightlines to water and sky wherever possible.” To help preserve privacy, concrete exterior walls have slim slot windows that allow for “slices” of ocean view, with no visual intrusion from neighbors.

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Situated facing the east, the home’s open layout maximizes the panorama; it also captures ocean breezes for cooling year ‘round, accessible through sliding doors, louvers, and other ingenious aids to cross-ventilation. What Ockert calls “a rich but reduced palette of strong, earthy materials” is a pleasant contrast to the light airiness engendered by all that glass. With modern art accents throughout, the home feels cheerful, inviting, and colorful. Spaces invite exploration down long glass-lined hallways, beneath stairs, and on a sunny deck with refreshing pool. And this sophisticated simplicity has had more than just a “vacation” effect on the clients: it’s encouraged them to rethink their work lives and live more deliberately in a space that, as Ockert put it, “feels…alone with the ocean and the sky.”

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