Curbed | A 684-square-foot architectural gem gets a polish at California’s fabled Sea Ranch

By Mary Jo Bowling

Photography by Drew Kelly

April 9, 2018

It’s the stuff home fantasies are made of: A newly married couple goes in search of a house they can afford and finds a midcentury cabin created by one of their architectural heroes, perched on an ocean bluff.

It may sound like an elevator pitch for a movie, but it’s all true—and it happened to architectural designer Chad DeWitt and James Cook.

The couple lives in Oakland, California, but they found their dream home 113 miles north in The Sea Ranch, a design enclave like no other. It came about in the most ordinary of ways. “It’s the classic Bay Area scenario—we wanted a toehold in the real estate market, but we were finding it very expensive,” says DeWitt, principal of Framestudio. “We started looking outside of our area.”

DeWitt’s mind immediately turned to The Sea Ranch, an area he’d long admired. When Cook saw it, he, too, became an instant convert.

If you are of a design mind, it’s easy to see why. The short story of Sea Ranch is that it’s a planned community along a short stretch of the Sonoma Coast. The long story is one of architectural and environmental significance.

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